The Moto2 race at Phillip Island has been by far one of the most exciting of recent from the 600cc class as many intense battles took place throughout. Garage Plus Interwetten rider Thomas Luthi won by the smallest margin, and was joined on the podium by Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) and Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP).
Bad weather meant restricted track time for Moto2
It was a tough weekend in Australia for the Moto2 riders as an abandoned Free Practice 2, cancelled because of continuous rainfall, meant that they had very limited track time. Free Practice 1 was prohibited by rain and Free Practice 3 was still affected weather-wise and limited the riders’ track time despite being extended.
A lot of riders fell on the second day of the meeting throughout Qualifying meaning the grid was mixed up more then usual. Luthi qualified on pole, Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) and Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresni Moto2) joined him on the front row.
Conditions improved in Phillip Island for race day
Race day was the first real bit of dry track time that they experienced in Phillip Island and had the weather not cooperated during the morning (where Morbidelli was quickest) they would have been going in blind.
Perfect start from Luthi
When the race got underway Luthi got the perfect start and he led into the first corner where he remained for a good duration of the race. Behind him the battle for second took place between Morbidelli and Pasini, and further back again several mini battles commenced for other positions.
The two Italians were persistent with their efforts using various locations around the track to gain advantage; Morbidelli favoured the straight wheras Pasini, who rides with a modified front brake (lever on the left handlebar with clutch lever due to an old arm injury) favoured the hairpins.
Pasini crashes out
It was immense and continued throughout the race until unfortunately for Pasini, when they began dicing with Luthi, he crashed out ending his chances of a long await and well deserved podium. Instead, they were joined by Cortese, who had been on a triumphant journey of his own before catching up to them at the end of the race.
It remained incredibly close at the front
Within the last few laps, Morbidelli was able to focus on attacking Luthi without the pressure of losing another place and stole the lead from him. The German rider was not going to hand over the win that easy and fought back until it came down to the last few corners.
Morbidelli was in front, he just had to make it to the line first to claim his fist ever Moto2 win. Luthi, who had lost the lead as he went wide, tucked in behind Morbidelli and stayed there right up until the final straight where he used the slipstream from him for as long as possible, before coming out and accelerating past him and took the win just 0.010 seconds ahead of him. Luthi won (his first back-to-back win ever), Morbidelli was second and Cortese finished third at the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
Luthi struggled during the warm-up
It may not have resulted in the desired outcome for Luthi prior to the race as he described that during the morning warm up session as he explained that he “tested different set-ups in the morning's warm-up” but found that “it did not work” and he was “far off and on the limit”.
To overcome this he described how they “stepped back” to the setup they had on day two of the meeting “during the couple of minutes when the track was dry” and found that that setup “was great”.