3 years ago
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A fourth career victory at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France sees Thomas Luthi move to second in the championship.
Alex Rins started from pole for the first time in his Moto2™ career but made a poor start, dropping down to ninth off the line. It was home hero Johann Zarco who led in the early stages of the race, initially looking as though he could escape at the front but eventually Luthi caught and passed the Frenchman. From lap five onwards Luthi went unopposed in the lead, taking a comfortable win of over one and a half seconds, his second in the Moto2™ class. “In the beginning I felt good and the bike worked well straight away. I felt like I had a little stronger pace than Johann but he was very strong on the brakes. It was a long race for us but we’ve made a good start and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season,” he said.
The Marc VDS team hardly saw Tito Rabat during Friday and Saturday practice as the Spaniard put in long 27 lap runs in the majority of sessions. What was most impressive about this was the pace Rabat was able to maintain even on worn tyres, frequently putting in his fastest lap of the session towards the end of a race simulation run. Rabat’s race did not get off to an ideal start however, as once again he had trouble on the opening laps as he was pushed wide while battling for positions. The reigning Moto2™ champion responded quickly and settled into a solid rhythm, lapping between 1’37.8 and 1’37.6 for the majority of the race.
This steady flow of high 1’37s saw Rabat close down Luthi in the final stages, but his battle with Zarco had him too far behind to catch the Swiss rider. Rabat sits sixth in the standings, 36 points behind Zarco. “I made a normal start but at the beginning I had to wait behind Zarco. When his tyres went down I was faster and I was better through T1. Congratulations to Luthi for his win. I’m happy because we’re back on track and on the correct lines,” said a pleased Rabat.
With the Championship lead to consider, Zarco did not take any extra risks in his home race and settled into third after his attempt to break away early. “The target was the victory, I had a good start and I took the chance to lead and try to run away. Luthi and Tito were both strong, Tito especially at the end. I don’t think I used too much tyre, Rabat was just more comfortable and carried more corner speed. I didn’t want to crash so I settled for third and the podium. I’m still leading the championship, so perfect!”. Zarco now has a 21 point lead over Luthi, with Folger dropping to third having failed to finish the French GP.
While the podium positions were settled, other spots inside the top ten certainly weren’t. Sam Lowes was safe in fourth, lamenting his tyre gamble as he was just 0.3s from a podium finish at the end of the race. The British rider continues to be the only Speed Up frame amongst the group of Kalex bikes in the top ten of the Moto2™ standings.
Franco Morbidelli once again finished in fifth, his fourth fifth of the season so far. Both Alex Rins and Luis Salom fell while battling with the aggressive Italian, Salom and his bike rolling over Morbidelli as the pair came into contact. It was a difficult weekend for the Paginas Armarillas HP 40 team after Rins’ pole with both their riders crashing. Rins eventually remounted to finish 17th.
There was also disappointment for Alex Marquez who crashed along with Louis Rossi. The move up to Moto2™ has been difficult for the younger Marquez, having had a high number of crashes in testing and practice sessions. Despite struggles early in the weekend this is the first race in which Marquez has failed to score points. Mika Kallio was another faller. All riders were uninjured.
3 years ago