MotoGPMalaysiaOctober 23, 2011
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 17
Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang Race Results

Luthi Wins His First in Red-Flagged Thriller

Qualifying >>

The 2011 Moto2 World Championship will go down to the final race after a dramatic finish that followed a dramatic start to the weekend.

Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 – Suter) won his first intermediate class final by leading when the race was red flagged on the 18th of 19 laps because of a stricken motorcycle on the track. A lap earlier, the Swiss rider had taken the lead from championship leader Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing – Kalex), who had led from the start and would have won the championship had he won the race. Instead, he left Malaysia with a 23 point lead on Marc Marquez (Team Caixa/Catalunya – Suter), the 18-year-old Spaniard who was ruled out of the race after failing a medical examination, and who watched the race from his pit box with a patch over his right eye.

The drama for Marquez began when he crashed in the wet turn ten on the opening lap of Friday morning practice, suffering injuries to his shoulder, neck, and face. It wasn’t his fault. Marquez and two others fell because corner marshals failed to display the proper flag warning riders of the conditions. (Race organisers were fined 15,000 euros for the infraction.) One of them, Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing – Tech 3), was earlier ruled out of the race with a broken collarbone. Marquez, the former championship leader, sat out the rest of Friday and Saturday morning practices. He rode one lap at speed to qualify on Saturday afternoon, finishing with the 36th fastest time.

Whether or not he wanted to ride was immaterial; he was ruled unfit and could only watch his title hopes slip away.

With Marquez out, the path was cleared for his title rival Bradl to take the second Moto2 title back to Germany. But in order to do that he had to win the race.

Bradl and Swiss rider Luthi swapped the lead spot on the opening lap with Bradl taking control before the lap was half over.

Lap after lap the two riders pulled away from third place, Luthi content to wait for an opening. It came on the brakes entering the turn 15 left on lap 17, the Swiss rider sliding up the inside and taking the lead with two laps to go. Bradl had two laps to counter-attack, but then came the crash by Axel Pons, which left his motorcycle sitting in the middle of the track.

The win was Luthi’s first in Moto2 and he was understandably ecstatic.

Lost in the drama was the battle for third. Pol Espargaro took control on the second lap and looked secure, but Australian GP winner Alex de Angelis had other thoughts. De Angelis (JiR Moto2 – Motobi) fought his way to the front and closed to within 1.3s sec on the 16th lap. Espargaro got the message and opened up his cushion on the next lap and was well in control when the race was called. De Angelis settled for fourth, with Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CIP – Suter) winning the four-way battle for fifth.

Bradl leads Marquez 274 to 251 in advance of the season finale in Valencia in two weeks. In order to win the title, he has to finish 13th or better if Marquez wins the race.

The battle for third is even closer. De Angelis trails Andrea Iannone, the Speed Master – Suter rider who was ninth today, by two points, 172 to 170.

Moto2 Rider Quotes

Thomas Luthi, Interwetten Paddock Moto2-Suter: Race winner
“I’m very, very happy first of all, and just happy. And I have to say, first of all, thanks to the team. They made a really good job. We had some struggles in the middle of the season, then we came back, we are back strong at the end and this is good looking forward to next year. To the race, it was quite difficult. I had some problems in the beginning; I had some small mistakes. Was some hard battles in there. Afterwards I found a rhythm. I could close the gap again to Stefan (Bradl) and then I could quite easily follow him, but I mean we were both on the limit. And we made a good gap to the back. And then was a plan just two laps before the finish just try to go in front, make a break and try to stay in front. It was a little bit of luck. Finally, but still I had still the chance to win without this red flag, and this is good to know. And it was a good weekend, I’m just happy. it’s a great feeling.

Stefan Bradl, Viessmann Kiefer Racing-Kalex: 2nd
“I made a gap, together with Tom (Luthi), to the rest of the field. At the end I couldn’t believe it, because Tom was leading the lap before; I immediately realised. Yeah, you know inside me there is something really goes strange now because this race was very important for me. We were able to do the championship, but at the end, yeah, what I can say? It’s a little bit unlucky for me, but anyway, I have to take the positive things and I have done a really good job in that race. Congratulations to Tom and anyway we are doing a good job. Thanks to my family, thanks to my team and everything and hopefully we can do it in Valencia.”

Pol Espagaro, HP Tuenti Speed Up: 3rd.
“De Angelis was so fast at the end. I was all race more or less good. I had good feelings for the first 15 laps, but after I saw de Angelis start to come so fast to me and I had to push hard and improve my lap time 0.5s better and it was difficult, but finally here again. It’s nice to be here.”

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 17
Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang

Race Canceled.
1 Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten Paddock Moto2)
2 Stefan BRADL (Viessmann Kiefer Racing)
3 Pol ESPARGARO (HP Tuenti Speed Up)
4 Alex DE ANGELIS (JIR Moto2)
5 Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag-CIP)
6 Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)
7 Michele PIRRO (Gresini Racing Moto2)
8 Aleix ESPARGARO (Pons HP 40)
9 Andrea IANNONE (Speed Master)
10 Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)
11 Esteve RABAT (Blusens-STX)
12 Kenan SOFUOGLU (Technomag-CIP)
13 Jules CLUZEL (NGM Forward Racing)
14 Mike DI MEGLIO (Tech 3 Racing)
15 Xavier SIMEON (Tech 3 B)
1 Maverick VINALES (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing)
2 Sandro CORTESE (Intact-Racing Team Germany)
3 Johann ZARCO (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo)
4 Hector FAUBEL (Bankia Aspar Team 125cc)
5 Nicolas TEROL (Bankia Aspar Team 125cc)
6 Jonas FOLGER (Red Bull Ajo MotorSport)
7 Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (Airasia-Sic-Ajo)
8 Jakub KORNFEIL (Ongetta-Centro Seta)
9 Alberto MONCAYO (Andalucia Banca Civica)
10 Danny KENT (Red Bull Ajo MotorSport)
11 Efren VAZQUEZ (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo)
12 Alexis MASBOU (Caretta Technology)
13 Danny WEBB (Mahindra Racing)
14 Josep RODRIGUEZ (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing)
15 Alessandro TONUCCI (Team Italia FMI)

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