Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) took another impressive win under intense pressure at the Sachsenring: first hunted by key title rival Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) and then by a charging Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo). The Italian kept it calm and carried on, besting Oliveira to the line with rookie Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) completing the podium behind the duel for the win.
Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) took the holeshot from P2 on the grid, muscling out teammate Morbidelli into Turn 1 and leading the field on Lap 1. A big winner off the line was Lüthi, and the Swiss rider put in a storming first lap to take the lead into the first corner next time around. Morbidelli struck back against his teammate next, with Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) hanging on to the lead trio.
A crash for Hector Garzo (Tech 3 Racing) was then followed by another for Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) at the same corner, before drama hit the front as Marquez hit the gravel, leaving Lüthi and Morbidelli clear in a duel for the lead.
Miguel Oliveira was next on the move as he began to hone in on Cortese, breaking free of the battle behind between Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing), Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) and Francesco Bagnaia to pass the German and take over in third before Cortese came under pressure from behind.
Morbidelli struck soon for the lead, with Lüthi then shadowing the Italian and sizing him up – before the Swiss veteran then suddenly slid out at Turn 12, unable to get back in the race and giving the standings an instant shake up.
That left Oliveira with a clear target ahead on the road as the KTM rider started to eat into Morbidelli’s lead. The battle for the podium then became a three-way battle between Corsi, Bagnaia and Pasini.
As the laps ticked down in a game of cat and mouse at the front, Oliveira showed Morbidelli his front wheel on a number of occasions, before the Portuguese rider struck at the end of the penultimate lap. Morbidelli hit back, and managed to keep the door firmly closed around the last lap – with the final corner almost neck and neck but the Championship leader taking another win to extend his advantage.
“After this sixth win of the season I am living the dream and don’t want to wake up. It was a very difficult race especially to defend the lead against Miguel who caught me very fast in the middle of the race. But then he did not overtake and if he had done I would have been struggling. I was getting ready for a big battle over the final two laps. It was not easy but I did a very good final lap and that gave me the victory. Thanks to my team for all the hard work.”
Behind Oliveira’s stunning charge to P2, Bagnaia won the battle to complete the rostrum and took another incredible podium in his rookie year – with Corsi just behind his compatriot and third Italian Mattia Pasini completing the top five.
Pasini unfortunately also received notification of a technical infringement at the Catalan GP, and has had points earned in Barcelona deducted from his 2017 tally – another shake up in the standings.
Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) held off an impressive ride from 2016 Moto3 World Champion Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) as the South African comes back from injury to take some more honour amongst rookies, with the two taking sixth and seventh respectively. Cortese crossed the line eighth after dropping back slightly in the latter stages, with teammate Marcel Schrötter taking ninth in a solid double top ten for Dynavolt Intact GP at home.
Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) was a quiet superstar to complete the top ten after starting outside the top twenty, ahead of Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia), Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing), Fabio Quartararo (Pons HP 40), Xavier Simeon (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) and Stefano Manzi (Sky Racing Team VR46) completing the top fifteen.
Remy Gardner – P12
“It wasn’t the greatest qualifying but it wasn’t bad. It took a long time for me to really push on in the wet as it was unbelievable just how much grip there was on the new surface. I made my best lap on my last one and still probably had a bit more but I was playing it safe. In the dry we were ready and I was confident of a good result. In terms of the race it was very positive and I think we have made a big jump. The new KYB front forks that we had this weekend really made the difference and I am sure that we can now move even further forward and find the next step. I had a strong pace throughout the race, especially in the final third where I caught Syahrin and passed him twice on the last lap but he just beat me to the line. It’s great to be able to head into the summer break equaling my best ever Moto2 result and with the confidence that we made a really good step forward with the bike. big thanks as ever to my Tech3 team and everyone who is supporting me. See you all in the Czech Republic in August!”
Gardner is now 24th in the Moto2 Championship standings.
MotoGP 2017 – Round Nine – Sachsenring Moto2 Race Results
Franco Morbidelli (ITA – Kalex) 41’05.137
Miguel Oliveira (POR – KTM) + 0.066
Francesco Bagnaia (ITA – Kalex) +0.574
MotoGP 2017 – Round Nine – Sachsenring Moto2 Championship Standings
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