2017 Spielberg Moto2 Race Result: A Perfect Double

After 22 degrees of temperature heated the track and a Moto3 show heated up the audience, the intermediate class cooled things off but only slightly. Franco Morbidelli’s seventh win of the season won’t come as much of a surprise but he did not escape his challengers that easily.

An entertaining fight between Alex Marquez and Tom Luthi might have aided his cause but the duo looked in with a shot until the final few laps. Marquez had to settle for second position, bringing an excellent result for the EG 0,0 Marc VDS crew, while Tom Luthi completed the podium.

Birthday boy Pasini could not hang on to his prime starting position after the lights went off and that left Morbidelli in charge of the lead, teammate Marquez, compatriot Pasini and title rival Luthi the only riders to keep up with his pace in the early part of the race.

Pecco Bagnaia was leading the deluxe chasing group nearly a second behind, including Oliveira, Brad Binder and Isaac Viñales. Both Binder and Viñales were amongst the few riders who opted for the softer rear tyre and the South-African made great use of it to go from seventeenth on the grid to seventh by the end of lap one.

Meanwhile, Morbidelli was attempting to run away at the front, leaving Marquez and Luthi embroiled in a keen fight while the poleman started losing ground, one second behind the trio by lap ten. Behind him, Oliveira had the best of Bagnaia while Viñales crashed out, leaving Nakagami and Binder to bridge a gap of over two seconds to the top six.

Try as he might, the world championship leader could not stretch away from his main rivals, the order settling bar the occasional attempt from Luthi to catch Marquez out. Nearly two seconds down the road, Oliveira caught up with Pasini and overtook him for fourth on lap fourteen, Bagnaia looking keen to do the same and ruin his fellow Italian’s birthday. With the precedent of Brno in mind, the gap to the leader looked doable for Oliveira, the Portuguese rider already four tenths behind only four laps later and riding at a blistering pace.

Marquez finally had a go at Morbidelli with eight laps remaining but ran just the tiny bit wide, losing momentum and allowing both his teammate and Luthi to get past. Finally on Morbidelli’s tail, Luthi showed his hand early but went wide in turn three for the n-th time, giving Morbidelli a breather while Oliveira tagged along to the back of Marquez.

Morbidelli had six tenths in hand with five laps remaining, Marquez trying to bridge the gap to his teammate as Luthi looked like fading slightly. Oliveira did not get a chance to finish the lap and show podium aspirations as the KTM rider got unkindly thrown off his bike into turn eight.

Luthi continued to struggle with finding the right route through turn three, which dropped him a second behind Marquez with three laps left. Marquez himself was losing track of his teammate as the Italian upped the pace once again. Morbidelli wasn’t going to lose that significant advantage despite some late red sectors from Marquez, the EG 0,0 one-two standing until the flag and Luthi defending his third position by half a second from Bagnaia.

Pasini’s birthday gift turned out to be a fifth place, with Nakagami coming through from twelfth on the grid to claim sixth position. Binder nursed his softer tyre into a seventh place, followed by fellow rookie Jorge Navarro in eight. Aided by a few crashes, Dominique Aegerter and Hafizh Syahrin made the top ten, despite the Malaysian rider starting twenty-first following a post-qualifying penalty for illegal tyre pressure.

Starting from much more encouraging grid spots inside the top ten, Xavi Vierge and Fabio Quartararo’s races ended abruptly after an incident in turn one at the start saw them crash out with seven other riders, including both Forward Racing boys.

Morbidelli improved on last year’s performance at the Austrian track by adding another 25 points to his tally and leading Luthi in the championship by 26 points. Marquez keeps third place 54 points back and edging ahead of Oliveira by 20 points.

Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 21 Franco MORBIDELLI Kalex 37'39.370
2 73 Alex MARQUEZ Kalex +1.312
3 12 Thomas LUTHI Kalex +2.544
4 42 Francesco BAGNAIA Kalex +3.070
5 54 Mattia PASINI Kalex +3.745
6 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Kalex +8.827
7 41 Brad BINDER KTM +9.018
8 9 Jorge NAVARRO Kalex +13.692
9 77 Dominique AEGERTER Suter +14.955
10 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN Kalex +18.997
11 24 Simone CORSI Speed Up +21.887
12 45 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA Kalex +22.028
13 49 Axel PONS Kalex +23.008
14 57 Edgar PONS Kalex +23.290
15 87 Remy GARDNER Tech 3 +25.128
16 37 Augusto FERNANDEZ Speed Up +33.460
17 89 Khairul Idham PAWI Kalex +33.931
18 2 Jesko RAFFIN Kalex +40.110
19 20 Joe ROBERTS Kalex +43.888
20 6 Tarran MACKENZIE Suter +46.097
21 27 Iker LECUONA Kalex 2 Laps
    Not Classified    
  44 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 5 Laps
  62 Stefano MANZI Kalex 12 Laps
  5 Andrea LOCATELLI Kalex 13 Laps
  32 Isaac VIÑALES Kalex 14 Laps
  97 Xavi VIERGE Tech 3 24 Laps
  19 Xavier SIMEON Kalex 24 Laps
    Not Finished 1st Lap    
  40 Fabio QUARTARARO Kalex 0 Lap
  11 Sandro CORTESE Suter 0 Lap
  7 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI Kalex 0 Lap
  10 Luca MARINI Kalex 0 Lap

 

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Round Number: 
11
2017
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Total votes: 12

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