Opportunity knocks, Tom Luthi answers with a stunning sprint for the win
Tom Luthi (CarXpert Interwetten) took a near-perfect win in a shortened six-lap sprint for the Moto2™ field in the Czech GP, carving out a five second advantage in almost the same number of laps to head Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) across the line. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) completed the podium, with Championship leader Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) coming home in P8.
In the initial race, Oliveira got the best start off the line, but Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) soon struck back on the first lap to take the lead – leaving the KTM to duel Morbidelli. Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) made a good start to soon slot into fifth, with Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) tagged onto the back to make a lead group of six.
Then the rain began to fall, and as the frontrunners began to raise their hands, the Red Flag came out. It would be the Quick Restart procedure, sadly missing Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP), who crashed ahead of the flag, and Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing), whose bad luck continued after contact on Lap 1 saw him out of contention.
Full points awarded – and a six lap sprint.
The grid was formed from the standings on the last lap before the Flag, putting Pasini back on pole. As the lights went out and all eyes turned on the front row, Lüthi stole the limelight as he made the start of the century, taking the holeshot from seventh on the grid. Alex Marquez slotted into second, before drama hit just behind soon after as Pasini then slid out, bringing his 200th GP start to a sadly premature end.
As Lüthi bolted, Marquez followed and it was Oliveira on the chase – with Morbidelli getting swamped in the mad dash. Luca Marini (Forward Racing Team), Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing), Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) and Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) all flew past the points leader, with a battle of the rookies between Brad Binder and Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) raging behind him.
Alone at the front, it was near-perfection from Lüthi, who simply disappeared into the distance to cross the line almost five seconds clear: a stunning 25 point haul sending shockwaves through the title fight. Marquez took an impressive second on his return from injury after a similarly faultless performance in the tough conditions, with Oliveira just unable to chase down the rider from Cervera and forced to settle for completing the podium.
Marini took P4 ahead of Vierge in their best ever results, with Corsi behind and able to create some fresh air between himself and Bagnaia. Holding onto P8 all eyes were on Morbidelli, but he managed to salvage some solid points on the tough sprint to the finish.
Completing the top ten were two more candidates for joining Lüthi for ride of the day, with Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing) charging up into ninth to impress for his best ever result – but in tenth was an incredible debut. Joe Roberts (AGR Team), in his first ever Moto2™ World Championship race, moved up from P28 to take P10 and his first six points – an unbelievable rookie ride for which FP1’s wet pace laid the foundations.
Jorge Navarro took a solid P11 after a good weekend, with Brad Binder back on the hunt after a tough first half to the season with injuries to take P12. Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) was thirteenth after a great showing, followed home by another impressive rookie – Khairul Idham Pawi (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia). Malaysian Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) completed the points scorers.
After the mad dash of Brno, Moto2™ now head for the hills of Austria and the Red Bull Ring – where Lüthi began his Championship charge in earnest last year.
Moto2 Race 2 Results
1 – Thomas Lüthi (SWI – Kalex) 13’39.036
2 – Alex Márquez (SPA – Kalex ) + 4.991
3 – Miguel Oliveira (POR – KTM) + 6.983