Franco Morbidelli found a way to stay in front in an extraordinary scrap for the win in the Moto2 Austrian Grand Prix.

The EG 0,0 Marc VDS man had his team-mate Alex Marquez for company at the front, with his main title rival Tom Luthi and Miguel Oliveira also scrapping away in the lead group.

The Italian held his line better and fought back on the corner exits, and was especially good in the tricky turn three, to pull out a slender 1.312 second lead at the line to secure his 7th win of the season.

Morbidelli was second at Spileberg last year but his one place improvement at the Red Bull Ring in 2017 increases his championship lead, the Italian now has 207 points a advantage of 26 over Luthi.

Marquez looked equally determined to win the race despite riding shotgun to his team-mate for much of the time but had to settle for second in the Marc VDS 1-2.

They are joined on the podium by CarXpert Interwetten’s Luthi, who was secure in third after trying everything to hit the front to no avail.

Miguel Oliveira caught the leaders with a flurry of fastest laps only to succumb to a huge crash with four laps remaining, ending Red Bull KTM’s hopes of taking their first Moto2 win at home.

Rookie Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) was closing on the trio after catching and passing Mattia Pasini but had to settle for fourth, with Italtrans birthday boy Pasini left in fifth.

Taka Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) duelled with Brad Binder all the way to the chequered flag to claim sixth, with the South African seventh for the Red Bull KTM Ajo team, giving their fans a top ten finish to cheer.

Jorge Navarro fought his way to a clear eighth for Gresini, ahead of top Suter finisher Dominique Aegerter in ninth for Kiefer Racing.

Hafizh Syahrin completed the top ten for Petronas Raceline Malaysia despite being demoted to 21st on the grid from 12th after tyre pressure irregularities in qualifying.

Simone Corsi pished his Speed Up to the limit for eleventh, with Tetsuta Nagashima (Teluru SAG Team) the only rider to make it out of the first corner carnage and stage a comeback for twelfth, his best finish to date in Moto2.

The remaining points went to Axel Pons (RW Racing GP) who passed his younger brother for 13th, with Edgar 14th for Pons HP40 and Tech 3’s Remy Gardner who dropped a little in the closing stages but held on to 15th.

Turn one took a plethora of casualties as Xavi Vierge tagged Fabio Quatararo who was sent spinning, with Stefano Manzi and Lorenzo Baldassarri caught up trying to avoid the accident.

Directly behind Iker Lecuona, Xavier Siemeon, Nagashima, Luca Marini, and Sandro Cortese all also found themselves in a pile in the gravel.

Vierge, Simeon, Marini, Cortese, Quatararo and Baldassarri wer all unable to rejoin the race. Manzi recovered but crashed out again a few laps later.

Isaac Vinales slipped out of eighth with thirteen laps left to run.

Danny Kent, replacing the injured Marcel Schrotter, was been withdrawn from the weekend after his collision with Marquez in practice has left him with whiplash and headaches.

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