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The colour of the 2017 Championship changed dramatically over the course of 6 laps at Brno: the shortened sprint was won n spectacular style by Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten), who blasted back into close contention with a 25 point haul - as Championship leader Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) crossed the line in eighth. Now only half what it was, the gap is 17 points as we head into the second half of the season proper - where Lüthi is known for gaining good traction.
Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) was another who gained in the Czech GP. Similarly bolting away from the pack at Brno, the Jerez and Catalunya winner took a valuable second place - and still wasn't quite at full power following his crash in the German GP. Now equal on points with Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) behind Lüthi, their threat can't be counted out.
There's only one previous event at the track to compare form and much is different this season, but it makes for good reading for the top three: Morbidelli was second, Lüthi fourth and Marquez sixth. Oliveira, even as a rookie, scored points. So it should be a good battle.
Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing) took a best ever result last time and will be ready to fight – as will American Joe Roberts (AGR Team) after taking an incredible top ten result first time out. Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing), whose Czech GP was ended early and peppered with bad luck, will be fired up, and Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) wants to make amends after crashing out of his 200th GP start. Moto2™ is a deep field, and they’ll all be fired up waiting to attack the Austrian GP.
It’s 10:55 (GMT +2) on Friday for FP1, and 12:20 on Sunday for the race.