Measured Nakagami breaks Japan‰Ûªs winless drought


Measured Nakagami breaks Japan‰Ûªs winless drought
Takaaki Nakagami enjoyed his maiden GP victory in his 111th race after the rain brought out the red flag, the Japanese rider finishing ahead of ahead of Johann Zarco and Franco Morbidelli.

Fears of rain were briefly put to bed as the Moto2 World Championship race at the Motul TT Assen lined up on the grid. The 24-lap race began with a lightning start from pole setter Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten), who seized the lead immediately. Sideways action into Turn 1 saw Dominique Aegerter (CarXpert Interwetten) slide into second. Rain clouds threatened throughout the race, some riders risking more than others as it got darker and darker.

Having led Warm Up, Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) carried his pace through to the race and was inside the top five from the moment the lights went out. The top five were close and on lap six the Japanese star passed Luthi for second and attempted to close in on Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) who had taken an early leadi.

On lap nine he went up the inside of the Italian and took control of the race. His times were often half a second faster than those behind, quickly opening up a 1.5 second lead which he expertly managed. Two laps from the end the red flag was brought out due to rain, cementing Japan‰Ûªs return to the top step. This is Nakagami's first win in the World Championship, having had to settle for second on so many other occasions.

After the first five laps it looked as though Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) would be out of contention for victory, the French rider struggling to find his pace early in the race. But once he found his pace he flew, jumping into the podium battle on the tenth lap. He led Morbidelli and Luthi as the final ten laps began, the trio battling for second as Nakagami had vanished. Zarco was making progress on the Japanese rider, spots of rain in the closing six laps hardly slowed him but his chances of victory were ended by the red flag. Second sees Zarco right back in championship contention as joint leader.

From fifth on the grid, Franco Morbidelli held his position in the early laps, getting past Johann Zarco and Takaaki Nakagami with relative ease. The Italian was flying as he passed Luthi for the lead into the chicane on lap four. He held first place for some time but was eventually passed by Nakagami, the Italian focusing on his own race to secure third, only his second podium finish.

Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) was fast right away and immediately found himself in contention, the Brit pushing hard to catch Luthi out the front but was unable to stay with the leaders. His pace improved towards the end and he challenged Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Team) for fourth, a massive moment saw him briefly drop to fifth, recovering for fourth. This result sees him only five points off the championship lead.

Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Team) would eventually cross the line fifth, just ahead of Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40). A poor start saw him outside the top five, the Spaniard having to work incredible hard, sixth his reward as the leading three in the championship closing up yet again as the leading three are split by only five points.

Luthi sat comfortably behind Zarco in second for much of the race but suddenly had his pace drop off. The Swiss rider lost a number of positions before crashing at Turn 8 on lap 19.

There were further falls for Axel Pons (AGR Team) and Luca Marini (Forward Team). Like Luthi, they were unharmed.

Main Photo:Winner Takaaki Nakagami

Moto2 Race Results - Assen
1. Takaaki Nakagami JPN IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 34m 33.948s
2. Johann Zarco FRA Ajo Motorsport (Kalex) 34m 36.383s
3. Franco Morbidelli ITA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (Kalex) 34m 39.618s
4. Sam Lowes GBR Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 (Kalex) 34m 41.017s
5. Lorenzo Baldassarri ITA Forward Team (Kalex) 34m 41.831s
6. Alex Rins SPA Paginas Amarillas HP 40 (Kalex) 34m 43.163s
7. Simone Corsi ITA Speed Up Racing (Speed Up) 34m 43.430s
8. Alex Marquez SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (Kalex) 34m 48.952s
9. Dominique Aegerter SWI CarXpert Interwetten (Kalex) 34m 49.175s
10. Jonas Folger GER Dynavolt Intact GP (Kalex) 34m 49.352s
11. Xavier Simeon BEL QMMF Racing Team (Speed Up) 34m 50.322s
12. Sandro Cortese GER Dynavolt Intact GP (Kalex) 34m 50.515s
13. Marcel Schrotter GER AGR Team (Kalex) 34m 58.718s
14. Danny Kent GBR Leopard Racing (Kalex) 34m 58.965s
15. Miguel Oliveira POR Leopard Racing (Kalex) 34m 59.490s
16. Julian Simon SPA QMMF Racing Team (Speed Up) 34m 59.677s
17. Xavi Vierge SPA Tech 3 Racing (Tech 3) 35m 8.063s
18. Jesko Raffin SWI Sports-Millions-EMWE-SAG (Kalex) 35m 8.128s
19. Mattia Pasini ITA Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) 35m 8.712s
20. Remy Gardner AUS Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2 (Kalex) 35m 15.386s
21. Isaac Vi̱ales SPA Tech 3 Racing (Tech 3) 35m 16.006s
22. Robin Mulhauser SWI CarXpert Interwetten (Kalex) 35m 22.631s
23. Edgar Pons SPA Paginas Amarillas HP 40 (Kalex) 35m 30.044s
DNF Thomas Luthi SWI Garage Plus Interwetten (Kalex)
DNF Luca Marini ITA Forward Team (Kalex)
DNF Hafizh Syahrin MAL Petronas Raceline Malaysia (Kalex)
DNF Axel Pons SPA AGR Team (Kalex)

Moto2 World Standing 2016
1 Johann ZARCO Kalex FRA 126 Points
2 Alex RINS Kalex SPA 126 Points
3 Sam LOWES Kalex GBR 121 Points
4 Thomas LUTHI Kalex SWI 93 Points
5 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Kalex JPN 78 Points
6 Franco MORBIDELLI Kalex ITA 66 Points
7 Jonas FOLGER Kalex GER 63 Points
8 Hafizh SYAHRIN Kalex MAL 60 Points
9 Simone CORSI Speed Up ITA 59 Points
10 Dominique AEGERTER Kalex SWI 59 Points
11 Luis SALOM Kalex SPA 37 Points
12 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI Kalex ITA 36 Points
13 Axel PONS Kalex SPA 34 Points
14 Xavier SIMEON Speed Up BEL 28 Points
15 Miguel OLIVEIRA Kalex POR 24 Points
16 Marcel SCHROTTER Kalex GER 22 Points
17 Danny KENT Kalex GBR 14 Points
18 Mattia PASINI Kalex ITA 14 Points
19 Sandro CORTESE Kalex GER 14 Points
20 Alex MARQUEZ Kalex SPA 13 Points
21 Julian SIMON Speed Up SPA 10 Points
22 Luca MARINI Kalex ITA 10 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

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