Marco Bezzecchi was back to his best as he took his first win of the season in the Moto2 Styrian Grand Prix, round ten of the Moto2 championship.

The Sky Racing Team VR46 rider got off to a great start at the drying Spielberg track to lead the early portion of the race before Remy Gardner made his presence felt.

Pressure at the front increased when Aron Canet pulled the pin to lead briefly before the frontrunners paired off into two battles for position - Gardner duelling with the Italian, with Canet and Ai Ogura at war behind.

Bezzecchi felt their fight coming a little too close for comfort and he pressed ahead, passing Gardner. That move lead to Gardner’s first real error of the year, running wide while following the number 72’s line.

The Kalex rider kept enough back to be able to hold off his rivals to the line, winning by 1.171s at the flag, taking a clean win at the Austrian track this year after he was awarded victory last season when Jorge Martin was judged to have breached track limits.

It was Aron Canet, smartest on the podium in a bow tie, who was to take second for the third time this season as he still hunts for an elusive first intermediate class win.

 

 

A sensible race from Augusto Fernandez saw him remain trouble-free and move into third in the closing stages - the Elf Racing Marc VDS rider claiming back-to-back podiums in the process.

Polesitter Remy Gardner was able to keep his bike upright in the gravel and pull back onto the track in fifth. He gained one more place in the closing stages to finish fourth for Red Bull KTM Ajo and leaves the track still leading the way in the championship standings, now with a 34 point lead.

Ai Ogura had looked best placed to challenge Bezzecchi for victory, but flirted with the track limits once too often. Although most of the frontrunners were given a warning, his was upgraded to a long lap penalty with five laps remaining.

The impressive rookie took the penalty immediately and rejoined in fifth, but the lap was not clean and the Idemitsu Honda Team Asia rider was handed a further three second penalty after the race. The Japansese rider had enough of an advantage for that to mean no further drop in position. It is Ogura’s equal best result to date.

Behind him it was time for another rookie to shine in the tricky conditions, with Celestino Vietti coming through from 19th on the grid after just missing out on Q2 yesterday to claim a best finish in the intermediate class for the Sky Racing VR46 rider. His final move saw him claim the spot from MotoGP bound Raul Fernandez, who struggled on the patchy, drying track for the Red Bull Ajo Team after running with the leaders as long as he could in the early stages before the errors crept in as his tyres lost grip.

Eighth went to Somkiat Chantra after a confident ride as Idemitsu Honda Team Asia completed a strong showing in Spileberg with both bikes inside the top ten.

Xavi Vierge survived several challenges for his position to finish ninth for Petronas Sprinta, with Marcel Schrotter tenth for Liqui Moly Intact GP.

Jake Dixon climbed from 21st on the grid to an eleventh place finish after a brief stint in the top ten on the second Petronas Sprinta entry.

Lorenzo Dalla Porta was back in the points in twelfth after a string of retirements before the summer break, taking twelfth for Italtrans.

Fabio Di Giannantonio was off the pace in 13th for Gresini, while Sam Lowes, who spent much of the early part of the race in fifth before running wide and struggling for grip dropped once again on the closing lap moving down from tenth to finish 14th.

The final point went to Albert Arenas for Aspar, who was well clear of Tom Luthi in 16th.

Early falls took Joe Roberts, Barry Baltus and Simone Corsi out of contention. Hazifh Syahrin, Hector Garzo and Cameron Beaubier also failed to go the distance.