Conditions were as wet as ever as the Moto2 World Championship lined up on the grid of the Sachsenring in Germany for the ninth round of 2016.
The intermediate class had some of the worst weather on Friday, but the 20-minute Warm Up session was their first taste of a properly wet Sachsenring. Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) was on pole for the first time in 2016, but in the wet conditions bravery would be the deciding factor of the day.
As the lights went out it was Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) who grabbed the lead into and out of Turn 1. He was hotly pursued by Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) and Nakagami, the pair getting ahead not long after as Zarco faded early in the race. Several crashes ahead soon saw him back in podium contention and closing in on the leaders as he adjusted to the conditions.
Soon Zarco was one of five riders fighting for the win, taking no prisoners as he battled. He was on a charge to chase down Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS), but the Italian crashed out of the lead. Folger tried to pressure Zarco but the Frenchman kept his nerve in the final corner to taking a crucial victory.
Having briefly led his home Grand Prix early in the race, Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) lost contact with the leading riders during the middle of the race. His hopes of a home podium looked over until the rain stopped, the track drying ever to slightly and allowing the German to push closer to the limit. Before long he was past Rins and up into second place. The German did all he could to take victory at home, sliding up the inside of Zarco at the final corner but was unable to get the drive to the line. Second place is Folger's first ever podium at home in Germany and by far his best result at the Sachsenring.
Rins looked comfortable in third place until he crashed out at Turn 1, promoting Julian Simon (QMMF Racing Team) to a surprise third position. This saw Simon return to the podium for the first time since the Valencia GP in 2012, despite nursing an injured ankle. The Spaniard was almost in tears as he was interviewed after the race, elated to return to the podium after such a long time since his last.
Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Team) had originally been declared unfit for the race after dislocating his right shoulder in Warm Up. The Italian elected to have his shoulder put back in and lined up on the grid. It was a tough race even in the wet, Baldassarri crossing the line in fifth thanks to a number of falls ahead.
Marcel Schrotter (AGR Team) was battling with Zarco for a top five finish, but the German‰Ûªs hopes of home glory came to an end at Turn 8 on lap five, lucky to walk away from the crash. Turn 8 would also claim Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) and Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten).
Championship front-runner Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) fell foul of the conditions at Turn 6, picking up his bike to try and salvage some points. The determined Brit did all he could, but would crash later in the race at Turn 1. Xavier Simeon (QMMF Racing Team) fell several laps later at the same corner.
Like Lowes, Nakagami remounted and was able to cross the line in 11th. Disaster continued to hit the front-runners as Morbidelli crashed at Turn 1 on lap 23, his chances of a first race win slipping through his fingers. A second fall towards the end of the race was the final nail in the coffin.
After a promising start, Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) crashed from yet another race. Marquez remounted but would crash once more, this time at Turn 7. He was unharmed in both falls.
Ratthapark Wilairot (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) jumped the start and was awarded a ride through penalty as a result.
Danny Kent (Leopard Racing) was also ruled unfit after injuring his ribs between races. His teammate Miguel Oliveira (Leopard Racing) would be the first faller of the race, coming off at Turn 8.
Main Photo: Johann Zarco
Moto2 Race Classification 2016 - Sachsenring, Round 9 -
1 Johann ZARCO FRA Ajo Motorsport Kalex 47'18.646
2 Jonas FOLGER GER Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex +0.059
3 Julian SIMON SPA QMMF Racing Team Speed Up +20.433
4 Mattia PASINI ITA Italtrans Racing Team Kalex +30.455
5 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI ITA Forward Team Kalex +31.771
6 Luca MARINI ITA Forward Team Kalex +34.201
7 Hafizh SYAHRIN MAL Petronas Raceline Malaysia Kalex +41.942
8 Jesko RAFFIN SWI Sports-Millions-EMWE-SAG Kalex +47.955
9 Isaac VIÌÔALES SPA Tech 3 Racing Tech 3 +49.759
10 Dominique AEGERTER SWI CarXpert Interwetten Kalex +51.047
11 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex +1'05.386
12 Remy GARDNER AUS Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2 Kalex +1'13.865
13 Robin MULHAUSER SWI CarXpert Interwetten Kalex +1'19.545
14 Edgar PONS SPA Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex +1'30.502
15 Sandro CORTESE GER Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex 2 Laps
DNF Alex RINS SPA Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex 3 Laps
DNF Franco MORBIDELLI ITA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex 3 Laps
DNF Sam LOWES GBR Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex 4 Laps
DNF Alex MARQUEZ SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex 5 Laps
DNF Xavier SIMEON BEL QMMF Racing Team Speed Up 7 Laps
DNF Thomas LUTHI SWI Garage Plus Interwetten Kalex 12 Laps
DNF Axel PONS SPA AGR Team Kalex 19 Laps
DNF Ratthapark WILAIROT THA IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex 21 Laps
DNF Simone CORSI ITA Speed Up Racing Speed Up 24 Laps
DNF Xavi VIERGE SPA Tech 3 Racing Tech 3 24 Laps
DNF Marcel SCHROTTER GER AGR Team Kalex 25 Laps
DNF Miguel OLIVEIRA POR Leopard Racing Kalex 26 Laps
Moto2 World Standing 2016 After round 9
1 Johann ZARCO Kalex FRA 151
2 Alex RINS Kalex SPA 126
3 Sam LOWES Kalex GBR 121
4 Thomas LUTHI Kalex SWI 93
5 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Kalex JPN 83
6 Jonas FOLGER Kalex GER 83
7 Hafizh SYAHRIN Kalex MAL 69
8 Franco MORBIDELLI Kalex ITA 66
9 Dominique AEGERTER Kalex SWI 65
10 Simone CORSI Speed Up ITA 59
11 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI Kalex ITA 47
12 Luis SALOM Kalex SPA 37
13 Axel PONS Kalex SPA 34
14 Xavier SIMEON Speed Up BEL 28
15 Mattia PASINI Kalex ITA 27
16 Julian SIMON Speed Up SPA 26
17 Miguel OLIVEIRA Kalex POR 24
18 Marcel SCHROTTER Kalex GER 22
19 Luca MARINI Kalex ITA 20
20 Sandro CORTESE Kalex GER 15
21 Danny KENT Kalex GBR 14
22 Alex MARQUEZ Kalex SPA 13
23 Jesko RAFFIN Kalex SWI 10
24 Isaac VIÌÔALES Tech 3 SPA 10
25 Remy GARDNER Kalex AUS 5
26 Robin MULHAUSER Kalex SWI 4
27 Ratthapark WILAIROT Kalex THA 3
28 Xavi VIERGE Tech 3 SPA 3
29 Edgar PONS Kalex SPA 2