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Tom Luthi secures victory at the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar as Moto2™ field is hit with penalties.
The 2016 Moto2™ World Championship got off to a dramatic start as a total of eight riders were penalised for jumping the race start. Tom Luthi was not one of these riders and battled for the lead unaware of what was happening around him. After starting the race well, Luthi was handed the race lead after Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) crashed out of a comfortable lead but Luthi was not alone. Italian Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) was right behind the Swiss rider and pushed him at every opportunity. Neither rider knew at the time, but Morbidelli would be handed a 20 second post-race penalty, Luthi was able to out drag the Italian and take outright victory but battling with Morbidelli did increase the risks of a potential crash during the race.
It was a difficult situation, but Luthi remains pleased with how he raced and is ecstatic to start the season with victory. This is the third successive Qatar GP podium finish for the Garage Plus Interwetten rider, having taken third in both 2015 and 2014. With many of the championship favourites such as Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport), Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) suffering ride through penalties and scoring minimal points as a result, Luthi’s start to the season appears even stronger as all his rivals will be playing catch up.
Tom Luthi: “I didn’t know, I just heard now in Parc Ferme about the situation but for me nothing changed. I still won the race, with or without his penalty, so for me it doesn’t matter. All that changes is that during the race there was more risk, maybe I could have taken it easier if I knew it before so that’s not that nice you know. But anyway, I did it and I’m so so happy. Towards the end of the race I wasn’t sure because Franco continued to push quite hard again but I stayed behind him and watched where I could go. Then I attacked again so it’s really really cool. Thanks to my team, they did a brilliant job after struggling in Qualifying yesterday. Now we’re top!”
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