Qatar Moto2: Luthi grabs win amid jump-start mayhem

Thomas Luthi beat Franco Morbidelli in a race-long duel to win the opening Moto2 race of the season at Qatar, as the Italian was one of many riders to be penalised for jumping the start.

The getaway was a chaotic one, as all the riders from second to eighth on the grid inclusive - Sam Lowes, Alex Rins, Johann Zarco, Morbidelli, Sandro Cortese, Marcel Schrotter and Takaaki Nakagami - all jumped the start by varying degrees.

Marc VDS rider Morbidelli was among the worst offenders, but escaped the first round of punishments as Lowes, Rins, Zarco and Schrotter were all called into the pits for a ride-through penalty immediately, soon followed by Nakagami.

Poleman Jonas Folger started cleanly, but when the German crashed his Intact Kalex at Turn 4 on the third lap, it left a fast-starting Luthi and Morbidelli battling for victory.

The two swapped positions multiple times, although Morbidelli led for much of the second half before Luthi seized the advantage at the start of the final lap.

It wasn't until the very closing stages that the stewards finally acknowledged Morbidelli and Cortese had also jumped the start, both having 20 seconds added to their respective race times.

"I didn't know about the situation until parc ferme," commented a victorious Luthi. "But I still won the race with or without Morbidelli's penalty.

"I risked a lot though and I could have taken it easier if I knew about the penalty, so it wasn't that nice."

That demoted Morbidelli to seventh place at the flag, as Luis Salom (SAG Kalex) - third on the road - was promoted to second ahead of Simone Corsi's Speed Up.

Cortese had crossed the line in fifth, but dropped down to 15th once his penalty was applied.

This meant Hafiz Syahrin (Petronas Kalex) took an unlikely fourth place, ahead of Dominique Aegerter (Technomag Kalex) and Moto3 champion Danny Kent (Leopard Kalex) on his return to the intermediate class.

Behind Morbidelli, Rins recovered to finish eighth ahead of Lowes, with Forward Racing's Luca Marini completing the top 10. Reigning champion Zarco salvaged 12th place.

Pos.RiderTeamBikeTime
1 SwitzerlandThomas Luthi SwitzerlandGarage Plus Interwetten Kalex 40:14.293
2 SpainLuis Salom SpainSAG Team Kalex +9.610
3 ItalySimone Corsi ItalySpeed Up Racing Speed Up +9.665
4 MalaysiaHafizh Syahrin MalaysiaPetronas Raceline Malaysia Team Honda Kalex +13.558
5 SwitzerlandDominique Aegerter GermanyTechnomag Racing Interwetten Kalex +16.064
6 United KingdomDanny Kent United KingdomLeopard Racing Kalex +16.114
7 ItalyFranco Morbidelli EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex +20.047
8 SpainAlex Rins SpainPaginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex +20.170
9 United KingdomSam Lowes ItalyGresini Racing Kalex +22.019
10 ItalyLuca Marini SwitzerlandForward Team Kalex +24.249
11 PortugalMiguel Oliveira United KingdomLeopard Racing Kalex +24.254
12 FranceJohann Zarco FinlandAjo Motorsport Kalex +24.570
13 Ratthapark Wilairot JapanIdemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex +25.664
14 JapanTakaaki Nakagami JapanIdemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex +26.992
15 GermanySandro Cortese GermanyDynavolt Intact GP Kalex +29.736
16 Mattia Pasini ItalyItaltrans Racing Team Kalex +30.404
17 GermanyMarcel Schrötter ItalyAGR Team Kalex +38.446
18 SwitzerlandJesko Raffin SpainSports-Millions-EMWE-SAG Kalex +46.363
19 SpainIsaac Viñales Tech 3 Racing Tech 3 +46.543
20 SwitzerlandRobin Mulhauser GermanyTechnomag Racing Interwetten Kalex +1:18.323
21 ItalyAlessandro Tonucci ItalyTasca Racing Scuderia Moto2 Kalex +1:25.002
22 SpainEfren Vazquez MalaysiaJPMoto Malaysia Suter +1:39.572
R Axel Pons AGR Team Kalex  
R Xavi Vierge Tech 3 Racing Tech 3  
R Xavier Simeon QMMF Racing Team Speed Up  
R Alex Marquez EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex  
R Jonas Folger Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex  
R Julian Simon QMMF Racing Team Speed Up  
R Edgar Pons SpainPaginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex  

 

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About this article
Series Moto2
Event Losail
Track Losail International Circuit
Drivers Thomas Luthi , Johann Zarco , Jonas Folger , Franco Morbidelli , Alex Rins , Sam Lowes
Article type Race report