The rain from qualifying was nowhere to be seen as Moto3 got race day under way in Le Mans. The lightweight class was a tale of impressive slicing through the pack by riders who found them selves way down the grid on Saturday and a glimpse of what Romano Fenati can do when he starts at the front.
|Rabat passes home rider Zarco Photo:EG 0,0 Marc VDS
Tom Luthi held his position with ease in Moto2 after an initial battle with Johann Zarco and proved time and again that he had a little in reserve every time he was challenged.
It was not the best of home rounds for the French riders in the support classes with only Zarco managing a points finish.
The lightweight class it was all about who could make the best of a bad situation with many riders keen to make up for their poor grid position, while the Italians raced it out upfront. The race was also peppered with crashes with only 20 riders making it to the flag.
It was to be Romano Fenati who pulled out a tiny lead on the last lap as the trio behind him tangled each other up earning him his first podium this season in style with a win for the Sky Racing VR46 team.
The KTM rider was joined on the podium by fellow Italians Enea Bastianini, who came from 18th on the grid to feature at the front for Gresini on the Honda and Francesco Bagnaia on the podium for the first time for himself and the Aspar/Mahindra team this season in third.
Fourth was in many ways the most impressive ride as Danny Kent put himself in contention for the win after qualifying 31st, gaining a place on that from Hanika’s pit lane start.
It was not to be for the British Leopard rider after an epic attempt he ended his race in a very respectable fourth. Kent still leads the championship standings.
Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) faded after being passed by Kent to take fifth, with early frontrunner Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC) sixth Isaac Vinales (Husqvarna Factory Laglisse) seventh and Miguel Oliveira ninth. Philipp Oettl scored a top ten finish for Schedl GP racing.
The remaining points went to Hiroki Ono, eleventh after starting 32nd, Juanfran Guevara, still nursing his collarbone injury after being hit by Hanika in Jerez in 12th, Livio Loi in 13th, Zulfahmi Khairuddin in 14th and Stefano Manzi with his first point in 15th.
John McPhee will be looking to find his confidence again after a quiet weekend, finishing 17th for the SaxoPrint-RTG team.
Pole-sitter rookie Fabio Quartararo crashed out while running at the front in a race filled with falls.
The Moto2 race was dominated by a confident and intelligent performance by Tom Luthi, The Derendinger Racing Interwetten rider making leading look easy after an early battle with Johann Zarco.
Tito Rabat’s practicing of long runs looking for late speed all weekend paid off as he caught and passed Zarco in the closing stages to take a solid second for EG 0,0 Marc VDS.
Johann Zarco had to concede that his dream of winning at home was not on the cards but can take some relief in retaining his lead in the championship after third gave him good points in the title hunt with Ajo Motorsport.
Sam Lowes tyre choice proved to be a gamble too far as he was just unable to catch Zarco over the closing stages leaving the British Speed Up rider in fourth.
Franco Morbidelli lead the biggest battle in the race over the line in fifth for Italtrans with the group losing both of the Paginas Amarillas HP 40 bikes of Rins and Salom late on. Thuis left the rest of the group to fight it out with Julian Simon on fire for sixth for QMMF, Taka Nakagami seventh for Idemitsu,and Xavier Simeon the last of the melee to cross the line in eighth.
Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia)caught the group late on but finished his day in ninth with Dominique Aegerter Technomag Racing Interwetten)also good enough for a top ten finish.
The remaining points went to Ant west in 11th, Randy Krummenacher in 12th, Marcel Schrotter in 13th, Sandro Cortese in 14th and Axel Pons scoring his first point this season in 15th.
For the full Moto3 result click here
For the full Moto2 result click here