Andrea Iannone claimed his first win of 2012 at the end of thrilling and controversial Catalunya Moto2 race today.
The Italian held off the relentless challenge of Thomas Luthi and home crowd favourite Marc Marquez to claim victory by just 0.083s, as the Moto2 race once again delivered pulsating action throughout.
Iannone, Luthi and Marquez all took it in turns to lead during the 23-lap race, but it was the Speed Master rider who prevailed after a typically gripping climax.
Arguably the defining moment of the race came on lap 21 with Iannone leading and Luthi having just dropped Marquez back to third with a clinical pass entering the stadium section.
Marquez lost the front-end of his Suter machine but brilliantly prevented himself from crashing with a skillful save. But as he steered back on the racing line he collided with fellow Spaniard Pol Espargaro, who was chasin the leading trio in fourth.
Espargaro fell heavily and the incident was immediately put under investigation by Race Direction. Replays though seemed to suggest Marquez wasn't aware that Espargaro had dived up the inside.
The incident ended Espargaro’s challenge and although he stayed on board his Suter machine, Marquez ended his pursuit of a third victory in 2012 having suffered the big front-end slide.
He opted to collect a safe third place, which puts him two-points behind world championship leader Luthi heading to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
British rider Scott Redding looked on course for a fourth top six finish of the season when he moved to the front of a big pack battling for fifth on lap nine.
But he suddenly experienced a tingling sensation in his right hand and unable to maintain his pace he dropped back to 10th.
Bradley Smith was a distant 12th and over 20 seconds off the winning pace while Gino Rea’s tough season suffered another cruel bout of bad luck. The Gresini rider made a great start from 23rd on the grid but was collected by Spaniard Julian Simon in the braking zone for the first corner.
He escaped injury in the accident but was unable to re-join the race.