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6 days ago
By motogp.com

New circuit presents new challenges for Moto2™

Summer is over and it’s time to face a new challenge at the Red Bull Ring – Spielberg.

The German GP seems almost a lifetime ago for the Moto2™ World Championship who have had over three weeks away from Grand Prix racing. That’s not to say the riders have been doing nothing during the break, everyone on the grid has kept in top physical condition and some, such as Dominique Aegerter (CarXpert Interwetten), were out competing in the Suzuka 8-Hour.

With just ten corners, the Austrian circuit is deceivingly simple. As a new circuit you can expect a number of new names towards the top, some riders learning new circuits easier than others and some teams quicker than the rest to find the ideal settings. Most riders on the grid had a chance to run at the circuit during a private test, but a race weekend presents a very different level of pressure.

Now it’s time to get back to the task at hand, for Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) the weekend presents a great possibility to extend his championship lead yet again. The French rider took a decisive win in Germany and arrives in Austria with a comfortable 25-point cushion over his rivals. There’s no past form to rely on at the Red Bull Ring, Zarco looking to attack from the off.

Chasing Zarco is Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) who had been matched on points until Germany. The Spaniard fell while on track for a podium, lucky to escape injury in the fall but needs to start consistently finishing on the podium to catch Zarco. Both of them will more to the premier class in 2017, so this isn't the last Zarco-Rins battle we're likely to see.

Like Rins, Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) arrives in Austria looking to get his championship challenge back on track. The Brit got a chance to sample the Aprilia RS-GP during the MotoGP™ track so certainly knows the circuit. He’s 30 points off the championship lead, but you can guarantee he’ll fight right till the end.

Behind the leading trio there are a number of names including Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten), Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) who have shown the speed and ability to fight for the win. The battles are only going to get harder from the Austrian GP onwards, riders and teams looking to sort out and finalise contracts for 2017. What better way to prove you deserve to keep your seat than winning the first Austrian GP?

The Moto2™ riders will get their first official taste of the Red Bull Ring – Spielberg when they head out for Free Practice 1 at 10:55 Local Time on Friday.

Catch up with what happened all those weeks ago in Germany!

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Highlights: Zarco cashes in as rivals crash out

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