Fast Franco scores stunning maiden Moto2 victory in Qatar
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli confirmed his status as a contender for the Moto2 World Championship with a stunning victory in tonight’s Qatar Grand Prix.
Morbidelli was untouchable in scoring a career first Moto2 win in the 20-lap opening race at the Losail International Circuit.
The 22-year-old Italian described his victory as “amazing” as he was swamped in jubilant celebrations by Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS.
Morbidelli made a superb start from pole position and although headed briefly by Swiss rival Tom Lüthi on lap two the result was never in doubt.
On lap three Morbidelli regained the lead and set a relentless, race winning pace and set his fastest lap of the race on lap six to take control of the opening race of the 2017 season.
It was a brilliant performance that saw Morbidelli maximise his talent with victory after eight previous podiums.
While Morbidelli cruised in the final laps to win by 2.68s his Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS teammate Álex Márquez could not capitalise on his front row start and finished fifth.
Márquez settled in third place, which he held for eight laps, but in the cool and breezy conditions he could not maintain the pace and slipped back to fifth on lap ten.
Morbidelli’s superb winning performance in his 54th Moto2 start was no surprise after his impressive speed in practice and preseason testing at Qatar.
Franco Morbidelli: 1st
“This first victory is a great sensation after all this time, it is really amazing that I confirm that I am capable of winning races. My pace was really strong and I was pulling away from the others once I got ahead of Lüthi and had a clear track, so it did not feel like a difficult race. The main thing today was to bring to the track what I had in my mind, that I could win here after such a strong preseason of testing and practice in Qatar.”
Álex Márquez: 5th
“It was a drama free race but I struggled a lot from mid-race because from the warm-up I saw that today the track conditions had changed a lot. But I achieved my first objective which was to finish the race and we understand which areas to improve, both my riding style and set-up depending on the conditions.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“This is a great moment for our team because our last victory was at Valencia in 2015. Today was the day that Franco delivered on his potential by taking his first pole position and victory in this race. Franco’s rhythm was very impressive and with his pace this win was his for the taking. For Álex I am not disappointed he learnt a lot from this race and I am sure we will see him on the front row again and challenging for the podium in Argentina.”