Francesco Bagnaia held off Lorenzo Baldassari to win the first Moto2 race of the 2018 MotoGP season.
Poleman Alex Marquez had to accept third place due to a brake problem.
Other than that, the race had been processional.
Just when the first Moto2 race of the year seemed like another procession, a mechanical problem threw the race open.
Francesco Bagnaia, Lorenzo Baldassarri and pole sitter Alex Marquez (younger brother of Marc) took off into the lead a few corners after the start as the rest fell behind.
Bagnaia managed to pull out an early gap and started riding at a consistently high pace, leaving Baldassarri and Marquez to battle it out. Indeed, the pursuing duo started to trade places, including three times in one lap before Marquez prevailed. He started chasing down Bagnaia.
With just a handful of laps to go, Marquez went straight past a corner, letting Baldassarri through. It was soon apparent that Marquez’s rear brake was glowing red hot, signaling that it had jammed.
Baldasasarri then hunted down Bagnaia; catching and then passing into the lead on the last lap. But he went wide at the exit and Bagnaia repassed and held on all the way to the finish line to win.
Marquez continued to struggle with the stuck rear brake and was in danger of falling victim to Mattia Passini. Fortunately, the glowing went away in the last two laps and Marquez pulled away to maintain his third place on the podium.
Behind him, Passini finished in fourth, followed by the KTMs of Miguel Oliviera and Brad Binder. The much-fangled late charge of the KTMs due to their rear tyre preserving qualities failed to materialize.
|1||25||Francesco BAGNAIA||ITA||SKY Racing Team VR46||Kalex||40’19.802|
|2||20||Lorenzo BALDASSARRI||ITA||Pons HP40||Kalex||+0.112|
|3||16||Alex MARQUEZ||SPA||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Kalex||+5.625|
|4||13||Mattia PASINI||ITA||Italtrans Racing Team||Kalex||+6.657|
|5||11||Miguel OLIVEIRA||POR||Red Bull KTM Ajo||KTM||+10.296|
|6||10||Brad BINDER||RSA||Red Bull KTM Ajo||KTM||+10.344|
|7||9||Marcel SCHROTTER||GER||Dynavolt Intact GP||Kalex||+11.419|
|8||8||Xavi VIERGE||SPA||Dynavolt Intact GP||Kalex||+11.516|
|9||7||Luca MARINI||ITA||SKY Racing Team VR46||Kalex||+20.690|
|10||6||Jorge NAVARRO||SPA||Federal Oil Gresini Moto2||Kalex||+20.961|