As the Moto2 World Championship grid rolls into Brno, EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli has a thirty seven point advantage over main rival Thomas Luthi (CarXpert Interwetten). All Morbidelli has to do now is keep calm and continue his top form, but as we head into the second half of the season can he hold his nerve?
Luthi is a Moto2 veteran, but he always seems to be the bridesmaid and never the bride. Last year, he was the only man who could come close to stopping Johann Zarco taking his second title, but it wasn’t meant to be. Luthi didn’t race in last year’s Czech GP after a crash during free practice ruled him out. He’ll be bouncing back stronger than ever after the summer break, ready to hunt down Morbidelli and edge the gap in the overall standings.
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) currently sits in third overall, and is showing serious promise. He has challenged the leaders on numerous occasions and has risen to the challenge with a team he is comfortable with. Last year, he took a top ten finish as a rookie, so a top five result with his experience should be no problem for the Portuguese rider.
Morbidelli’s team mate Alex Marquez is going into Brno telling a very different story. He had an incredibly shaky start to the season, and after a crash which saw him fracture vertebrae in his back last time out at the Sachsenring, he is looking to be passed as fit to race in Brno. The former Moto3 World Champion likes this track and has finished well here in the past, something he’ll be keen to do again at the weekend to bridge the gap in the overall standings between him and Oliveira.
Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) has been many people’s stand-out Moto2 rider – mine included. As a rookie to the class, he has continued to shine and is now fifth in the overall standings, thirty five points behind Marquez. Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) is a 250cc podium finisher at the circuit and certainly one to watch out for. Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) cannot be ruled out here either. He’s taken pole position and a podium in Brno in the past and he’s fresh from the Suzuka 8 Hour, where he will have learned a lot that he is ready to put into practice.
An unfamiliar face will be on the grid this weekend in the form of American Joe Roberts, who is replacing Yonny Hernandez at the AGR Team after they announced their split.
There will be a real battle between Morbidelli and Luthi for the Championship, and it all begins in the second half of the season in Brno on Friday.