Standing on the top step of the podium was a feeling that couldn’t have felt further away for Tom Lüthi during his year in the MotoGP™ wilderness. The Dynavolt Intact GP rider went from standing on the podium at least four times in a season for an incredible eight consecutive years to then fail to score a point in the 2018 World Championship. But now, the Swiss supremo is back.
There was an outpouring of emotion from Lüthi as he took the chequered flag in Austin, admitting he “started screaming in his helmet” after securing a Moto2™ victory for the first time since September 2017 at Misano. “An amazing feeling” was how he went on to describe his COTA success; and you can understand why.
Lüthi made history in Austin, as for the first time in the Moto2™ era we witnessed a rider, having moved from the Moto2™ class to complete a full season in the premier class, become victorious on their return to the intermediate class.
Mattia Pasini came closest to achieving this feat but his foray in the MotoGP™ World Championship was cut short after the Speed Master CRT outfit replaced the Italian with Roberto Rolfo for the final four rounds of the 2012 season.
Lüthi’s American acheivements are put into context when you see that Pasini took over five years to readapt to the Moto2™ machine before securing victory, whilst it has taken Lüthi just two Grands Prix before he reasserted his dominance in the class.
Other riders to have taken victories throughout Moto2™’s nine-year history having previously enjoyed a period as a MotoGP™ rider include Toni Elias, who, of course, became the inaugural World Champion in 2010.
Also, Finland’s Mika Kallio and San Marino’s Alex De Angelis both reignited their careers in Moto2™ with victories after making the move from the premier class. Or to look further back, Jeremy McWilliams won the 2001 250cc Dutch TT, following a year in the 500cc World Championship where he picked up two podium finishes.
Lüthi may well be joined in this newly found club before the season comes to a close, with Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Sam Lowes knocking on the door. The Brit has already finished inside the top five after a year onboard the Aprilia Racing Team machine but is yet to add to his three victories in the Moto2™ class since his return.
There’s no arguing that the Swiss rider likes a Moto2™ bike. After stepping on to the podium twice in the opening three rounds of the season, a further two top three finishes would see him extend his run of securing at least four podiums in a Moto2™ season to a superlative nine consecutive years.