Moto2

Luthi supreme as Motegi rocks the title fight

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Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) has taken an impressive lights-to-flag win at the Moto2 race at the Twin Ring Motegi, getting the holeshot off the line from the middle of the front row and unleashing his ominous race pace ‰ÛÒ just as the former 125 World Champion did in 2014.

Reigning Champion Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) took an impressive second place after holding station on a tempting charge over the limit to chase down his Swiss rival, and Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli converted his thrid grid place start into an impressive third on race day after an incredible duel with home hero Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) to just stay on the rostrum. Further back, the Moto2 race in Motegi shook the title fight.

The drama was quick to begin, as title contender Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) crashed on Lap 1 when trying to make up places from P22 on the grid. The Spaniard, who had closed in on title leader Zarco and trailed by only one point ahead of the weekend, had a crash on Friday that left him riding through the pain barrier once again. P14 in Warm Up was an improvement, before disaster saw him slide out so early.

It wasn‰Ûªt long before another title contender took a tumble ‰ÛÒ Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) ‰ÛÒ who lost the front end and slid into the gravel. 40 points adrift of first before the Japanese GP, the Brit‰Ûªs title hopes took a serious dent as he slipped down to fourth in the standings with another DNF, after his stunning win in Aragon. Second in Aragon, Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) was another crasher at the same corner just after the incident.

Luthi was away at the front, with Morbidelli on his tail until the Italian began to suffer grip isssues. As the EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider slipped back into the clutches of Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and Zarco, with the Japanese rider running wide and letting Zarco past to begin his hunt for the Swiss rider ‰ÛÒ cutting the gap little by little until a four tenth advantage kept breath held in the Garage Plus Interwetten garage on the final lap. Luthi held firm however, taking a victory that seemed to have his name penciled next to it since the Moto2‰ã¢ field showed their hand in race pace in practice.

The last lap battle wasn‰Ûªt over as the win was decided, as Morbidelli and Nakagami staged a battle royale over the final few kilometres; the Japanese rider desperate to get past. Trying a number of moves but with Morbidelli hitting back, the Italian just held on to take another podium finish as he enjoys a run of impressive form.

Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) had a solid ride to a good top five finish in his 200th GP start, with Italtrans Racing Team‰Ûªs Mattia Pasini taking sixth ahead of compatriot Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing). Julian Simon (QMMF Racing Team) had an impressive ride to eighth after good pace in Warm Up, with AGR Team‰Ûªs Marcel Shrotter dropping back slightly by the end of the race to end the Japanese GP in ninth. Xavier Simeon completed a double top ten finish for the QMMF team in tenth.

Moto2 head for Australia with the title completely shaken ‰ÛÒ Zarco now with a 21 point lead ahead of Rins, and Tom Luthi‰Ûªs 25 point haul from victory in motegi seeing him take over in P3 in the standings ‰ÛÒ 43 points back with 75 on the table in the final three races.

Main Photo: Tom Luthi

MOTUL GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN

Moto3 Race Classification 2016
1 Thomas LUTHI SWI Garage Plus Interwetten Kalex 42'45.854
2 Johann ZARCO FRA Ajo Motorsport Kalex +0.386
3 Franco MORBIDELLI ITA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex +5.863
4 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex +6.090
5 Sandro CORTESE GER Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex +16.246
6 Simone CORSI ITA Speed Up Racing Speed Up +20.404
7 Mattia PASINI ITA Italtrans Racing Team Kalex +20.683
8 Julian SIMON SPA QMMF Racing Team Speed Up +20.760
9 Marcel SCHROTTER GER AGR Team Kalex +24.394
10 Xavier SIMEON BEL QMMF Racing Team Speed Up +27.113
11 Xavi VIERGE SPA Tech 3 Racing Tech 3 +30.158
12 Luca MARINI ITA Forward Team Kalex +32.283
13 Hafizh SYAHRIN MAL Petronas Raceline Malaysia Kalex +32.391
14 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA JPN Ajo Motorsport Academy Kalex +35.348
15 Isaac VIÌÔALES SPA Tech 3 Racing Tech 3 +35.486
16 Edgar PONS SPA Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex +39.558
17 Jesko RAFFIN SWI Sports-Millions-EMWE-SAG Kalex +39.690
18 Ratthapark WILAIROT THA IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex +45.258
19 Remy GARDNER AUS Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2 Kalex +47.910
20 Alex RINS SPA Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex +1'04.723
21 Naomichi URAMOTO JPN Japan-GP2 Kalex +1'05.916
22 Taro SEKIGUCHI JPN Team Taro Plus One TSR +1'26.636
DNF Iker LECUONA SPA Technomag Racing Interwetten Kalex 9 Laps
DNF Axel PONS SPA AGR Team Kalex 10 Laps
DNF Lorenzo BALDASSARRI ITA Forward Team Kalex 13 Laps
DNF Alex MARQUEZ SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex 16 Laps
DNF Danny KENT GBR Leopard Racing Kalex 16 Laps
DNF Jonas FOLGER GER Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex 19 Laps
DNF Sam LOWES GBR Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex 22 Laps
DNF Robin MULHAUSER SWI CarXpert Interwetten Kalex 22 Laps

Moto2 World Standing 2016
1 Johann ZARCO Kalex FRA 222 Points
2 Alex RINS Kalex SPA 201 Points
3 Thomas LUTHI Kalex SWI 179 Points
4 Sam LOWES Kalex GBR 162 Points
5 Franco MORBIDELLI Kalex ITA 157 Points
6 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Kalex JPN 148 Points
7 Jonas FOLGER Kalex GER 133 Points
8 Hafizh SYAHRIN Kalex MAL 106 Points
9 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI Kalex ITA 99 Points
10 Simone CORSI Speed Up ITA 84 Points
11 Dominique AEGERTER Kalex SWI 71 Points
12 Mattia PASINI Kalex ITA 63 Points
13 Alex MARQUEZ Kalex SPA 60 Points
14 Marcel SCHROTTER Kalex GER 51 Points
15 Axel PONS Kalex SPA 47 Points
16 Sandro CORTESE Kalex GER 45 Points
17 Julian SIMON Speed Up SPA 40 Points
18 Xavier SIMEON Speed Up BEL 40 Points
19 Luis SALOM Kalex SPA 37 Points
20 Miguel OLIVEIRA Kalex POR 33 Points
21 Danny KENT Kalex GBR 28 Points
22 Luca MARINI Kalex ITA 27 Points
23 Xavi VIERGE Tech 3 SPA 19 Points
24 Isaac VIÌÔALES Tech 3 SPA 13 Points
25 Jesko RAFFIN Kalex SWI 11 Points
26 Anthony WEST Suter AUS 6 Points
27 Remy GARDNER Kalex AUS 5 Points
28 Ratthapark WILAIROT Kalex THA 5 Points
29 Robin MULHAUSER Kalex SWI 4 Points
30 Edgar PONS Kalex SPA 2 Points
31 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA Kalex JPN 2 Points

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