Franco Morbidelli bests Bagnaia in cat-and-mouse contest in France
Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) took another incredible win at Le Mans in Moto2™, extending his points lead after crashing out last time out in Jerez. First dueling Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) and then holding firm under incredible pressure from rookie superstar Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46), Morbidelli’s win upholds the EG 0,0 Marc VDS team’s 100% win rate in 2017. Bagnaia pushed hard to keep his compatriot close in another awesome rookie ride for second, with Swiss veteran and multiple Le Mans winner Lüthi taking third.
Lüthi got the best launch off the line, with Morbidelli moving up past Bagnaia as the two fought it out through the first corners and it looked like the Swiss rider could escape. An early crasher was Luca Marini (Forward Racing Team), with Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) slotting into the chase behind the top three as another to make a good start.
Morbidelli didn’t leave it long to pounce for the lead up front, with a stunning duel then unfolding between the Champion leader and his Swiss challenger before Lüthi ran wide as Morbidelli moved up the inside – and the number 12 found himself pushed back to fourth.
That left Bagnaia and Marquez chasing the Championship leader out front and Lüthi regrouping, with Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) lurking in fifth.
Bagnaia held firm closely behind Morbidelli in the lead, with a small gap appearing back to Lüthi as he tried to attack Marquez – but the rider from Cervera was holding firm. With a handful of laps to go the Swiss rider made it stick, leaving Marquez to bring it home in P4 after an impressive display despite a small fracture in his foot sustained on Saturday.
Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing Team) was a high profile crasher out of the top ten in a difficult day for the team, with Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) then left in a gap behind Pasini to fly the flag as fastest Suter once again in sixth. Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) took a solid seventh ahead of Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) after passing the Italian late on, with Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing) in ninth ahead of more good form from Yonny Hernandez (AGR Team) to complete the top ten.
Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) took P11 in a solid points scoring finish, ahead of Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Ricky Cardus. Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) took points in P14, with Axel Pons (RW Racing GP) locking out the fastest fifteen.
Now, the Championship leader heads home as the Italian GP awaits.
Moto2 Race Results
1 – Franco Morbidelli (ITA – Kalex) 42’17.557
2 – Francesco Bagnaia (ITA – Kalex) + 1.714
3 – Thomas Lüthi (SWI – Kalex) + 5.837