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Try as he might, Simone Corsi was unable to get past a perfect Alex Rins in France, while Luthi recoverd from issues for third.
Just after Qualifying it was announced Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Team) had had his best lap time cancelled due to a technical infringement. As such the Italian’s front row start became a seventh place start, promoting Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) to the front row. Clouds blotted out the sun but there was little chance of rain as riders in the Moto2™ World Championship revved their engines for the race start.
Pole setter Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) made a great start with Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) shooting into second from fifth. Championship leader Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) were shuffled back down the order in the opening corners.
As the field came through Turn 6 for the second time, Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) suffered his second race crash of the year. He was unhurt, but his championship hopes took a significant blow. Many had expected the German to do well with his future secure.
Luthi worked hard to break away from his pursuers but Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) was right with him and briefly grabbed the lead on lap five. Three Italians chased them, Corsi keeping his third place as Morbidelli and Baldassarri gave no quarter in the fight for fourth.
Rins and Luthi continued to swap positions, until lap seven when Luthi began to fade back. Corsi and Baldassarri were quickly past the Swiss rider as well. It was later revealed that Luthi’s shift light was not functioning properly, adding an extra level of challenge to the race. Lowes, like Luthi, was also unable to match the pace of the leaders as the Brit ran in a lonely seventh place for much of the race.
Corsi made sure Rins was unable to break away, working his Speed Up hard to stay with the Spaniard. Rarely was the gap ever over half a second, Corsi cutting the distance as the laps went by. Meanwhile Luthi began to recover after his brief dip in performance and pressured Baldassarri as they passed half race distance, Luthi moving back to third on lap 17.
It had already been a difficult race for reigning World Champion Zarco, his Sunday turning from damage limitation to disaster as he crashed at Turn 14 on lap 18. He remounted down in 24th, where he finished.
Luthi’s third place finish became a certainty as Baldassarri fell at Turn 3, getting back on his Kalex after the spill but outside the points.
Three laps from the end Rins was able to break Corsi, opening up a lead of almost a second as the penultimate lap began. Rins would cross the line 1.8 seconds ahead of the Italian for his second win of the season with Luthi securing third.
Franco Morbidelli managed an important fourth place ahead of Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) who put on a late challenge.
Sam Lowes, Axel Pons (AGR Team), Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia), Luis Salom (SAG Team) and Miguel Oliveira (Leopard Racing) rounded out the top ten.
With Lowes taking sixth, Alex Rins takes control of the Moto2™ World Championship with 87 points, five ahead of Lowes who slides back to second. Tom Luthi moves up to third in the standings thanks to his podium finish as Zarco goes to fourth with 56 points.
Julian Simon (QMMF Racing Team) slid off at Turn 6, like Folger. For the fourth time in five races, Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) failed to finish due to a crash at Turn 7.
Complete results from the Moto2™ race at the French GP are available here.
Moto2™ has a new championship leader after Lowes’ difficulties. The full championship standings can be viewed here.
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