Vietti wins exciting Moto2 race in Argentina, Bendsneyder ninth

Celestino Vietti – Termas de Río Hondo | © Dorna

Celestino Vietti won the Moto2 race at Termas de Río Hondo on Sunday. After an exciting initial phase, the Italian was finally a size too big for the competition, Somkiat Chantra and Ai Ogura turned it into a double podium for Honda Team Asia. Bo Bendsneyder crossed the finish line in ninth, Zonta van den Goorbergh crashed in the second lap.

On Sunday at 1:20 PM local time, 6:20 PM Dutch time, the Moto2 race on 23 started at the Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo in Argentina. The conditions were almost ideal with lots of sun and an outside temperature of around 23°C.

There were no surprises with regard to the tires either, with all drivers opting for the medium-compound front and soft-compound rear tyre.

Polesitter Fermín Aldeguer started well and led into the first corner ahead of Tony Arbolino and Jake Dixon. Drama was already there in the first corner for Augusto Fernández, he crashed and took compatriot Manuel González in the crash. Bo Bendsneyder got away well and held on to his ninth place, Zonta van den Goorbergh lost two positions and finished in sixteenth place.

Also for Niccolò Antonelli and Sean Dylan Kelly it went wrong on the first lap, they crashed in turn 5.

At the end of the first lap, Fermín Aldeguer was in the lead ahead of Celestino Vietti, the Italian had made up four places and wouldn’t let the Spaniard leave. Tony Arbolino was fifth ahead of Somkiat Chantra and Aron Canet, followed by Ai Ogura, Albet Arenas, Jake Dixon, Bo Bendsneyder and Sam Lowes in the top ten.

Zonta van den Goorbergh’s race came to an end in the second lap. The 16-year-old Moto2 rookie crashed in Turn 2, ending an impressive weekend with a disappointing end.

It was clear that Aldeguer and Vietti had a better pace than the rest. After three laps they had a margin of about 1.3 seconds towards Chantra. Behind the Thai, Canet had moved up to fourth at the expense of Arbolino. Bendsneyder was currently still in ninth place.

On lap four, Vietti attacked Aldeguer in Turn 2 and took the lead. The Italian seemed to be able to go just a little bit faster than Aldeguer and slowly but surely he created a margin of 0.3 seconds. Despite his very impressive qualifying and free practice sessions, Aldeguer seemed unable to translate this pace into the race. Although, the drivers behind it were also unable to drive towards the sixteen-year-old Spaniard. Only Vietti was the one in this race to outpace the youngest 250cc/Moto2 class pole sitter ever.

After a sensational weekend, the race turned into a nightmare for Aldeguer. At the end of lap 7 he crashed into a terrible and curious high-sider at Turn 3. Vietti had gone slightly wide and returned to the race line, the Italian not seeing Aldeguer trying to take advantage of the mistake. The Spaniard lost control of his machine and was thrown from his Boscoscuro machine.

Vietti was able to maintain his lead but Chantra was now only 0.2 seconds behind. Just a second behind Canet was in third place ahead of Ogura and Arbolino, behind that Dixon and Bendsneyder had moved up to P6 and P7 respectively.

Chantra attacked for the first time in the twelfth round. The Thai dove out of Vietti’s slipstream on the straight but the Italian was able to bounce back thanks to Chantra’s error in Turn 13.

Vietti was again a few tenths clear of Chantra while Canet behind that had narrowed his gap to 0.9 seconds. Ogura and Arbolino were also not too far from the battle for the podium. Two seconds behind Dixon was in solitary sixth place, 2.7 seconds behind Bo Bendsneyder had to make sure that he was not overtaken by Pedro Acosta, Albert Arenas, Jorge Navarro and Cameron Beaubier.

Vietti could not just take the race because Chantra was constantly within half a second. Ogura and Canet were in a fierce duel for third place behind, but they lost a lot of time on Chantra because of that. In the eighteenth lap Bendsneyder was visited and Pedro Acosta was the first to pass him. A lap later, Albert Arenas also managed to pass the Dutchman and he was referred back to ninth place.

Vietti didn’t give up on the last lap and kept his cool. The Italian eventually crossed the finish line by a margin of one and a half seconds, taking his second win of the season. Chantra drove another strong race and crossed the line in second, behind that Ogura turned it into a double podium for Honda Team Asia by shaking off Aron Canet and crossing the finish line in third. Dixon drove a strong final phase, finishing fifth ahead of Arbolino and Acosta, behind that Arenas, Bendsneyder and Lowes completed the top ten.

There was a crash in the final phase for Gabriel Rodrigo, the home driver made a big bang at the exit of turn 9 but was uninjured.

Vietti leads the championship with 70 points ahead of Canet (49) and Chantra (45).

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