Australian Moto2: Penalty no barrier for victorious Lopez

Alonso Lopez took a long lap and came out in front in the Moto2 Australian Grand Prix World victory after a long lap penalty as the championship battle played out behind in Philip Island.
Alonso Lopez, Moto2 race, Australian MotoGP, 16 October
Alonso Lopez, Moto2 race, Australian MotoGP, 16 October

Alonso Lopez needed a big start to have time to take his long loop penalty, and that is exactly what he got, heading through his punishment and still coming out in front to win the Moto2 Australian Grand Prix.

Having come in with six races already run to replace Romano Fenati at Beta Tools Speed Up, the Boscoscuro rider already knew he needed a trip around the loop after he took out Celestino Vietti in a moments of carelessness in FP1. 

Fully committed he had an almost three second advantage as he entered and only lost one and a half seconds, the first rider to win with a sanction in Moto2 as he kept his control of the race and stayed one step ahead, with a winning margin of 3.556s.


Fernandez out, Ogura eleventh


Pedro Acosta was leading his Red Bull team-mate around after working his way to the front of the race. The rookie was left solo when Fernandez slipped away, his championship lead going with him.

Acosta wore a #87 t-shirt on the podium for his friend Remy Gardner who will leave the paddock at the end of the season.

The Spaniard picked up his fourth podium of the tear, but Jake Dixon went one better with a fifth as he held third. Leaving it all on the track to power through from 14th on the grid after a poor qualifying. Dixon dedicated his performance to the late BSB rider Chrissy Rouse.

The British rider was secure in the final podium spot with Fermin Aldeguer, who started on pole, a very distant fourth on the second Boscoscuro, completing a strong day to the team.

The French rider held off Manuel Gonzalez, who equalled his best result to date in fifth for Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team.

Jeremy Alcoba was sixth for Liqui Moly Intact GP. He benefited from Cameron Beaubier deciding to go for it and try for a podium. His risk didn’t pay off, leaving him to instead finish seventh.

Somkiat Chantra, who scored pole at the last round, was almost two seconds further down the road in eighth for Idemitsu Honda team Asia.

Aron Canet had a mainly uneventful race in ninth, while Bo Bendsneyder completed the top ten for Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team.

Ai Ogura never really got into gear after a poor qualifying left him outside the top ten. The Japanese rider recorded his worst result of the season, but was let off the hook by Fernandez's fall, which turned the tables and instead he found himself in a favourable position overall.


Where does that leave the championship?


After looking like the points were going to be huge for Augusto Fernandez, his DNF changed all that. The Spaniard remained on 238.5. Ogura is now the championship leader with the points he picked up in eleventh making the difference.

The Japanese rider picked up an extra place when Joe Roberts was a late retirement to the pits.

Tony Arbolino crashing out of second earlier in the race also helped swing the balance in Ogura’s favour.

Sam Lowes brought home the only remaining Elf Marc VDS bike home in twelfth.

The remainig points on offer went to Marcel Schrotter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) 1n 13th, Inde Gas Gas rider Albert Arenas in 14th and Taiga Hada in 15th (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team ) his second consecutive points finish.

Only 18 riders finished the race - Alessandro Zaccone, Marcos Ramirez and Sean Dylan Kelly were the only others to see the chequered flag.

Simone Corsi and Jorge Navarro were the first to exit. The yellow flags were out for a while for Navarro who needed to be stretchered away, Lorenzo Dalla Porta retired to the pits as Filip Salac and Keminth Kubo crashed out in quick succession. Niccolo Antonelli, Barry Baltus and one time title contender Celestino Vietti all also failed to see the end of the race.

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