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.

Austin Moto2: Morbidelli keeps perfect record with third straight win

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.

Race results:

1 italy Franco Morbidelli  Kalex 41'20.078
2 switzerland Thomas Luthi  Kalex 2.633
3 japan Takaaki Nakagami  Kalex 6.809
4 spain Alex Marquez  Kalex 9.852
5 switzerland Dominique Aegerter  Suter 10.927
6 portugal Miguel Oliveira  KTM 13.029
7 italy Simone Corsi  Speed Up 13.335
8 germany Marcel Schrötter  Suter 13.754
9 spain Xavi Vierge  Tech 3 18.079
10 italy Luca Marini  Kalex 21.418
11 malaysia Hafizh Syahrin  Kalex 21.430
12 france Fabio Quartararo  Kalex 21.736
13 belgium Xavier Simeon  Kalex 21.974
14 spain Ricard Cardus  KTM 24.245
15 spain Jorge Navarro  Kalex 24.863
16 italy Francesco Bagnaia  Kalex 28.226
17 spain Isaac Viñales  Kalex 28.443
18 spain Axel Pons  Kalex 34.767
19 japan  Tetsuta Nagashima  Kalex 37.279
20 italy Andrea Locatelli  Kalex 37.530
21 switzerland Jesko Raffin  Kalex 38.953
22 italy Mattia Pasini  Kalex 43.720
23 germany Sandro Cortese  Suter 51.515
24 italy  Axel Bassani  Speed Up 1'07.841
25 malaysia Khairul Idham Pawi  Kalex 1'08.137
Ret spain Edgar Pons  Kalex 17 laps
Ret  italy Lorenzo Baldassarri  Kalex  
Ret  colombia Yonny Hernandez  Kalex  
Ret  spain Julian Simon  Tech 3  
Ret  italy Stefano Manzi  Kalex  
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