2017 Sepang Moto2 QP: An Eye On The Prize

Franco Morbidelli moved a step closer to the 2017 Moto2 World Championship with a pole position at the Sepang circuit Saturday in Malaysia. Morbidelli's 2'06.406 almost eclipsed the existing pole record and put the points leader in perfect position to clinch the championship Sunday. The Italian rider, who crashed at Turn 7 during the session, leads Thomas Luthi by 29 points with two races remaining.

Miguel Oliveira, two tenths back, grabbed the second spot on the front row. Next to Oliveira was the new kid on the grid, Fabio Quartararo. The young Frenchman had the best qualifying session of his rookie Moto2 season with the final front-row position. This pushed Alex Marquez (4th) into the top slot on the second row. And next to him is championship contender Thomas Luthi. 

But Luthi's status for the race remained unclear late Saturday. On a fast lap late in the session, Luthi suffered a brutal highside at Turn 3 that shattered his facesheld when his head hit the track. While the Swiss rider initially was stretchered off, cameras later caught him standing up and talking to the trackside medical staff before heading to the clinic for evaluation.

Luthi, who holds the Sepang Moto2 pole record, must finish at least five points in front of Morbidelli on Sunday to keep the championship leader from clinching the Moto2 title this weekend. Francesco Bagnaia (6th) completed the second row.

Result:

Pos. No. Rider Bike Time Diff. / Prev.
1 21 Franco MORBIDELLI Kalex 2'06.406    
2 44 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 2'06.432 0.026 / 0.026
3 40 Fabio QUARTARARO Kalex 2'06.478 0.072 / 0.046
4 73 Alex MARQUEZ Kalex 2'06.511 0.105 / 0.033
5 12 Thomas LUTHI Kalex 2'06.593 0.187 / 0.082
6 42 Francesco BAGNAIA Kalex 2'06.793 0.387 / 0.200
7 23 Marcel SCHROTTER Suter 2'06.849 0.443 / 0.056
8 41 Brad BINDER KTM 2'06.909 0.503 / 0.060
9 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Kalex 2'07.029 0.623 / 0.120
10 54 Mattia PASINI Kalex 2'07.123 0.717 / 0.094
11 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN Kalex 2'07.137 0.731 / 0.014
12 49 Axel PONS Kalex 2'07.212 0.806 / 0.075
13 11 Sandro CORTESE Suter 2'07.330 0.924 / 0.118
14 97 Xavi VIERGE Tech 3 2'07.370 0.964 / 0.040
15 32 Isaac VIÑALES Kalex 2'07.513 1.107 / 0.143
16 37 Augusto FERNANDEZ Speed Up 2'07.514 1.108 / 0.001
17 24 Simone CORSI Speed Up 2'07.541 1.135 / 0.027
18 62 Stefano MANZI Kalex 2'07.550 1.144 / 0.009
19 10 Luca MARINI Kalex 2'07.587 1.181 / 0.037
20 7 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI Kalex 2'07.594 1.188 / 0.007
21 5 Andrea LOCATELLI Kalex 2'07.612 1.206 / 0.018
22 45 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA Kalex 2'07.734 1.328 / 0.122
23 89 Khairul Idham PAWI Kalex 2'07.768 1.362 / 0.034
24 2 Jesko RAFFIN Kalex 2'07.848 1.442 / 0.080
25 87 Remy GARDNER Tech 3 2'07.901 1.495 / 0.053
26 57 Edgar PONS Kalex 2'08.089 1.683 / 0.188
27 27 Iker LECUONA Kalex 2'08.096 1.690 / 0.007
28 26 Dimas EKKY PRATAMA Kalex 2'08.571 2.165 / 0.475
29 15 Alex DE ANGELIS Kalex 2'09.016 2.610 / 0.445
             

 

Round Number: 
17
2017
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Total votes: 46

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Comments

The rising performance of Morbidelli is a satisfying one. He is a good kid. And as South American as he is Spanish. He looks more Brazilian to me than Barros! Not yet sure what his style reminds us of. Looking forward to much more of this rising star.

Wonder no more how KTM can do in the middleweight catagory. They got it right the first time. Binder has more yet to come. The Orange rider pipeline is complete.

Quartararo is another name we should get used to spelling right in the press. Bagnaia is impressing too. Does Pasini have more forthcoming? Yes, the glaring yellow sun of MotoGP will set indeed. And it also rises. Perhaps like this?

Moto2 is soon to have its biggest evolution since it's inception with the lovely narrow three cylinder 765cc. Handling will improve, lap records will fall away, and a new era dawns. Dunlop will be bringing more edge grip, and the bikes will be driving out harder, earlier and longer from further out to the edge of the tire. Riders and the next Moto2 bikes must make advantage apex to exit. The new bikes will change lines more easily too. One of these current youngsters is likely to come give the establishment some trouble or a manufacturer new hope.

Perhaps tomorrow we get to formally acknowledge our next odds-on favorite. I remember our discussions about MM93. He was SO aggressive! And our last 250 hopefuls. Now we have Morbidelli et al moving up without any Bridgestone brake bombing bias to deal with, like MM93 and his Honda melded into. Nor as much electronic aids that recent MotoGP newcomers adjusted to. Lorenzo himself is making a memory of the 250cc riding style before our eyes. Right behind Morbidelli is a handful of real talent. Interested in hearing from folks who you tip as our next phenom and what you see going on.

Here is the future. Morbidelli is a deserving champion. And a few youngsters are keen to make their mark as the season concludes.

Total votes: 16