L&T Motorsport

2017 Qatar Moto2 Race Report: Morbidelli reigns in the desert

The 2017 Moto2 season kicked off in Qatar on the 26th of March. After Race Direction was forced to cancel qualifying due to adverse weather conditions, everyone lined up according to the combined practice times. So Estrella Galicia rider Franco Morbidelli started ahead of teammate Alex Marquez and Swiss rider Tom Luthi. In fourth was Japanese rider Takaaki Nakagami and behind him were Portugal’s Miguel Oliveira and Britain’s Danny Kent. Team Sky Italia VR46 rider Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia was the highest placed rookie in 9th.

Pole man Franco Morbidelli dominated the race to claim his maiden win

Swiss veteran Tom Luthi took an early lead before Morbidelli slipped past him and held on to take his first victory. He had been in similar positions many times last season but could never quite get the job done. Luthi in the meantime had other problems to deal with, namely an attack from Nakagami and Oliveira. Alex Marquez initially stuck with his teammate until Luthi, and the other two riders swept past and started pulling away from the Spaniard. Moto3 graduate and defending champion Brad Binder reunited with Oliveira for the 2017 season but could not make much of an impact due to an arm injury. Not everyone survived the first lap of the Losail International Circuit because Remy Gardner, Mattia Pasini and Hafizh Syahrin tangled and were brought down. Pasini and Syahrin were able to rejoin but Remy, son of the legendary Wayne Gardner, could not continue. QMMF Racing wildcard Saeed Al Sulaiti was the next rider to bite the dust and end his race. Syahrin would soon retire the bike due to damage from the accident, also joining him on the sidelines was Jorge Navarro after the latter fell off the bike.

But the day belonged to one man, Franco Morbidelli cruised to a dominant victory and his maiden victory. In the battle for the remaining podium spots, one man was definitely going to return empty handed, and that man was Miguel Oliveira. Marquez finished in a distant 5th place. Valentino Rossi’s half brother Luca Marini equalled his best finish of 6th place in Qatar ahead of another rookie Fabio Quartararo and Marini’s teammate Lorenzo Baldassari. Spanish riders Xavi Vierge and Axel Pons completed the top 10 and the remaining point scorers are Dominique Aegerter, Francesco Bagnaia, Danny Kent, Jesko Raffin and Xavier Simeon.

Morbidelli finally seized that elusive first race victory

The next race is in Argentina at the Termas de Rio Hondo, who will win there? Tune in on the 8th and 9th of April to find out

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