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Lowes leads as top four split by four points

Lowes leads as top four split by four points

After three rounds, four riders have emerged as title favourites in the Moto2™ World Championship.

As ever the Moto2™ class produced thrilling racing in the first three rounds of the season. Thomas Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten), Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) and Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) have all taken victory and shown themselves as championship contenders. The paddock now heads to Jerez, a classic European circuit which is almost a world away from the likes of the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit and the Circuit of the Americas. With the first official test of the year having taken place there, riders will already have a basic setup ready which should see the field more competitive than ever.

Luthi was the first winner of the year, holding off Franco Morbidelli’s (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) assault in Qatar. Since his win he has not managed to finish above seventh place, the Swiss rider often coming strong towards the end of a season. In Austin he was involved in the heated battle for third and showed he certainly has the aggression to fight for the podium. Jerez is a circuit in which he has never won in any class, taking two top ten finishes in his last two visits but unable to recreate his run of three podiums at the track between 2010 and 2012. Luthi is fourth in the title hunt with 43 points.

Whilst Luthi had a strong start and has faded somewhat since, the opposite is true for Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) who seems to be getting quicker with each round. The Brit took consecutive second place finishes in Argentina and Austin and subsequently moved to the top of the championship table thanks to his consistency, collecting 47 points.  In all three races Lowes has shown the pace needed to win races, but has been unable to close down the gap once the race leader broke away. Expect him to be stronger than ever in Jerez, he and the Gresini team having done multiple tests at the circuit during the winter. Lowes has also wowed fans with his sideways style; his entry into Dry Sac corner will no doubt be as spectacular as ever.

Only a single point behind Lowes is Alex Rins, the Spaniard finding his form once more in Austin after a somewhat slow start to the year. Rins is yet to score a point in Jerez while racing in the Moto2™ class and has only once finished on the podium, when he was third in the 2014 Moto3™ race. Not only will Rins be racing in Jerez, but his CEV Moto3™ team will also be competing on the world stage with two riders.

A point back on Rins and two from Lowes, Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) has gotten his title defence off to the best start of any defending champion in the class. At this same stage in 2015, Tito Rabat had just 17 points whereas Zarco sits third with 45 points. After his perfectly managed victory in Argentina, the Frenchman was unable to match the speed of Lowes and Rins in Austin but left pleased to have scored a podium nevertheless. Zarco’s best intermediate class finish at Jerez is a second place in 2015.

2015’s Jerez GP winner, Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) will be out to repeat his performance in 2016. After an unforced error in Qatar saw him crash out of a sizeable lead, the German bounced back to take third in Argentina before once again battling for the podium in Austin. Currently a dark horse for the title, victory in the Gran Premio Red Bull de España would certainly raise his profile in the eyes of many.

Another rider to watch will be Axel Pons (AGR Team) who topped pre-season testing in Jerez with an incredible 1’41.730 lap. The official Jerez Best Lap is a 1’42.706 set by Stefan Bradl in 2011. All of the top 11 in testing were under Bradl's time.

Round four of the championship will also see the first Moto2™ wildcard of the year as Federico Fuligni makes his fourth World Championship appearance. He will mount the Kalex of Team Ciatti, the same team in which he competes in the FIM CEV Repsol Moto2™ European Championship with. The Italian carries a lot of momentum into the weekened having achieved his first CEV podium finish the weekend before.

Free Practice 1 begins at 10:55 Local Time on Friday the 22nd of April for the intermediate class.

Tags:
Moto2, 2016, GRAN PREMIO RED BULL DE ESPAÑA

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