Folger Takes Shock Win as Favourites Hit Trouble

Jonas Folger took a stunning first victory in the Moto2 class after all three front row starters hit problems in a dramatic season opener at Losail. The German triggered joyous scenes at AGR, inheriting the lead when Johann Zarco slowed with a broken gear linkage three laps from home, while fellow pre-race favourites Sam Lowes and Tito Rabat both crashed early on.

All looked to be going to plan for Lowes in the opening laps with the Briton converting pole position into the lead at turn one and although he was soon overtaking by the Kalex of Zarco, Sam looked comfortable in second spot. All of that changed on lap three though as the front end of the Speed Up washed out at turn sixteen, eliminating Sam on the spot.

In his absence, Rabat would have been expected to carry the challenge to Zarco but the defending champion had his own problems. Having made a solid start from the outside of the front row, Rabat skated wide at turn four, costing him five places, and that mistake would prove costly as the Marc VDS rider tagged Simone Corsi in his efforts to make progress, taking him and the Italian out of the Grand Prix.

Christmas had seemingly come early for Zarco who was presented with a four second lead over Folger and Xavier Simeon but with four laps remaining, a broken gear linkage left the Ajo Motorsport rider stuck in fourth. As Johann checked his Kalex for damage, he came perilously close to hitting the pitwall but even though he regained control, the long-time leader was powerless to keep Folger behind him. Unable to believe his luck, Folger eased to a maiden Moto2 victory for himself and the plucky AGR Team with Simeon giving Gresini their second podium finish of the day in second.

Alex Rins started the race cautiously but unleashed a sensational series of laps in the closing stages to chase down Sandro Cortese and the two Italtrans Kalex riders but Thomas Luthi barely held him off for the final podium position with Rins fourth ahead of Franco Morbidelli, Mika Kallio and Cortese.

Zarco’s pace fell away to such an extent that he limped over the line in eighth with Louis Rossi and Lorenzo Baldassarri completing the top ten, just ahead of Moto3 champion Alex Marquez.


Moto2 Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar: Race Result (20 Laps)

194. Jonas FolgerKalexAGR Team40:18.532
219. Xavier SimeonKalexFederal Oil Gresini Moto2+5.051
312. Thomas LuthiKalexDerendinger Racing Interwetten+12.123
440. Alex RinsKalexPaginas Amarillas HP 40+12.202
521. Franco MorbidelliKalexItaltrans Racing Team+14.385
636. Mika KallioKalexItaltrans Racing Team+14.413
711. Sandro CorteseKalexDynavolt Intact GP+14.471
85. Johann ZarcoKalexAjo Motorsport+18.541
996. Louis RossiTech 3Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2+20.914
107. Lorenzo BaldassarriKalexForward Racing+21.336
1173. Alex MarquezKalexEstrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS+21.847
1255. Hafizh SyahrinKalexPetronas Raceline Malaysia+23.226
1360. Julian SimonSpeed UpQMMF Racing Team+25.573
1430. Takaaki NakagamiKalexIDEMITSU Honda Team Asia+29.784
1577. Dominique AegerterKalexTechnomag Racing Interwetten+30.267
1623. Marcel SchrotterTech 3Tech 3+34.561
174. Randy KrummenacherKalexJIR Moto2+36.850
1825. Azlan ShahKalexIDEMITSU Honda Team Asia+48.346
1910. Thitipong WarokornKalexAPH PTT The Pizza SAG+48.772
2070. Robin MulhauserKalexTechnomag Racing Interwetten+49.670
2166. Florian AltSuterOcto IodaRacing Team+1:15.596
222. Jesko RaffinKalexsports-millions-EMWE-SAG+1:15.641
2351. Zaqhwan ZaidiSuterJPM Malaysia+1:21.693
NC88. Ricard CardusTech 3Tech 3+1 Lap
NC95. Anthony WestSpeed UpQMMF Racing Team+11 Laps
NC3. Simone CorsiKalexForward Racing+17 Laps
NC1. Esteve RabatKalexEstrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS+17 Laps
NC39. Luis SalomKalexPaginas Amarillas HP 40+17 Laps
NC49. Axel PonsKalexAGR Team+17 Laps
NC22. Sam LowesSpeed UpSpeed Up Racing+18 Laps