Qatar Moto2: Morbidelli claims dominant maiden win

Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli scored a dominant career-first Moto2 victory in the opening round of the 2017 season in Qatar.

Qatar Moto2: Morbidelli claims dominant maiden win
Franco Morbidelli, Marc VDS lead the field
Franco Morbidelli, Marc VDS, pole position Tissot award
Thomas Luthi, CarXpert Interwetten
Thomas Luthi, CarXpert Interwetten
Takaaki Nakagami, Idemitsu Honda Team Asia
Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Ajo
Alex Marquez, Marc VDS

With heavy rain causing the cancellation of Saturday's qualifying, Morbidelli started the race from pole due to having the best practice time from Thursday and Friday.

Although he was passed by class veteran Thomas Luthi (CarXpert Interwetten) during the opening lap, he reclaimed first place on the third lap.

The Italian quickly built a safe gap and consistently stretched his advantage, leading by almost four seconds at one point and eventually winning by 2.6s.

"Just great," said Morbidelli of his first Grand Prix win. "It's a very good sensation. After all this time, it's just amazing to get this victory in Moto2. I'm very happy."

While Luthi couldn't challenge Morbidelli, he still finished second comfortably.

Honda Team Asia's Takaaki Nakagami completed the podium, having passed Alex Marquez (Marc VDS) at around half-distance.

The Spaniard losing third was just the beginning of his troubles, however, as he was also passed by KTM Ajo's Miguel Oliveira.

Oliveira also put pressure on Nakagami for the final podium spot, but he ended up settling for fourth.

With the top five building a significant lead in the early stages, Marquez held on to fifth despite losing a lot of time of the riders ahead.

Luca Marini (Forward) won a duel against Fabio Quartararo (Pons) to take sixth, although the Frenchman was the top rookie in seventh.

Marini's teammate Lorenzo Baldassarri finished eighth, followed by Xavi Vierge (Tech 3) and Axel Pons (RW Racing).

Reigning Moto3 champion Brad Binder (KTM Ajo) was 20th, still suffering from an arm injury picked up in testing, as fellow class newcomer and former title rider Jorge Navarro (Gresini) crashed out of the race.

Race results

ClaDriverBikeGap
1 italy Franco Morbidelli  Kalex  
2 switzerland Thomas Luthi  Kalex 2.681
3 japan Takaaki Nakagami  Kalex 3.304
4 portugal Miguel Oliveira  KTM 3.584
5 spain Alex Marquez  Kalex 11.226
6 italy Luca Marini  Kalex 13.747
7 france Fabio Quartararo  Kalex 13.988
8 italy Lorenzo Baldassarri  Kalex 17.465
9 spain Xavi Vierge  Tech 3 17.477
10 spain Axel Pons  Kalex 17.767
11 switzerland Dominique Aegerter  Suter 17.802
12 italy Francesco Bagnaia  Kalex 18.090
13 united_kingdom Danny Kent  Suter 19.323
14 switzerland Jesko Raffin  Kalex 22.798
15 belgium Xavier Simeon  Kalex 24.009
16 germany Marcel Schrötter  Suter 24.077
17 italy Simone Corsi  Speed Up 28.193
18 colombia Yonny Hernandez  Kalex 31.828
19 japan Tetsuta Nagashima  Kalex 31.839
20 south_africa Brad Binder  KTM 34.046
21 spain Isaac Viñales  Kalex 40.227
22 germany Sandro Cortese  Suter 40.279
23 spain Julian Simon  Kalex 40.446
24 italy Mattia Pasini  Kalex 42.501
25 spain Ricard Cardus  Speed Up 43.000
26 spain Edgar Pons  Kalex 47.072
27 italy Andrea Locatelli  Kalex 47.486
28 malaysia Khairul Idham Pawi  Kalex 51.206
29 italy Stefano Manzi  Kalex 1'02.080
  spain Jorge Navarro  Kalex 12 laps
  malaysia Hafizh Syahrin  Kalex 12 laps
  qatar Saeed Al Sulaiti  Speed Up 15 laps
  australia Remy Gardner  Tech 3  
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