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20 days ago
By motogp.com

Championship closes up as Moto2™ head for Silverstone

Zarco defends, Rins gains but breaks his collarbone in training…and Lowes returns home

Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) looked well on the way to matching Moto3™ title leader Brad Binder’s (Red Bull KTM Ajo) championship lead as the paddock headed towards the Czech Republic, but after a tough race in torrential conditions in Brno, it was key rivals Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) and Sam Lowes (Gresini Racing Moto2) who made the most gains at the front. Zarco had a tough warm up session, and the race was a long one as the Frenchman fought back up from outside the points to eventually cross the line P11 for a little damage limitation.

Rins, however, found his struggles in the dry in Brno disappear as the rain came down and the title contender surged through to the front as the lead bike on track of the three title rivals at the top of the table. Although winner Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) was uncatchable at the front, Rins had a calm and solid ride to come home behind the German – and stayed ahead of Sam Lowes throughout. Cutting the gap by a considerable chunk in the impressive showing, the Spaniard was ready to go on the offensive once more at Silverstone. However, a training accident on the Wednesday following the Czech GP left Rins with a broken collarbone and he will need to pass a medical examination ahead of the race as he hopes to return to the scene of both a Moto3™ victory and a rookie podium in Moto2™.

Sam Lowes (Gresini Racing Moto2) took an impressive podium in Brno to keep himself in the fight. After a difficult few races, the Brit came back with a bang in the Czech Republic and made a significant gain in points in the title fight. Since having spent time at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli testing the Aprilia MotoGP™ machine he will ride next year, Lowes will be fired up to take another step forward at Silverstone. Add to that the fact that the Brit will be racing at home, Lowes is sure to be a threat for a win or podium and a gain in the championship. Fellow home rider Danny Kent (Leopard Racing) will be hoping to follow his compatriot into the echelons of home success, too, after Kent recorded one of his best Moto2™ finishes to date in Brno.

It was Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) who had the most impressive Czech GP, however. With his first win in more than a year, the German moved back up above Garage Plus Interwetten rider Tom Luthi in the title standings. Luthi, who had shown good pace all weekend in Brno, was sadly unable to take part in the race on Sunday after a highside crash in qualifying saw him taken to hospital with concussion and subsequently kept in for observation. The Swiss veteran should be back on track at Silverstone however, pending medical permission to race. His compatriot, CarXpert Interwetten rider Dominique Aegerter, is another whose participation will depend on being declared fit after Aegerter suffered a crash in a motocross training session and has torn ligaments in his shoulder and a small fracture in his ribs.

The Czech GP was another good one for Alex Marquez, as the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider continues to get back on form. With the race pace in the dry to challenge at the front, the 2014 Moto3™ world champion was also impressive in the wet, taking a top 5 finish to go one better than his result in Austria. 2015 saw Marquez challenge for his first podiums in Brno and Silverstone, and the track is a favourite for the rider from Cervera – a good omen as he builds his confidence back up after a pre-season injury and difficult start to the year. Teammate Franco Morbidelli is sure to bounce back from a more anonymous race in Brno too, as the Italian looks to get back on the podium after his P2 in Austria.

The Moto2™ title fight is now the closest of the three, and after a classic race in 2015, the scene is most definitely set for the intermediate class to light Silverstone up with another nail-biting showdown.