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)
|1||21. Franco Morbidelli||Kalex||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||40:18.480||25|
|2||12. Thomas Luthi||Kalex||CarXpert Interwetten||+2.681||20|
|3||30. Takaaki Nakagami||Kalex||Idemitsu Honda Team Asia||+3.304||16|
|4||44. Miguel Oliveira||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+3.584||13|
|5||73. Alex Marquez||Kalex||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+11.226||11|
|6||10. Luca Marini||Kalex||Forward Team||+13.747||10|
|7||40. Fabio Quartararo||Kalex||Pons HP 40||+13.988||9|
|8||7. Lorenzo Baldassarri||Kalex||Forward Team||+17.465||8|
|9||97. Xavi Vierge||Tech 3||Tech 3 Racing||+17.477||7|
|10||49. Axel Pons||Kalex||RW Racing GP||+17.767||6|
|11||77. Dominique Aegerter||Suter||Kiefer Racing||+17.802||5|
|12||42. Francesco Bagnaia||Kalex||Sky Racing Team VR46||+18.090||4|
|13||52. Danny Kent||Suter||Kiefer Racing||+19.323||3|
|14||2. Jesko Raffin||Kalex||CarXpert Interwetten||+22.798||2|
|15||19. Xavier Simeon||Kalex||Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2||+24.009||1|
|16||23. Marcel Schrotter||Suter||Dynavolt Intact GP||+24.077|
|17||24. Simone Corsi||Speed Up||Speed Up Racing||+28.193|
|18||68. Yonny Hernandez||Kalex||AGR Team||+31.828|
|19||45. Tetsuta Nagashima||Kalex||Teluru SAG Team||+31.839|
|20||41. Brad Binder||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+34.046|
|21||32. Isaac Vinales||Kalex||BE-A-VIP SAG Team||+40.227|
|22||11. Sandro Cortese||Suter||Dynavolt Intact GP||+40.279|
|23||60. Julian Simon||Kalex||Garage Plus Interwetten||+40.446|
|24||54. Mattia Pasini||Kalex||Italtrans Racing Team||+42.501|
|25||88. Ricard Cardus||Speed Up||Speed Up Racing||+43.000|
|26||57. Edgar Pons||Kalex||Pons HP 40||+47.072|
|27||5. Andrea Locatelli||Kalex||Italtrans Racing Team||+47.486|
|28||89. Khairul Idham Pawi||Kalex||Idemitsu Honda Team Asia||+51.206|
|29||62. Stefano Manzi||Kalex||Sky Racing Team VR46||+1:02.080|
|NC||9. Jorge Navarro||Kalex||Federal Oil Gresini Moto2||+12 Laps|
|NC||55. Hafizh Syahrin||Kalex||Petronas Raceline Malaysia||+12 Laps|
|NC||8. Saeed Al Sulaiti||Speed Up||QMMF Racing||+15 Laps|
|NC||87. Remy Gardner||Tech 3||Tech 3 Racing||+20 Laps|
|NS||96. Nasser Al Malki||Speed Up||QMMF Racing|