Johann Zarco has taken a stranglehold on the 2016 Moto2 championship race after winning the German Grand Prix, beating Jonas Folger in a last corner battle. The defending champion resisted a final-lap challenge from his future MotoGP teammate to win his third race out of four while both of his title rivals, Alex Rins and Sam Lowes, crashed out in the torrential conditions.
After his maiden victory three weeks ago, Takaaki Nakagami started the race as favourite and the polesitter established an early lead over Rins and Zarco but the Honda Team Asia rider pushed too hard at turn two on lap seven, losing the front end of his Kalex and sliding off the track. He wasn’t alone in that respect though with Marcel Schrotter and Simone Corsi also crashing in consecutive laps.
In Nakagami’s absence, Rins and Zarco were joined in the leading group by Folger and the two Estrella Galicia Marc VDS duo, Franco Morbidelli and Alex Marquez. The 2013 Moto3 champion was enjoying his best race of the season until he joined the list of crashes on lap sixteen but his team did have something to cheer, with Morbidelli hitting the front moments later.
For the Italian, a potential first win would fall away in heartbreaking circumstances with a crash at turn one just seven laps from the finish. Zarco thus inherited the lead from Folger and Rins but a spectacular tumble for the Spaniard reduced the leading group to two with three to go. With no threat from behind, Folger went on the attack and charged up the inside of Zarco into the very last bend. The home favourite fell narrowly short though with Johann outdragging him on the exit of the corner, securing victory by 0.059s.
The high attrition rate saw Julian Simon promoted onto the rostrum for the first time since Valencia 2012 with Mattia Pasini taking fourth, his best result for seven years. Lorenzo Baldassarri, who dislocated his shoulder in a morning warm-up crash, rode heroically to finish fifth ahead of teammate Luca Marini while Hafizh Syahrin, so often a star in wet conditions, was seventh in the end. Swiss youngster Jesko Raffin was a career-high of eighth ahead of Tech 3’s Isaac Vinales while Dominique Aegerter rounded out the top ten.
Nakagami remounted after his early tumble and was rewarded with five points for eleventh. Sam Lowes looked set to score points himself despite falling at turn six but a second crash in the closing laps left him empty handed.
Moto2 GoPro Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland (Race Result)
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