Johann Zarco launched himself straight back into championship contention with a superb victory in the Catalunya Grand Prix. Racing under hugely difficult circumstances following the death of Luis Salom on Friday, the Moto2 riders coped admirably with Zarco producing a masterclass to see off the challenge of Alex Rins.
The tragic events of Friday practice had led to a revision of the circuit layout with the Formula 1 chicane now in place in the final sector. The slower configuration produced incident early on with Simone Corsi tripping over Lorenzo Baldassarri’s Forward Kalex after the younger Italian’s attempted overtaking move. The Speed Up rider was eliminated on the spot while Baldassarri rejoined at the tail of the field.
At the front, Rins held an early lead ahead of polesitter Zarco but the Frenchman appeared to be biding his time and so it proved. With seven laps remaining, the reigning champion made his sprint for the finish and after diving past the Paginas Amarillas rider, Johann was never troubled on his way to his second win in succession, a result he dedicated to his fallen colleague, Luis Salom.
The final podium position went to Team Asia’s Takaaki Nakagami although that result appeared unlikely early on, the Japanese rider falling to seventh on the second lap. His ascent up the order didn’t begin until lap ten when he overtook pre-race championship leader Sam Lowes for sixth before a blistering succession of laps culminated in a move on Thomas Luthi six laps from the finish, securing third spot.
Hafizh Syahrin continued his tremendous start to 2016 with fourth, overhauling Luthi late on, while Lowes toiled his away to sixth and handed over the championship lead to Rins. Jonas Folger salvaged seventh from a poor weekend while Miguel Oliveira took an excellent eighth ahead of Axel Pons and Marcel Schrotter.
Moto2 Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya (Race Result)
|1||5. Johann Zarco||Kalex||Ajo Motorsport||42:31.347||25|
|2||40. Alex Rins||Kalex||Paginas Amarillas HP 40||+4.180||20|
|3||30. Takaaki Nakagami||Kalex||Idemitsu Honda Team Asia||+9.313||16|
|4||55. Hafizh Syahrin||Kalex||Petronas Raceline Malaysia||+10.777||13|
|5||12. Thomas Luthi||Kalex||Garage Plus Interwetten||+10.961||11|
|6||22. Sam Lowes||Kalex||Federal Oil Gresini Moto2||+13.000||10|
|7||94. Jonas Folger||Kalex||Dynavolt Intact GP||+17.046||9|
|8||44. Miguel Oliveira||Kalex||Leopard Racing||+20.637||8|
|9||49. Axel Pons||Kalex||AGR Team||+20.646||7|
|10||23. Marcel Schrotter||Kalex||AGR Team||+23.163||6|
|11||21. Franco Morbidelli||Kalex||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+28.145||5|
|12||54. Mattia Pasini||Kalex||Italtrans Racing Team||+28.348||4|
|13||60. Julian Simon||Speed Up||QMMF Racing Team||+34.482||3|
|14||7. Lorenzo Baldassarri||Kalex||Forward Team||+37.567||2|
|15||87. Remy Gardner||Kalex||Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2||+42.998||1|
|16||32. Isaac Vinales||Tech 3||Tech 3 Racing||+44.632|
|17||57. Edgar Pons||Kalex||Paginas Amarillas HP 40||+48.536|
|18||73. Alex Marquez||Kalex||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+51.046|
|19||93. Ramdan Rosli||Kalex||Petronas AHM Malaysia||+1:22.466|
|20||97. Xavi Vierge||Tech 3||Tech 3 Racing||+1:25.462|
|21||70. Robin Mulhauser||Kalex||CarXpert Interwetten||+1 Lap|
|NC||14. Ratthapark Wilairot||Kalex||Idemitsu Honda Team Asia||+8 Laps|
|NC||77. Dominique Aegerter||Kalex||CarXpert Interwetten||+9 Laps|
|NC||10. Luca Marini||Kalex||Forward Team||+9 Laps|
|NC||52. Danny Kent||Kalex||Leopard Racing||+13 Laps|
|NC||11. Sandro Cortese||Kalex||Dynavolt Intact GP||+18 Laps|
|NC||24. Simone Corsi||Speed Up||Speed Up||+21 Laps|
|NC||19. Xavier Simeon||Speed Up||QMMF Racing Team||+22 Laps|