Johann Zarco took a commanding win at the Catalan GP, ahead of new championship leader Alex Rins in 2nd and Takaaki Nakagami in 3rd at the Catalan Moto2 GP .
All eyes were on the leading two on the Moto2 World Championship grid, pole setter Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) and Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) having set the pace on the new layout.
Conditions continued to heat up, the track at 43å¡C just ahead of the lights going out for round seven of the 2016 championship. Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) made an incredible start to lead into Turn 1 with Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) sliding in just behind him.
From lap two onwards Zarco was locked deep in the battle for the podium, closing in on Rins slowly but surely. The French rider ensured the gap was never more than a third of a second as they continued to snake their way around the Circuit de Barcelona ‰ÛÒ Catalunya. At the start of lap 17 Zarco took the lead for the first time and began to push to open up an advantage, quickly opening up a half second lead. Zarco would eventually cross the line four seconds ahead of Rins, taking a perfect 50 points from the last two races and moving into third.
Rins may not have had the best launch but was up into second within just a few corners, immediately looking for a way past Luthi. Like a man possessed the Barcelona native scythed through on Luthi at the end of the first lap to lead across the line. Zarco was right with him, sticking on his tail and occasionally applying pressure. The Frenchman would eventually get past, Rins unable to respond at the end of the race. Although unable to challenge for victory, Rins now takes the lead in the championship.
The battle for third was one of the most thrilling of the weekend, Tom Luthi holding the position for much of the race. Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) was gaining on him but on lap 12 Marquez crashed at Turn 10, Nakagami then picking up his challenge and taking third from Luthi on lap 17. The Japanese rider then went about opening up a one second lead to return to the podium for the first time since Misano 2015.
With a great launch Luthi was able to lead for most of the first lap before Rins blasted past. He tried to stay with Rins and Zarco but was unable to match their pace which was half a second faster than his own during the first half of the race. Luthi continued to fade, falling into the clutches of Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia). The two battled till the end with Syahrin winning out for fourth position.
Lap three saw Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) and Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Team) come together at Turn 15, Corsi trying to force a gap. The incident was looked at by Race Direction, ruled a racing incident.
Championship leader when the race began; Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) was unable to get within touching distance of the podium, unable to even challenge the top five. He eventually finished sixth, losing the championship lead once more in an ever-tightening Moto2‰ã¢ championship.
Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP), Miguel Oliveira (Leopard Racing), Axel Pons (AGR Team) and Marcel Schrotter (AGR Team) complete the top ten.
Danny Kent (Leopard Racing) was forced to retire from the race, as did Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP). None of the former Moto3 World Champions able to finish the race.
Main Photo: Johann Zarco
1. Johann Zarco FRA Ajo Motorsport (Kalex) 42m 31.347s
2. Alex Rins SPA Paginas Amarillas HP 40 (Kalex) 42m 35.527s
3. Takaaki Nakagami JPN IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 42m 40.660s
4. Hafizh Syahrin MAL Petronas Raceline Malaysia (Kalex) 42m 42.124s
5. Thomas Luthi SWI Garage Plus Interwetten (Kalex) 42m 42.308s
6. Sam Lowes GBR Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 (Kalex) 42m 44.347s
7. Jonas Folger GER Dynavolt Intact GP (Kalex) 42m 48.393s
8. Miguel Oliveira POR Leopard Racing (Kalex) 42m 51.984s
9. Axel Pons SPA AGR Team (Kalex) 42m 51.993s
10. Marcel Schrotter GER AGR Team (Kalex) 42m 54.510s
11. Franco Morbidelli ITA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (Kalex) 42m 59.492s
12. Mattia Pasini ITA Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) 42m 59.695s
13. Julian Simon SPA QMMF Racing Team (Speed Up) 43m 5.829s
14. Lorenzo Baldassarri ITA Forward Team (Kalex) 43m 8.914s
15. Remy Gardner AUS Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2 (Kalex) 43m 14.345s
16. Isaac ViÌ±ales SPA Tech 3 Racing (Tech 3) 43m 15.979s
17. Edgar Pons SPA Paginas Amarillas HP 40 (Kalex) 43m 19.883s
18. Alex Marquez SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (Kalex) 43m 22.393s
19. Ramdan Rosli MAL Petronas AHM Malaysia (Kalex) 43m 53.813s
20. Xavi Vierge SPA Tech 3 Racing (Tech 3) 43m 56.809s
21. Robin Mulhauser SWI CarXpert Interwetten (Kalex) +1 lap
DNF Ratthapark Wilairot THA IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia (Kalex)
DNF Dominique Aegerter SWI CarXpert Interwetten (Kalex)
DNF Luca Marini ITA Forward Team (Kalex)
DNF Danny Kent GBR Leopard Racing (Kalex)
DNF Sandro Cortese GER Dynavolt Intact GP (Kalex)
DNF Simone Corsi ITA Speed Up Racing (Speed Up)
DNF Xavier Simeon BEL QMMF Racing Team (Speed Up)
Moto2 Standings after round 7:
1 Alex RINS Kalex SPA 116 Points
2 Sam LOWES Kalex GBR 108 Points
3 Johann ZARCO Kalex FRA 106 Points
4 Thomas LUTHI Kalex SWI 93 Points
5 Hafizh SYAHRIN Kalex MAL 60 Points
6 Jonas FOLGER Kalex GER 57 Points
7 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Kalex JPN 53 Points
8 Dominique AEGERTER Kalex SWI 52 Points
9 Simone CORSI Speed Up ITA 50 Points
10 Franco MORBIDELLI Kalex ITA 50 Points
11 Luis SALOM Kalex SPA 37 Points
12 Axel PONS Kalex SPA 34 Points
13 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI Kalex ITA 25 Points
14 Miguel OLIVEIRA Kalex POR 23 Points
15 Xavier SIMEON Speed Up BEL 23 Points
16 Marcel SCHROTTER Kalex GER 19 Points
17 Mattia PASINI Kalex ITA 14 Points
18 Danny KENT Kalex GBR 12 Points
19 Julian SIMON Speed Up SPA 10 Points
20 Luca MARINI Kalex ITA 10 Points
21 Sandro CORTESE Kalex GER 10 Points
22 Alex MARQUEZ Kalex SPA 5 Points
23 Isaac VIÌÔALES Tech 3 SPA 3 Points
24 Ratthapark WILAIROT Kalex THA 3 Points
25 Xavi VIERGE Tech 3 SPA 3 Points
26 Jesko RAFFIN Kalex SWI 2 Points
27 Robin MULHAUSER Kalex SWI 1 Points
28 Remy GARDNER Kalex AUS 1 Points