Pol Espargaro took a massive chunk out of Scott Redding’s Moto2 championship lead with a hard-earned victory at Misano.
Redding managed to salvage sixth on the final lap, but still surrendered 15 of his 38-point advantage to the Spaniard with five races to run.
Takaaki Nakagami finished second for a fourth consecutive race, while Esteve Rabat rounded out the podium trio.
The race was a slow burner, with Nakagami hitting the front early on and stringing out the field as he rapidly pulled away. Once again though his charge was not perfectly timed, and in the final laps he began to fade, allowing Espargaro and Rabat to close rapidly.
With three laps to run Espargaro gained almost one second to move right onto Nakagami’s tail, and duly slipped by the Japanese rider down the main straight.
The latter tried to respond and was able to up his pace, but was ultimately unable to trouble Espargaro and had to settle for second. He dedicated the result to compatriot Shoya Tomizawa, who lost his life at Misano three years ago.
As Espargaro surged, Redding slipped. Having run fourth early on, just behind Espargaro and Rabat, he gradually fell back and was passed by Thomas Luthi, Dominique Aegerter and Johann Zarco.
Redding stayed seventh until the final lap, when he managed to repass Zarco in the end, claiming an additional point in the process. His championship challenge was nevertheless dealt a sizeable blow, and he now leads by 23 points heading into the season’s five races.