Thomas Luthi - Photo Credit: MotoGP.com

Thomas Luthi - Photo Credit: MotoGP.com

 

Thomas Luthi claimed his maiden Moto2 victory in Malaysia after the red flag was thrown moments after passing Stefan Bradl for the lead. The stoppage was agonizing for the championship leader who would've clinched the title had he stayed in front with Marc Marquez withdrawing earlier in the morning due to the injuries sustained in practice.

This meant Bradl needed to win the race to leave Malaysia with an unassailable lead but Luthi left his braking later than anyone to lead around turn one. Bradl certainly had greater pace in the early stages though and drafted past the Suter on the approach to turn 15.

Yuki Takahashi made a bright start to take third from teammate Michele Pirro but the Japanese rider ran off the circuit at turn 1 second time around, promoting the Espargaro brothers with Pol leading Aleix. Mika Kallio was next up in fifth ahead of Claudio Corti and Simone Corsi.

After starting from the front row, Pirro had slipped back to eighth but an accident involving Corti and Corsi promoted him back up the order. Corsi, on the Ioda Racing FTR lost the front end of his bike rounding turn one and slip straight into the side of his compatriot who was recovering from his own mistake.

At the front, Luthi set about closing down Bradl's one second lead, gaining a tenth of a second per lap and by half distance, the two were nose to tail. Luthi showed a wheel to Bradl on a couple of occasions but waited until lap 17 to make his move, storming up the inside into turn 15 with a sensational late-braking manoeuvre.

As it turned out, Bradl only needed to hang on for one more corner and he would have been crowned champion as an accident for Axel Pons brought out the red flags. The Spanish rider crashed at turn two and with both the bike and the rider laid in the middle of the track, the safe decision was taken to stop the race, and the result taken at the end of the dramatic 17th lap.

This gave Pol Espargaro his second podium finish of the season and the rookie was among those who profited from the early stoppage. The Speed Up rider was coming under increased pressure in the closing stages as a charging Alex De Angelis ate into his advantage. The JIR rider overtook Aleix Espargaro, Kallio and Pirro in the space of a single lap but fourth was as high as he'd get.

Dominique Aegerter also impressed to claim fifth from 20th on the grid with Kallio sixth ahead of Pirro and Espargaro who plummeted down the order in the latter stages. Andrea Iannone was unusually subdued on his way to ninth while Scott Redding completed the top ten.

Just one race remains and Stefan Bradl will head to Valencia with a 23 point lead over Marc Marquez, meaning he only needs to finish in the top 13 to win the championship.