Arbolino wins as wild Phillip Island Moto2 race cut short
Sunday 22nd October, 2023 - 11:41am
Tony Arbolino has been declared the winner of a crash-filled Moto2 race at Phillip Island which was cut short due to high winds.
The Marc VDS rider led by 15 seconds at the end of Lap 9 of a scheduled 23, just as a red flag was called for the official reason of ‘weather conditions’ after the wind had picked up at the coastal Victorian circuit.
With no restart possible, and less than two-thirds race distance completed, half points will be awarded, meaning Arbolino scores 12.5 in his bid to catch championship leader Pedro Acosta.
The latter has been classified ninth, enough for 3.5 points instead of the usual seven, and hence leads Arbolino by 56 points with four rounds to go.
As was the case in Moto3, the crashes started even before the race did, and it was Acosta going down at Miller Corner on his lap to the grid.
The Spaniard got his KTM Ajo entry back to the pits and was able to take the start from the lane, having qualified fifth.
Aron Canet (Pons) got the jump from the middle of the front row and led pole-sitter Fermin Aldeguer (SpeedUp) to Doohan Corner for the first of 23 laps.
Aldeguer went back down his inside at Southern Loop before Alonso Lopez (SpeedUp) took the lead through Stoner Corner, only to throw it away with a crash at Miller Corner.
Sergio Garcia (Pons) emerged with the lead after starting seventh, from Filip Salac (Gresini), Jake Dixon (GasGas Aspar), and Aldeguer, with Canet eighth and Acosta 26th at the end of the standing lap.
Aldeguer was shuffled back on Lap 2 as Arbolino made his way to third position, before overtaking Salac on Lap 3.
The Italian thus inherited the lead when three of the top five crashed out on Lap 4, Garcia highsiding at the Hayshed where he was joined by Salac, before Sam Lowes (Marc VDS) went down at MG.
Dixon was second at four seconds in arrears until he crashed at Southern Loop moments later, meaning Aldeguer was back up to second and Canet to third, while Izan Guevara (GasGas Aspar) ran fourth after starting 23rd on the grid.
Acosta was 10th by the end of Lap 5 and then rounded up Marcos Ramirez (American Racing) at Doohan Corner on Lap 8, before nearly crashing again at Miller Corner.
Canet went deeper under brakes at Miller Corner on Lap 9 and was able to round up Aldeguer for second, before Race Direction put a halt to proceedings which would not be lifted.
The top 10 in the official classification was Arbolino, Canet, Aldeguer, Jeremy Alcoba (Gresini), Joe Roberts (Italtrans), Guevara, Somkiat Chantra (Honda Team Asia), Bo Bendsneyder (Stop And Go), Acosta, and Ramirez.
Dixon’s DNF means he trails Acosta by 108.5 championship points with just 100 more on offer this year, and hence the title race is officially down to just two riders.
The Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix programme is set to continue with the MotoGP Sprint at 13:00 local time/AEDT, if it is in fact safe to start.
Beyond that, the field heads to Thailand’s Buriram circuit next weekend.