Johann Zarco underlined his status as 2015 Moto2 world champion with a superbly judged victory in Malaysia. The Frenchman defeated polesitter Thomas Luthi in a race-long head-to-head to claim his eighth win of the year, one shy of Marc Marquez’s 2012 record with one Grand Prix still to go.
After smashing the lap record in qualifying, Luthi was the strong favourite for victory and he looked to have the race under control in the early stages as he opened up a one second lead over Zarco. However, the longer the race went, the more the pendulum swung towards the Ajo rider and under braking for turn two on the last lap, Johann caught the Swiss rider napping to snatch the lead.
Luthi’s attempt to duck back underneath Zarco didn’t come off as the world champion held him at bay around turn three and with the superior late race pace, Johann eased away to win by just over half a second. Jonas Folger rode a lonely race to third with his cause being aided by a mid-race crash for Alex Rins at turn nine.
Sam Lowes was another rider eyeing a podium finish but a vibration with his Speed Up saw his pace deteriorate, dropping him to thirteenth. Takaaki Nakagami was among those to profit, finishing fourth, while Lorenzo Baldassarri backed up his maiden rostrum in Australia with a competitive fifth.
Luis Salom was sixth ahead of Sandro Cortese with home favourite Hafizh Syahrin recovering from a poor qualifying to finish eighth, seeing off Simone Corsi and Xavier Simeon.
MOTO2 SHELL MALAYSIA MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX: RACE RESULT
|1||5. Johann Zarco||Kalex||Ajo Motorsport||40:37.772|
|2||12. Thomas Luthi||Kalex||Derendinger Racing Interwetten||+0.598|
|3||94. Jonas Folger||Kalex||AGR Team||+9.846|
|4||30. Takaaki Nakagami||Kalex||IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia||+14.139|
|5||7. Lorenzo Baldassarri||Kalex||Forward Racing||+16.440|
|6||39. Luis Salom||Kalex||Paginas Amarillas HP 40||+22.294|
|7||11. Sandro Cortese||Kalex||Dynavolt Intact GP||+22.708|
|8||55. Hafizh Syahrin||Kalex||Petronas Raceline Malaysia||+26.685|
|9||3. Simone Corsi||Kalex||Forward Racing||+28.556|
|10||19. Xavier Simeon||Kalex||Federal Oil Gresini Moto2||+30.081|
|11||49. Axel Pons||Kalex||AGR Team||+30.873|
|12||36. Mika Kallio||Speed Up||QMMF Racing Team||+31.787|
|13||22. Sam Lowes||Speed Up||Speed Up Racing||+33.844|
|14||88. Ricard Cardus||Suter||JPmoto Malaysia||+33.886|
|15||21. Franco Morbidelli||Kalex||Italtrans Racing Team||+38.087|
|16||25. Azlan Shah||Kalex||IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia||+41.612|
|17||4. Randy Krummenacher||Kalex||JIR Moto2||+42.239|
|18||96. Louis Rossi||Tech 3||Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2||+44.576|
|19||70. Robin Mulhauser||Kalex||Technomag Racing Interwetten||+46.312|
|20||57. Edgar Pons||Kalex||Italtrans Racing Team||+49.357|
|21||2. Jesko Raffin||Kalex||sports-millions-EMWE-SAG||+56.476|
|22||97. Xavi Vierge||Tech 3||Tech 3||+1:17.119|
|23||16. Joshua Hook||Kalex||Technomag Racing Interwetten||+1:18.343|
|24||93. Ramdan Rosli||Kalex||Petronas AHM Malaysia||+1:18.534|
|25||60. Julian Simon||Speed Up||QMMF Racing Team||+1:20.599|
|26||66. Florian Alt||Suter||IodaRacing Team||+1:37.028|
|27||10. Thitipong Warokorn||Kalex||APH PTT The Pizza SAG||+1:51.965|
|NC||40. Alex Rins||Kalex||Paginas Amarillas HP 40||+10 Laps|
|NC||23. Marcel Schrotter||Tech 3||Tech 3||+11 Laps|
|NC||73. Alex Marquez||Kalex||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||+14 Laps|