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.
|1||Thomas Luthi||Garage Plus Interwetten||Kalex||40:14.293|
|2||Luis Salom||SAG Team||Kalex||+9.610|
|3||Simone Corsi||Speed Up Racing||Speed Up||+9.665|
|4||Hafizh Syahrin||Petronas Raceline Malaysia Team Honda||Kalex||+13.558|
|5||Dominique Aegerter||Technomag Racing Interwetten||Kalex||+16.064|
|6||Danny Kent||Leopard Racing||Kalex||+16.114|
|7||Franco Morbidelli||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Kalex||+20.047|
|8||Alex Rins||Paginas Amarillas HP 40||Kalex||+20.170|
|9||Sam Lowes||Gresini Racing||Kalex||+22.019|
|10||Luca Marini||Forward Team||Kalex||+24.249|
|11||Miguel Oliveira||Leopard Racing||Kalex||+24.254|
|12||Johann Zarco||Ajo Motorsport||Kalex||+24.570|
|13||Ratthapark Wilairot||Idemitsu Honda Team Asia||Kalex||+25.664|
|14||Takaaki Nakagami||Idemitsu Honda Team Asia||Kalex||+26.992|
|15||Sandro Cortese||Dynavolt Intact GP||Kalex||+29.736|
|16||Mattia Pasini||Italtrans Racing Team||Kalex||+30.404|
|17||Marcel Schrötter||AGR Team||Kalex||+38.446|
|19||Isaac Viñales||Tech 3 Racing||Tech 3||+46.543|
|20||Robin Mulhauser||Technomag Racing Interwetten||Kalex||+1:18.323|
|21||Alessandro Tonucci||Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2||Kalex||+1:25.002|
|22||Efren Vazquez||JPMoto 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||Paginas Amarillas HP 40||Kalex|
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