De Angelis goes back-to-back
Alex de Angelis (Motobi) has won his second successive Moto2 IVECO Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix after a spectacular race-long battle with Stefan Bradl (Kalex) over 25 laps at Phillip Island on Sunday.
The 27-year-old San Marino rider, who qualified on pole, passed the German into Turn 1 on the final lap to lead for the first time in the race, the riders touching as they entered Turn 2. Bradl momentarily lost momentum, allowing de Angelis to escape to a lead of several bike lengths and eventually win by 1.358secs.
Bradl, narrowly denied his first win since the British Grand Prix in June, reclaimed the championship lead from Marc Marquez (Suter), but the Spaniard produced one of the great rides in recent Phillip Island memory to finish third after starting from 38th and last place on the grid.
Marquez had a minute added to his qualifying time after an incident in Friday practice that left Thai rider Ratthapark Wilairot in hospital with back and knee injuries, but was in electrifying form as he scythed his way through the pack.
The 18-year-old reigning 125cc world champion made up a staggering 22 positions on the opening lap alone, and was inside the top 10 by lap five. Despite fading tyres in the final laps, Marquez edged Italian Claudio Corti (Suter) by 0.113secs for third place, denying the Italian a maiden world championship podium finish.
“What Marc has done is incredible. It leaves you speechless. Today it was inconceivable but the race for the title is on,” said Emilio Alzamora, the 1999 125cc world champion who now guides his young compatriot’s career.
De Angelis made the best of the start into Turn 1 but ran wide into Turn 2, allowing Scott Redding (Suter) through into the lead. The Briton swapped the lead with Spaniard Pol Espargaro (FTR) in the opening laps before Bradl, who had qualified eighth, swept into the lead down the start-finish straight on lap five.
After a frantic first 10 laps, Bradl and de Angelis cleared away at the front, with the Motobi rider always looking to have Bradl’s pace covered despite the German keeping his nose in front.
The margin sat at three-tenths of a second for much of the second half of the race, but de Angelis dramatically narrowed the gap on the penultimate lap before setting up his race-winning move on the final tour, with Bradl fortunate to stay aboard his Kalex machine as the San Marino rider forced his way into the lead with just 10 corners remaining.
Bradl, who lost the series lead for the first time all season after the Japanese Grand Prix a fortnight ago, now has 254 points with races in Malaysia and Valencia remaining, and leads Marquez by three points. Andrea Iannone (Suter), who finished eighth in Sunday’s race, retains third in the championship with 165 points, while de Angelis (157 points) and Simone Corsi (127) round out the top five.