Moto2: Iannone takes first win of 2012

Sun, 03 Jun 20:23:00 2012

Andrea Iannone claimed his first Moto2 victory of the year with an excellent ride under heavy pressure at Catalunya, while Marc Marquez captured the championship lead following a controversial clash with chief rival Pol Espargaro three laps from the end.

Speed Up Moto2 rider Andrea Iannone of Italy takes a curve on his motorbike during the first free practice of the Catalunya MotoGP Grand Prix in Montmelo, near Barcelona - 0

Marquez and Espargaro had been two of the primary reasons Iannone could not be assured of victory despite leading for the majority of the race. Along with Thomas Luthi, the lead quartet was rarely separated by more than six tenths of a second.

While the lead occasionally changed hands at the first turn, the crucial moment of the race came three laps from the finish when Luthi (Paddock Suter) dived down the inside of Marquez at Turn 10.

Marquez (Monlau Suter) lost the front of his bike but was able to rescue the situation almost instantly, although he lost second and surrendered ground.

That invited his title rival Espargaro (Pons Kalex) to dive down the inside, but as Marquez pulled back onto line the pair touched. Espargaro crashed out, suffering a heavy high-side into the gravel, while Marquez was able to continue.

In contrast to his controversial move on Luthi at Qatar, Marquez seemed to know little about where Espargaro was: race control later gave him a minute penalty, but that was cancelled on appeal.

The battle for the lead was still on, but Iannone managed to resist a final lap dive from Luthi to seal a first win of the year for his Speed Master Speed Up squad.

It was similarly frantic behind the lead four, with a multitude of riders involved in the fight for fifth - which became fourth following Espargaro's crash.

Esteve Rabat (Pons Kalex) eventually claimed the position ahead of Simone Corsi (Ioda FTR) and Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Kalex), although Toni Elias (Aspar Suter) was also involved until he crashed out seven laps from the end.

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