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Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) put in an outstanding Texas ride to take Moto2™ victory at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, the Swiss rider leading a Dynavolt Intact GP 1-2 as Marcel Schrötter crossed the line second as Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) completed the podium.
There was drama right from the off and it was disaster for home hero Joe Roberts (American Racing KTM). The American and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Beta Tools Speed Up) got tangled together heading up the hill into Turn 1, the pair then slamming into the helpless Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) as the trio crashed out in a scary looking incident. Thankfully all riders were ok and, in the meantime, Schrötter had got the perfect launch from pole but ran it wide into Turn 1, allowing Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and teammate Lüthi to slip through.
The Lap 1 drama wasn’t done there though. Double race winner and Championship leader Lorenzo Baldassarri (FlexBox HP 40) wouldn’t make it past Turn 10 after hitting the back of Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo), the reigning Moto3™ World Champion getting out of shape on the exit of Turn 9 with Baldassarri unable to avoid contact.
With the Championship leader out, it was a great opportunity for the likes of Marquez, Lüthi and Schrötter to reel in some points on the Italian – and it was this exact trio who took a stranglehold on the race, with Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Navarro just over two seconds back in fourth and fifth.
Lüthi and Marquez were nibbling at each other for several laps before the Swiss rider made a move stick at Turn 11 on Lap 8, this coming half a lap after the leaders made slight contact at Turn 1. Lüthi then put the hammer down and a lap later his lead over Marquez was stretched out to a full second, his teammate Schrötter 1.7 back. The men in second and third then came into contact on Lap 11 on the exit of Turn 11, both lucky to stay on, with Schrötter eventually getting the better of Marquez by the end of the lap. But the gap to Lüthi now sat at over two seconds, with fourth place Navarro now just 1.3 off Marquez.
With six laps remaining, Lüthi’s lead was up to 2.5 seconds over his teammate, with the German rider and Marquez slipping back into the clutches of the hard-charging Speed Up machine of Navarro – the battle for second really hotting up, with Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) less than a second back from the trio in fifth.
Marquez then started to suffer, seemingly with tyre issues, which allowed Navarro to eventually move up to third with himself, Marquez and Marini all locking horns. However, replacement rider Mattia Pasini (FlexBox HP 40) – an impressive performer throughout the weekend – was closing in on the podium scrap, and the Italian would get the better of both Marquez and Marini with two laps to go.
Meanwhile, Lüthi would cruise around the last lap to earn his first Grand Prix win since the 2017 San Marino GP in stunning style, with Schrötter making it a Dynavolt Intact GP 1-2 finish in Texas. Navarro held on for his maiden Moto2™ podium – his first since Aragon 2016 in the Moto3™ class – with Pasini producing a phenomenal effort to come home fourth on his first ride with a Triumph Moto2™ engine. Marquez held on for fifth, with Marini fending off Lowes on the last lap as the Kalex duo took the chequered flag in P6 and P7 respectively.
Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) wasn’t far off that particular scrap in P8, a great top ten finish for the veteran Italian, with compatriot Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) taking top rookie honours in P9 – his third consecutive ninth place finish. Fellow Italtrans Racing Team rider Andrea Locatelli completed the top ten, he led Argentina GP rostrum finisher Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) in P11 as his teammate Tetsuta Nagashima, Bo Bendsneyder (NTS RW Racing GP), Dominique Aegerter (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward) and Martin completed the points – Aegerter picking up MV’s first points on their return to GP racing.
Brad Binder’s (Red Bull KTM Ajo) title aspirations took a dent after the South African pulled in at the end of Lap 2 with a clutch problem. Marco Bezzecchi (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) crashed out of Turn 1 while on course for his first Moto2™ points, with Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) crashed late on at Turn 12.
After a Moto2™ Texas rodeo, Baldassarri’s rivals have closed the gap the Championship. The Italian’s lead is now just three points over Schrötter, with Lüthi a further two behind his teammate. We now head to Jerez to start our 2019 European tour, what’s in store in southern Spain for the intermediate class?
1. Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP)
2. Marcel Schrötter. (Dynavolt Intact GP) + 2.532
3. Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) + 3.836
4. Mattia Pasini (Flexbox HP40) + 4.757
5. Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) + 7.741
6. Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 8.031
7. Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) + 8.282
8. Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) + 8.953
9. Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) + 10.706
10. Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) + 16.868
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