Austin Moto2: Morbidelli keeps perfect record with third straight win
Franco Morbidelli continued his unbeaten run in the 2017 Moto2 season after converting his pole position into a third consecutive victory at Austin.
Having started from pole, Marc VDS rider Morbidelli led the way at the end of the opening lap after seeing off a brief challenge from fellow countryman Mattia Pasini (Italtrans).
Morbidelli's teammate Alex Marquez claimed the lead shortly afterwards and, even though Morbidelli got past him at the beginning of the back straight on each of the next two laps, Marquez slipstreamed his way back on both occasions.
However, Marquez then ran wide at Turn 15 and dropped to fourth.
Once back in the lead, Morbidelli pulled away from Pasini, who was soon demoted by Thomas Luthi (CarXpert Interwetten) and Marquez before falling at the first corner.
While Morbidelli couldn't build a decisive gap over Luthi for a long time, with the gap stagnating at around a second, he eventually pulled away and won by 2.6s ahead of the Swiss rider.
He therefore becomes the first 250cc/Moto2 rider to start the year with three straight wins since the late Daijiro Kato in 2001.
Takaaki Nakagami (Honda Team Asia) later passed Marquez for third, meaning the latter has still yet to make it to the podium this year.
Kiefer Racing's Dominique Aegerter was fifth, taking advantage of a small error from KTM rider Miguel Oliveira to take the place.
Moto2 veterans Simone Corsi (Speed Up) and Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact) took seventh and eighth respectively not far behind Oliveira.
Tech 3's Xavi Vierge and Luca Marini (Forward) completed the top 10.
Both the 2015 and 2016 Moto3 champions missed the race, as Danny Kent withdrew due to a back injury and Brad Binder missed the event after undergoing surgery.
The South African's replacement at KTM, Ricky Cardus, finished 14th.
The opening lap of the race saw two crashes, as Stefano Manzi took out Julian Simon - who was standing in for Tech 3's Remy Gardner - at Turn 1 before Yonny Hernandez skittled into Lorenzo Baldassarri at the end of the back straight.
|7||Simone Corsi||Speed Up||13.335|
|9||Xavi Vierge||Tech 3||18.079|
|24||Axel Bassani||Speed Up||1'07.841|
|25||Khairul Idham Pawi||Kalex||1'08.137|
|Ret||Edgar Pons||Kalex||17 laps|
|Ret||Julian Simon||Tech 3|
Cardus to replace injured Binder for Austin Moto2 round
Kent quits Kiefer Moto2 team after Austin no-show