Assen Moto2: Nakagami fights through for maiden win

Assen Moto2: Nakagami fights through for maiden win
Jun 26, 2016, 11:08 AM

Japanese rider Takaaki Nakagami took a long-awaited maiden victory in Moto2 at Assen, fighting through into the lead and then checking out once he was in clean air.

Takaaki Nakagami, Honda Team Asia
Takaaki Nakagami, Honda Team Asia
Johann Zarco, Ajo Motorsport
Takaaki Nakagami, Honda Team Asia
Franco Morbidelli, Marc VDS
Franco Morbidelli, Marc VDS
Takaaki Nakagami, Honda Team Asia
Johann Zarco, Ajo Motorsport

The 24-year-old's first win came in his 77th start, Nakagami having finished runner-up on four occasions back in 2013.

A textbook start from poleman Thomas Luthi kicked off an early stint in which the Swiss rider controlled the race, albeit he could not break away.

After Johann Zarco ran wide into Turn 1, Dominique Aegerter held the spot, trying to pick off his compatriot for the lead on Lap 2 only to allow Sam Lowes through instead.

Aegerter retook second place shortly thereafter, but would have no answer for a charging Franco Morbidelli, who rapidly dealt with Nakagami and a seemingly struggling Lowes before moving past the Swiss rider.

And, swiftly, Morbidelli then picked off Luthi as well out of the final chicane, delivering the first lead change of the race on lap 4.

Luthi was then also passed by Nakagami at Turn 1, and the Japanese rider used the same overtaking spot to take over in the lead of the race on lap 9.

Morbidelli tried to retaliate and briefly retook first place, but would eventually lose out, re-passed not only by Nakagami but also by Luthi and Zarco.

However, with Luthi struggling to keep pace with the Japanese rider, it was Nakagami's cue to check out as he quickly established a lead of around a second.

As Zarco picked off Luthi, that lead turned to two seconds - and when Morbidelli divebombed past Luthi and then overtook Zarco, only to be re-passed, Nakagami's advantage reached three seconds.

Zarco soon shook of Morbidelli for good and began slowly making up ground on the leader, but the complexity of the race changed at that point, with light drops of rain suggesting the possibility of a premature end.

And, after Luthi crashed and Julian Simon then hit Danny Kent out of the race, the red flags arrived, the race being called then and there.

Behind Nakagami, Zarco and Morbidelli, Lowes passed Lorenzo Baldassarri for fourth, despite being nearly thrown off his bike in a major moment while fighting.

Having fought Simone Corsi for most of the race, Suzuki-bound Alex Rins eventually prevailed over the Belgian to claim sixth putting himself level on points with Zarco at the top of the points standings.

Alex Marquez scored the best result of a nightmare season so far with eighth, while Aegerter and Tech 3 signing Jonas Folger made up the top 10.

Race results

1 Takaaki Nakagami Kalex 34'33.948
2 Johann Zarco Kalex 2.435
3 Franco Morbidelli Kalex 5.670
4 Sam Lowes Kalex 7.069
5 Lorenzo Baldassarri Kalex 7.883
6 Alex Rins Kalex 9.215
7 Simone Corsi Speed Up 9.482
8 Alex Marquez Kalex 15.004
9 Dominique Aegerter Kalex 15.227
10 Jonas Folger Kalex 15.404
11 Xavier Simeon Speed Up 16.374
12 Sandro Cortese Kalex 16.567
13 Marcel Schrötter Kalex 24.770
14 Danny Kent Kalex 25.017
15 Miguel Oliveira Kalex 25.542
16 Julian Simon Speed Up 25.729
17   Xavi Vierge Tech 3 34.115
18 Jesko Raffin Kalex 34.180
19 Mattia Pasini Kalex 34.764
20 Remy Gardner Kalex 41.438
21 Isaac Viñales Tech 3 42.058
22 Robin Mulhauser Kalex 48.683
23   Edgar Pons Kalex 56.096
Ret Thomas Luthi Kalex 3 Laps
Ret Luca Marini Kalex 4 Laps
Ret Hafizh Syahrin Kalex 7 Laps
Ret Axel Pons Kalex 17 Laps
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