Franco Morbidelli finally broke his Moto2 victory duck in sensational style with a dominant win at Losail. The Italian was never truly threatened on his way to a comfortable victory with last season’s championship runner-up Thomas Luthi holding off Takaaki Nakagami for second.
After so many near-misses in the last two seasons, Morbidelli could have been forgiven for feeling nervous as he sat on pole position but the Marc VDS rider showed no signs of that, leaving team-mate Alex Marquez trailing off the start line as Luthi climbed to second. The Swiss rider even tried his luck with Morbidelli on lap two, briefly holding lead, but Franco soon repassed the Interwetten rider and promptly disappeared into the distance.
Meanwhile, Marquez was finding the pace out in front too hot to handle as he fell into the clutches of Nakagami, losing his grip on a podium spot on lap nine. Miguel Oliveira soon followed through into fourth on the KTM, relegating the former Moto3 champion to fifth at half distance, and the Spaniard was left with a lonely ride to the finish from there.
Morbidelli was untouchable though on the sister Marc VDS machine, winning by 2.6 seconds in the end from Luthi, while Nakagami denied KTM a podium finish on their Moto2 debut by fending off Oliveira, despite intense pressure in the latter stages.
Behind Marquez, Luca Marini finished a superb sixth, equalling his career best, after edging out the impressive Fabio Quartararo who took seventh on his intermediate class debut. Lorenzo Baldassarri was eighth ahead of last year’s star rookie Xavi Vierge on the Tech 3 Mistral while Axel Pons rounded out the top ten.
Moto2 Grand Prix of Qatar: Race Result (20 Laps)
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