August 9th, 2015
Alex Rins won his first-ever Moto2 race Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after seizing the lead with two laps to go. Johann Zarco grabbed the second spot following a fierce, race-long battle with Dominic Aegerter. And Franco Morbidelli seized the final podium spot -- his first -- after a late, hard pass on eventual fourth-place finisher Aegerter.
Reigning champion Tito Rabat settled for fifth after leading the race early. Thomas Luthi (6th) cane in right behind Rabat followed by Axel Pons (7th). Xavier Simeon crossed the line in a lonely eighth. Takaaki Nakagami (9th) and Alex Marquez rounded out the top 10.
The race, which started in mixed conditions, had dozens of lead changes as the drying racing line kept the lead group of six riders in close contact for much of the race. The battle between Zarco and Aegerter was particularly fierce with postiion swapping nearly every lap before Zarco forced his way through for good with three laps to go.
Livio Loi won his first-ever Grand Prix by gambling on dry tires in the damp-but-drying conditions Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Loi, one of a handful of riders to make the late switch and start the race at the back of the grid, won the contest by 38 seconds over second place rider John McPhee. Philipp Oetttl grabbed the final podium spot making it a clean sweep of riders who had never been on a world championship podium before.
All three riders made the switch to full slicks just before the race began. Championship leader Danny Kent -- who like many of the riders at the front, ran a handful of laps in the disintegrating wet tires before pitting for a tire switch -- finished the race out of the points in 21st place.
The race start was uncertain from the beginning when rain before the race forcing a wet-race declaration. Because it was declared a wet race, many riders stayed with wet tires. But a handful of riders, including the eventual race leader, made the late switch to dry tired and were forced to start at the back of the grid.
Loi grabbed the lead on the fourth lap and began opening a gap immediately.
2015 Indianapolis MotoGP Saturday Round Up: Marquez' Return, Lorenzo's Standstill, Rossi's Qualifying, And Moto3 Money Troubles
After practice on Friday, it looked like the MotoGP race at Indianapolis was going to a knock-down, drag-out battle between Marc Márquez and Jorge Lorenzo, both men very evenly matched. A day later, and it looks like the battle could be much bigger than that, with Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi on the same pace, and maybe even Pol Espargaro, Bradley Smith, and if things go right for him, Aleix Espargaro involved in the fight. Unfortunately for the fans, the battle will be for second, as one man has moved the game on. Marc Márquez' reign in the USA is looking increasingly secure.
The Repsol Honda rider upped his game on Saturday, topping both free practice sessions comfortably, his pace in FP4 particularly fearsome. He finished FP4 over six tenths ahead of Jorge Lorenzo, setting his fast lap on old tires, in full race trim, on the second lap of a long run. His pace was solid, all mid to high 1'32s, where Lorenzo was cranking out low 1'33s. He then followed it up in qualifying with a display of supremacy which belied the ease with which he took pole. After going out and setting the pole lap on his first flying lap, he returned to the garage where he sat calmly for five minutes, unperturbed by the happenings on the track. He returned for another try, even though it was not needed, and set another lap faster than any other rider would manage.
In the press conference, Márquez explained that he was once again comfortable on the bike, and that his team had found another step forward. The language he used to describe his situation was both modest and inaccurate. "Yesterday, I saw that Jorge was really strong," he said, "but today we got closer and we had a similar pace." In truth, Márquez and Lorenzo had similar pace on Friday. On Saturday, Márquez was head and shoulders above the rest.
Press releases from the teams, Bridgestone and the circuit after qualifying at Indianapolis:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Indianapolis:
Results and summary below:
Marc Marquez made it immediately clear that Sunday was not going to be the Jorge Lorenzo show with a series of blistering FP4 laps Saturday that put him six-tenths of a second clear of the field. Jorge Lorenzo, fastest in previous practices, managed a distant second and the riders worked less on fastest single laps than on on race setup. Dani Pedrosa improved his showing with third-quickest in the session.
Valentino Rossi, who has struggled with the bike all weekend, managed to hang on for fourth-fastest but with a lap time -- 1'33.224 -- that is slower than his FP3 best. Andrea Iannone finished the session with the fifth-fastest time.
Championship leader Danny Kent set the new Moto3 single-lap record while grabbing pole position Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Kent's 1'40.703 bettered Jack Miller's lap record from one year ago and left him eight-hundredths of a second clear of Miguel Oliveira (2nd).
But the biggest surprise of the session was Zulfahmi Khairuddin who grabbed a tow from Niccolo Antonelli to jump from 17th to second on the grid on his final lap. (At the session's end he was bumped to third by Oliveira.) This is, by far, Khairuddin's best qualifying postion of the year having only once before made it into the top 20.
Enea Bastianini managed fourth and Moto3 rookie Fabio Quartararo rounded out the top five.
The session marked Kent's fouuth pole of the 2015 season. He has five wins this year to lead the championship by 66 points.
Alex Rins has ended the final session of free practice for the Moto2 class on top of the timesheets. The HP 40 Pons rider fired in a quick final lap to sneak ahead of Franco Morbidelli, who had in turn edged ahead of Tito Rabat. It was Tito Rabat who had made the early running, grinding out his usual long and punishing runs, with only Alex Rins briefly interrupting his flow. But fast laps by Morbidelli and then Rins pushed Rabat down to 3rd at the end.
The top 3 all had a comfortable cushion over the rest of the field. Sam Lowes finished in 4th, half a second shy of Rabat, and a few hundredths ahead of Jonas Folger. Johann Zarco had another difficult session, stuck in the pits for nearly 20 minutes, and only managing to set the 10th fastest time.