Sachsenring Moto2: Zarco pips Folger to win crash-filled thriller
Johann Zarco scored his third Moto2 win in four races, edging out Jonas Folger at the end of a wet-weather thriller at the Sachsenring that was characterised by crashes up and down the field throughout.
The two future Tech 3 Yamaha MotoGP teammates were split by just 0.059s at the finish line, as a last-lap charge by home hero Folger fell just short.
Zarco had arrived at the Sachsenring level on points with Suzuki signing Alex Rins, but leaves 25 points in the clear as the Spanish rider crashed out of third place with only three laps remaining.
That promoted Julian Simon to his first Grand Prix podium finish since Valencia 2012, the QMMF Speed Up rider finishing a full 20 seconds down on the leaders as one main beneficiaries of the heavy attrition.
Mattia Pasini was a further 10 seconds behind in fourth, ahead of Forward Racing duo Lorenzo Baldassarri - riding with an injured shoulder - and Luca Marini.
Renowned rain specialist Hafiz Syahrin was seventh, ahead of Jesko Raffin, who sealed by far his best career Grand Prix result in eighth, Issac Vinales and Dominique Aegerter.
Story of the race
Takaaki Nakagami had led the race from pole in the early stages, but crashed out at Turn 2 on the seventh lap, handing the advantage to Rins, who led Folger, Zarco and Franco Morbidelli.
Folger and Rins proceeded to swap the lead before the former dropped back, with Morbidelli picking up the pace to carve his way through to first place, barging aside Rins in a move that dropped the Spaniard behind Zarco in third.
But, just when it looked that Morbidelli was on course for a maiden victory, the Italian crashed out with seven laps to go at Turn 1.
That turned the lead fight into a three-way dice between Zarco, Rins and a resurgent Folger, until Rins' late exit, at which point Zarco had a second in hand over Folger and looked comfortable for the win.
Nonetheless, the Frenchman didn't count on Folger closing him down over the course of the last two laps, the German having a go at the inside of the last corner but just missing out.
Other high-profile crashers included championship contender Sam Lowes, who had been running sixth in the early stages before suffering the first of two falls, the second of which put him out for good.
Alex Marquez was another man to crash twice, the first one coming while he was running a promising fifth, while Morbidelli also suffered a second fall after his first that cost him the lead.
Nakagami, on the other hand, was able to stay mounted for an 11th place finish.
|3||Julian Simon||Speed Up||20.433|
|9||Isaac Viñales||Tech 3||49.759|
|15||Sandro Cortese||Kalex||2 Laps|
|R||Alex Rins||Kalex||3 Laps|
|R||Franco Morbidelli||Kalex||3 Laps|
|R||Sam Lowes||Kalex||4 Laps|
|R||Alex Marquez||Kalex||5 Laps|
|R||Xavier Simeon||Speed Up||8 Laps|
|R||Thomas Luthi||Kalex||12 Laps|
|R||Axel Pons||Kalex||19 Laps|
|R||Ratthapark Wilairot||Kalex||21 Laps|
|R||Simone Corsi||Speed Up||24 Laps|
|R||Xavi Vierge||Tech 3||24 Laps|
|R||Marcel Schrötter||Kalex||25 Laps|
|R||Miguel Oliveira||Kalex||26 Laps|
Alex Marquez to stay with Marc VDS in Moto2 for 2017
Report suggests rider error to blame for Salom's fatal crash