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A inch perfect race in Jerez saw Sam Lowes back up his championship lead with his first win of 2016.
Domination is the word best used to describe Sam Lowes’ (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) race in Spain. Once at the head of the field he hammered out a brutal race pace to break the likes of Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40). Celebrating his second career victory didn’t last long for Lowes who immediately began to focus on the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France. With momentum on his side, Lowes is looking to add to his 72 championship points and extend his ten-point advantage.
It won’t be an easy round for Lowes with Le Mans specialists such as Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten). The French GP is by far Luthi’s most successful event having won it on four occasions, including the 2012 and 2015 Moto2™ World Championship races. Already Luthi has shown his potential as a race winner in 2016 and has followed it up with three top ten finishes. While he hasn’t been challenging for the podium in every round, Luthi’s consistency could see him easily sneak into the title battle especially with a fifth French GP victory. Currently fourth in the standings with 53 points, Luthi is still a threat.
Having spent the majority of the race in Jerez pushing to the limit to stay with Lowes, Folger once again proved that he can battle with the best riders in the class. Since moving to the Moto2™ class, Folger has had a best finish of sixth in Le Mans but the circuit holds a special place in his heart as the site of his first Grand Prix podium back in 2009 when he finished second in the 125cc race. The German is still trying to recover from his DNF in Qatar, three top ten finishes since still have him down in fifth place with 47 points.
Currently Lowes’ closest title rival, Alex Rins has had a steady start to his 2016 campaign, four top ten finishes highlighted by his Austin win. In Jerez Rins never appeared capable of matching Lowes’ speed but took a safe third place regardless. Some may feel the Paginas Amarillas HP 40 rider’s start to the season has been lacklustre, but with 62 points after four rounds he is well ahead of where he was at this point in 2015, when he had 49 points. During his time in the Moto3™ class Rins never once finished off the podium in Le Mans and took his debut top three finish there in 2012.
After two podiums in the first three races, Johann Zarco’s (Ajo Motorsport) title defence looked to be off to an almost perfect start but his efforts hit a speed bump in Jerez. Usually ice cold and calm, Zarco was visibly frustrated at several points during the course of the weekend, qualifying down in 15th and salvaging fifth. 2015 saw Zarco take his first, and so far only, podium finish at home, the French rider ready to return to the podium after the trying time in Jerez. 16 points back on Lowes, his chances of becoming the first ever-double Moto2™ Championship are still very much alive.
While Zarco may be the only French rider on the grid, the Tech 3 Racing team are also looking forward to racing at home. Both Xavi Vierge and Isaac Viñales have scored points once each, Vierge with 14th in Argentina and Viñales with a solid 13th place in Jerez. It’s not easy for a small team like tech 3 to go up against the might of Kalex, but they continue to work at it.
The Monster Energy Grand Prix de France starts on the 6th of May with Moto2™ heading out for Free Practice 1 at 10:55 Local Time.
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