Thomas Luthi claimed victory in a farcical Qatar Grand Prix which was overshadowed by a flurry of jump starts and confusion over penalties. The Swiss rider fought a race-long battle with Franco Morbidelli who was one of the riders to jump the start but with the Italian’s penalty only announced a lap before the finish, confusion reigned as the two swapped places on track.
The problems appeared to be triggered by an unusually long hold with the red lights kept on for over three seconds before being extinguished. Of the front six riders, only polesitter Jonas Folger remained still until the lights changed, with Sam Lowes, Alex Rins, Johann Zarco, Morbidelli and Sandro Cortese all appearing to move.
Strangely, only Rins, Lowes and Zarco were handed penalties among the leading pack with Morbidelli and Cortese appearing to escape sanction. As a result, Folger led from Luthi and Morbidelli with Cortese involved in a scrap with Simone Corsi for fourth spot. Any hope of back-to-back Qatar GP wins would disappear in heartbreaking fashion for Folger though who crashed out on lap three, surrendering an unchallenged lead.
Luthi and Morbidelli subsequently took over leadership of the race but with one lap to go, the fight for victory was ended in farcical circumstances with race direction handing the Marc VDS rider a 20 second penalty for his own jump start. Franco was unaware, and crossed the finish line just 0.047s behind Luthi, but in real-time he had been relegated to seventh.
With Cortese also taken out of play, his penalty dropping him to fifteenth, Corsi looked set for second but a fast-closing Luis Salom denied him on the last lap. The Speed Up man had to settle for third with Hafizh Syahrin fourth ahead of Dominique Aegerter and Moto3 champion Danny Kent. Morbidelli was classified seventh while Rins and Lowes recovered from their penalties to take eighth and ninth respectively.
Moto2 Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar (Race Result)
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