Zarco Cruises to Red Bull Ring Victory

Johann Zarco tightened his grip on the 2016 Moto2 championship race with victory in the Austrian Grand Prix, his fourth in five races. The Frenchman eased away from early leader Franco Morbidelli in the closing stages and although Alex Rins salvaged third on the final lap, Zarco now leads the Spaniard by 34 points.

Zarco had claimed a comfortable pole position on Saturday but his route to victory was made slightly tougher by a poor start which dropped him to fifth behind Morbidelli, Marcel Schrotter, Thomas Luthi and Alex Marquez. The 2014 Moto3 champion was quickly shuffled back to fifth but the reigning Moto2 champion didn’t make any further progress until lap eleven when he deprived Luthi of third.

Up ahead, Morbidelli and Schrotter were enjoying an entertaining scrap for the lead but the German’s unlikely challenge faded on lap fourteen when Zarco dived through at turn four. Morbidelli had managed to edge a second ahead while the battle raged behind him but the Ajo rider was ruthless, closing back in at half-a-second per lap and scything past on lap seventeen.

Luthi had followed Zarco past Schrotter and with seven laps to go, snatched second from Morbidelli but the battle for the two remaining rostrum spots would go down to the final lap. Under braking for the penultimate corner, Morbidelli dived back through and with both riders slowed by the squabbling, a fast-finishing Rins took advantage to deprive the Swiss rider of third.

Schrotter stayed in touch to finish fifth ahead of Marquez while Takaaki Nakagami won the battle in the chase group to finish seventh ahead of Lorenzo Baldassarri and Axel Pons. Sam Lowes would have been in the thick of that action but a crash on lap four took him out of contention, not just in the race, but possibly the championship too.

Moto2 NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Osterreich (Race Result)

15. Johann ZarcoKalexAjo Motorsport37:34.18025
221. Franco MorbidelliKalexEG 0,0 Marc VDS+3.05820
340. Alex RinsKalexPaginas Amarillas HP 40+3.37616
412. Thomas LuthiKalexGarage Plus Interwetten+3.46713
523. Marcel SchrotterKalexAGR Team+4.74011
673. Alex MarquezKalexEG 0,0 Marc VDS+9.41610
730. Takaaki NakagamiKalexIdemitsu Honda Team Asia+10.1789
87. Lorenzo BaldassarriKalexForward Team+11.9518
949. Axel PonsKalexAGR Team+12.8017
1077. Dominique AegerterKalexCarXpert Interwetten+13.9776
1111. Sandro CorteseKalexDynavolt Intact GP+18.0465
1252. Danny KentKalexLeopard Racing+18.2844
1354. Mattia PasiniKalexItaltrans Racing Team+18.4243
1444. Miguel OliveiraKalexLeopard Racing+18.8302
1560. Julian SimonSpeed UpQMMF Racing Team+20.0221
1697. Xavi ViergeTech 3Tech 3 Racing+28.885
1710. Luca MariniKalexForward Team+28.970
1832. Isaac VinalesTech 3Tech 3 Racing+29.032
1987. Remy GardnerKalexTasca Racing Scuderia Moto2+29.115
2057. Edgar PonsKalexPaginas Amarillas HP 40+29.424
2155. Hafizh SyahrinKalexPetronas Raceline Malaysia+29.977
2214. Ratthapark WilairotKalexIdemitsu Honda Team Asia+37.935
2319. Xavier SimeonSpeed UpQMMF Racing Team+43.276
242. Jesko RaffinKalexsports-millions-EMWE-SAG+44.206
2570. Robin MulhauserKalexCarXpert Interwetten+48.835
2694. Jonas FolgerKalexDynavolt Intact GP+1:12.148
NC24. Simone CorsiSpeed UpSpeed Up+13 Laps
NC22. Sam LowesKalexFederal Oil Gresini Moto2+16 Laps