MotoGP

Moto2 Austin: Luthi pulls the pin for Texas win

Tom Luthi battled to the front then went on to dominate the Moto2 Americas Grand Prix in Austin.
Moto2 Austin: Luthi pulls the pin for Texas win

Tom Luthi returned to winning ways at COTA after easing away at the front in the Moto2 Americas Grand Prix in Texas.

The Dynavolt Intact GP rider was ecstatic to be back on top after his 270th grand prix start, jigging in parc ferme after not scoring a point during his time in MotoGP - Luthi had run in a front group of three, but when offered the opportunity to lead he took it and immediately checked out, pulling out an one second gap after just a single lap, which extended to a 2.532s lead when he reached the chequered flag.

It is the Swiss riders first win in the class since the San Marino round in 2017. He is joined on the podium by his team-mate Marcel Schrotter - the German got a blistering start from pole after showing strong pace all weekend but both Luthi and Alex Marquez kept him in check.

Eventually Schrotter pulled out his own gap to be clear in second as the battle for the remaining podium places intensified, but he could not catch Luthi who had already disappeared out of sight. His second represents his best intermediate result to date.

An all Kalex podium was prevented by Jorge Navarro, who almost ran himself out of a rostrum finish after some late errors but made up the places he lost each time for a superb third for the Speed Up team, his first podium finish in Moto2.

Lorenzo Baldassarri remains the championship leader despite losing his perfect record after winning the first two rounds of the year when, after qualifying down in 15th, he found himself behind a wobbling Jorge Martin, hitting his rear wheel after failing to take evasive action quickly enough. Schrotter is now three points behind in second with Luthi moving up to third in the overall standings.

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Off the podium Mattia Pasini put in an incredible performance on his replacement return for Flexbox HP 40 - the veteran - in for the injured Augusto Fernandez was unfazed by the new triumph machinery and as competitive as ever as he forced his way into the chasing group, battling all the way to fourth by the time the finishing line approached.

Hie performance knocked Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) back to fifth, despite giving everything to stay in contention.

The Spaniard did however hold off the late charge of Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46), who had to settle for sixth.

Sam Lowes was looking for a way past the pair but it was not to be for the Gresini man, the Briton had been as high as fourth early in the race but still fought hard for every position dropped on his way to seventh. 

Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) was close behind in eighth, with Enea Bastianini a distant ninth but the best of the rookies for Italtrans, just ahead of his team-mate Andrea Locatelli who had enough in the tank to complete the top ten.

Remy Gardner was a disappointing eleventh after a strong opening pair of races, including a podium in Argentina. The Australian never fully recovered after finding himself directly behind the Baldassarri/Martin contact, while fellow SAG Team rider Tetsuta Nagashima did enough to hold twelfth.

The remaining points on offer went to Bo Bendsneyder who fought back on the NTS for RW Racing for 13th, Dominique Aegerter as he learns the MV Augusta in 14th for his 200th GP start and reigning Moto3 champion Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in 15th.  

Home rider Joe Roberts looked for space in the wrong place in the approach to the first corner on the first lap and drifted in front of Fabio Di Giannantonio, the pair also taking Xavi Vierge into the gravel with them.

Shortly after Brad Binder retired to the pits with a mechanical issue.

Marco Bezzecchi came in hot to the run up to turn one and his bike chattered until it eventually flung him off into the gravel with seven laps left to run. Iker Lecuona went over his handlebars after being thrown into the air at turn 12, completing a disaterous race for the American KTM Team.

Jake Dixon was forced to miss the Texas round after his FP1 fall left him with concussion, while Nicolo Bulega was absent following arm surgery. He was not replaced by the team.

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