Thomas Luthi launched himself into championship contention after winning a photo finish with Franco Morbidelli for victory in Australia. The Swiss rider secured back-to-back wins by one hundredth of a second and with Johann Zarco a disappointing twelfth and Alex Rins crashing out, Luthi is now just 22 points off the championship lead.
Having qualified on pole position, Luthi began the race as favourite and despite intense pressure throughout the race from Morbidelli and Mattia Pasini, the Interwetten rider showed supreme composure to lead the way. The front trio were chased down by a fast-finishing Sandro Cortese though and when the German deprived Pasini of third with four laps to go, the experienced Italian crashed at Honda hairpin in response.
Cortese ultimately ran out of laps in his pursuit of victory but Morbidelli looked to have timed his challenge to perfection, diving past Luthi at the Southern Loop on the penultimate lap, but the long-time leader would have one final trick up his sleeve, shadowing the Marc VDS Kalex through the final bend before slipstreaming his way to victory by 0.010s.
Cortese took a rare podium in third ahead of Lorenzo Baldassarri and Takaaki Nakagami while Jonas Folger finished sixth on the second Dynavolt Kalex. Simone Corsi was seventh with the AGR team-mates Axel Pons and Marcel Schrotter next up while Xavi Vierge rounded out the top ten.
For Rins, the afternoon ended on lap seven after skating wide at the Southern Loop and with his main rival out of contention, Zarco appeared to take a cautious approach which only yielded twelfth.
Moto2 Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix (Race Result)
|1||12. Thomas Luthi||Kalex||Garage Plus Interwetten||39:15.891||25|
|2||21. Franco Morbidelli||Kalex||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+0.010||20|
|3||11. Sandro Cortese||Kalex||Dynavolt Intact GP||+0.530||16|
|4||7. Lorenzo Baldassarri||Kalex||Forward Team||+3.081||13|
|5||30. Takaaki Nakagami||Kalex||Idemitsu Honda Team Asia||+3.815||11|
|6||94. Jonas Folger||Kalex||Dynavolt Intact GP||+11.087||10|
|7||24. Simone Corsi||Speed Up||Speed Up||+13.291||9|
|8||49. Axel Pons||Kalex||AGR Team||+16.411||8|
|9||23. Marcel Schrotter||Kalex||AGR Team||+17.650||7|
|10||97. Xavi Vierge||Tech 3||Tech 3 Racing||+17.665||6|
|11||19. Xavier Simeon||Speed Up||QMMF Racing Team||+17.762||5|
|12||5. Johann Zarco||Kalex||Ajo Motorsport||+17.796||4|
|13||2. Jesko Raffin||Kalex||sports-millions-EMWE-SAG||+31.575||3|
|14||57. Edgar Pons||Kalex||Paginas Amarillas HP 40||+34.670||2|
|15||14. Ratthapark Wilairot||Kalex||Idemitsu Honda Team Asia||+40.454||1|
|16||10. Luca Marini||Kalex||Forward Team||+47.707|
|17||70. Robin Mulhauser||Kalex||CarXpert Interwetten||+1:34.470|
|18||93. Ramdan Rosli||Kalex||Petronas AHM Malaysia||+1 Lap|
|NC||20. Alessandro Nocco||Kalex||Leopard Racing||+2 Laps|
|NC||54. Mattia Pasini||Kalex||Italtrans Racing Team||+3 Laps|
|NC||52. Danny Kent||Kalex||Leopard Racing||+3 Laps|
|NC||87. Remy Gardner||Kalex||Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2||+3 Laps|
|NC||60. Julian Simon||Speed Up||QMMF Racing Team||+12 Laps|
|NC||27. Iker Lecuona||Kalex||CarXpert Interwetten||+16 Laps|
|NC||40. Alex Rins||Kalex||Paginas Amarillas HP 40||+16 Laps|
|NC||22. Sam Lowes||Kalex||Federal Oil Gresini Moto2||+19 Laps|
|NC||55. Hafizh Syahrin||Kalex||Petronas Raceline Malaysia||+23 Laps|
|NC||73. Alex Marquez||Kalex||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+25 Laps|
|NC||32. Isaac Vinales||Tech 3||Tech 3 Racing||+25 Laps|