Franco Morbidelli on top in Moto2 showdown of the year
Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) has taken another stunning win in the Dutch GP, bouncing back from some more difficult races to take the honours in the Moto2™ race of the season. Key title rival Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) took a close and hard-fought P2, with Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) completing the podium after some final chicane shenanigans with Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team).
It was a train of six at the front early on off the start, but Lüthi got the holeshot ahead of Morbidelli and Nakagami, with Miguel Oliveira slotting into P4. By the end of the first lap, Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Pasini were up into the fray, and the group started to pull away. Morbidelli pulled a small gap before Oliveira hunted him down to take over, with Pasini then moving through for second.
The Mugello winner then tapped the rear of his bike to show he had the pace before proving the point as he attacked Oliveira for the lead, and the battle remained a true battle as the laps ticked down under the constant threat of rain – with elbows out and some incredible moments and moves exchanged. After the chaos it was Nakagami at the head of the race, determined to hold station after fighting off first Pasini and then Morbidelli.
Lüthi fought back to prove the closest challenger with four to go, and the Swiss rider struck for the lead soon after – with Morbidelli following him through to shuffle Nakagami back into third. It was then fourth, then fifth for the Japanese rider as Pasini and then Oliveira pounced. Nothing was between the top five as the last lap came around, with Morbidelli pushing past Pasini at the final chicane into second – preparing a last attack on his key title rival in the lead: Tom Lüthi.
The two points leaders were clear at the front for the final duel and the Italian struck early against the Swiss rider. Lüthi found himself just too far back at the final chicane, taking a solid second and another 20 points for his title push – leaving Morbidelli to take another stunning victory after recently announcing his graduation to the premier class next year. It was a dramatic fight to complete the podium, as Nakagami took Pasini and the Italian headed over the run off towards the line in some last chicane shenanigans emblematic of the TT Circuit Assen. Third at the flag but then demoted, Pasini was classified P4 as Nakagami pulled into parc ferme to complete the podium.
Miguel Oliveira stayed out of trouble at the chicane to take fifth, with Alex Marquez then completing the top six after struggling with grip in the latter stages.
Xavier Simeon (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) completed a much-improved weekend at the Dutch GP in an impressive P7, ahead of Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) in eighth. Fabio Quartararo (Pons HP40) had a fantastic weekend to come home top rookie in ninth, beating fellow debutant Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) over the line as the Italian took tenth.
Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) was top Suter in P11 as he edged out Kiefer Racing’s Dominique Aegerter, ahead of reigning Moto3™ World Champion Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) after a solid ride from the South African rookie as he recovers from injury. Yonny Hernandez (AGR Team) and Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) completed the top fifteen.
After some classic contests at the TT Circuit Assen, it’s now on to Germany for round nine – and the last before the summer break.
Moto2 Race Results
1 – Franco Morbidelli (ITA – Kalex) 39’39.120
2 – Thomas Lüthi (SWI – Kalex) + 0.158
3 – Takaaki Nakagami (JPN – Kalex) + 0.630