By Lisa Lewis

Pol Espargaro narrowed Scott Redding's Moto2 championship lead by five points at Brno, but failed to capitalise completely, managing only a fourth place finish.

Though higher placed than Redding, whose damage limitation ride saw the Englishman claim eighth, neither participated in the battle for victory, which went to the Briton's Marc VDS team-mate Mika Kallio.

Espargaro and Redding fought hard when they met seven laps into the race, Redding using podium-bound Tom Luthi battering ram-style, slicing through the field behind the Swiss rider until he had caught Espargaro, fresh from his own battle with Nico Terol.

Espargaro, free of tyre issues, pushed on after the encounter in an attempt to make the podium, setting his personal fastest lap on the final lap of the race to finish less than a second from victory.

"The most positive part of the weekend is that we have recovered five points to Scott," said Espargaro.

"I'm also happy partly because we solved the problem with the tyres. I managed to make my fastest lap on the last lap of the race which means that tyre ends well... today the problem has been that I could not advance past the other riders.

Though held up noticeably by the need to block Zarco, Espargaro angled most of the blame at Terol, who he felt held him up, stating "Nico has been like a wall for me".

For Redding the main trouble came in the form of the Frenchman, revealing: "Zarco slammed into my knee and forced us both off track, which meant we lost contact with the group ahead."

After his trouble with Zarco Redding was also passed by Terol and Tito Rabat, just holding off Simone Corsi as they headed to the chequered flag.

Redding had been open about his troubles getting the new Dunlop tyre to work this weekend, and used a new previously untried set-up for the race, which was working positively until the chatter returned, pointing out "as the tyres went off and the fuel load reduced the chatter returned and it started to get difficult".

Perhaps Team Principal Michael Bartholemy put it best when he borrowed the phrasing Espargaro has become associated with after printing it on his helmet, claiming his rider "never gave up", a comment that looks set to become synonymous with their battle after the Brit also emblazoned 'never give up' on his lid accompanied by a series of question marks earlier in the season to needle his main rival.

Bartholemy expanded his point saying "it was down to him alone that he limited his championship losses to just five points today. A good job in difficult circumstances".

Redding was equally pleased to lose only five points, as he will still lead by 21 heading into his home grand prix at Silverstone this coming weekend:

"I lost a little of my advantage over Espargaro in the championship, but I'm happy enough that I limited the loss to just five points" adding "now we go to Silverstone, my home race, to see what we can do there in front of the British fans."

Espargaro is aware that Redding will be fired-up in front of his home crowd: "Silverstone is a circuit that I like, but we're in the 'enemy's house' so we will try to use all our weapons and take a closer look at the classification of the championship".

First free practice for the British round takes place on Friday morning.


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