Luthi cruises to victory in action-packed Moto2 race at COTA

by Joshua Close
Thomas Luthi wins Moto2 at COTA

Thomas Luthi secured his first race win since 2017 after cruising to victory in the Moto2 race at the Circuit of the Americas.

Luthi battled his way through into the lead at the halfway stage of the race and instantly pulled away from the competition, finishing the race with a +2.532s lead over the field.

Marcel Schrotter, who started from pole, crossed the line in second to make it a truly special day for the Dynavolt Intact GP team. They were joined on the podium by Jorge Navarro, who celebrates his best-ever finish in the Moto2 class.

On his return to the championship (replacing the injured Augusto Fernandez), Mattia Pasini took an impressive fourth position after getting the better of Alex Marquez (fifth) and Luca Marini (sixth).

Sam Lowes never really recovered from a poor start and had to settle for seventh place, despite qualifying on the front-row. Simone Corsi (eighth), Enea Bastianini (ninth) and Andrea Locatelli completed the top 10.

It was a disastrous day for the championship leader, Lorenzo Baldassarri as he crashed out of proceedings on the opening lap. The only American taking part, Joe Roberts, also crashed out of the race on lap one.

Schrotter made the perfect getaway as the lights went out, however there was chaos behind him. Lowes made a poor start and was swamped by the riders around him, with the Brit also tapping the back of Pasini.

There was a huge crash coming up the hill into turn one, with Roberts, Fabio Di Giannantonio and Xavi Vierge all coming together.

More drama would follow on the opening lap, with Baldassarri crashing out of the race coming over the hill at turn nine. The winner of the first two races of the season clipped the back of Jorge Martin, after he was unable to react quickly enough after the latter was momentarily thrown out of his seat.

Back on the circuit, Marquez found a way past Schrotter and took the lead of the race. Luthi had also moved up into second, with Lowes fighting his way back into fourth.

Luthi made his first overtake on Marquez on lap three, but the Spaniard fought back immediately. The duo would swap places throughout the lap in a fantastic battle.

Behind them, Brad Binder’s race came to a premature end as he pulled off the circuit with a mechanical issue.

The front three began to pull away from the rest of the field, with Luthi attempting a move on Marquez down the inside of turn one. Marquez would go for the cutback and the pair clashed heading down the hill into the second turn. Luthi went back down the inside at turn three, however Marquez responded once more. Luthi eventually made a move stick at the end of the long straight, into turn 12.

As soon as he was released into clear air, Luthi began to open up a comfortable lead at the front. In fact, he opened up a lead of over a second after one lap.

Schrotter and Marquez would also come together on lap 10, clashing on the exit of turn 12 after the former had gone down the inside for second.

At the same corner, Navarro took fourth place away from Lowes and set his sights on the podium. Further down the field, Marco Bezzecchi crashed out of the race at turn one. Iker Lecuona also crashed out a couple of laps later, in an accident not too dissimilar to the crash which ruled Jake Dixon out of the weekend.

Navarro made his move on Marquez with four laps remaining, coming into turn 11. Marquez would get the cutback coming onto the back straight, before Navarro fought back at turn 12. He would, however, go wide and allow not only Marquez, but also Marini through. A similar mistake by Marini at the final corner allowed Navarro back through into fourth.

The trio continued their battle on the following lap, with all three riders going almost side-by-side on the straight down into turn 12. It was Navarro who came out in front, followed by Marquez and Marini.

Another mistake by Marquez allowed Pasini through into fourth, with Marini also getting ahead of the Spaniard. Marini would go wide on the penultimate lap, and Marquez took full advantage.

On the final lap, Lowes joined the battle for fifth but was unable to move up the order. A last corner dive down the inside of Marini led to Lowes going off the circuit, with the Brit having to settle for seventh place.

Back at the front, Luthi crossed the line with a comfortable lead of +2.532s over his teammate, Schrotter. It’s Luthi’s first race win since Misano in 2017.

The result means that Schrotter is now only three points behind Baldassarri in the championship standings. Luthi move up to third in the championship, a further two points behind.

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