Franco Morbidelli finishes eleventh at Motegi
The Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli continues to lead the coveted Rookie of the Year classification with teammate Tom Luthi finishing in twentieth position.
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Tom Luthi raced in clear and sunny weather at Twin Ring Motegi for the Japan Grand Prix, round 16 of the MotoGP World Championship.
Franco Morbidelli was boosted by the 12th fastest time in the warm-up in final preparations for the 24 lap race. The busy opening lap in heavy traffic saw Morbidelli move forward just one spot to 16th and settle into a rhythm with a strategy to challenge for the top ten. He came very close when he moved from 13th to finish 11th over the final two laps and move to 38 points to retain first in the Rookie of the Year standings.
Tom Luthi completed the warm-up in 22nd place and knew he faced a long race on the demanding 4.8 km circuit. A sharp start went unrewarded with the Swiss rider struggling for rear grip and feeling with the bike. From mid-race his rhythm improved but too late to make up time and he finished in 20th position.
The next MotoGP World Championship race will be held from October 26 to 28 at Phillip Island in Australia.
Franco Morbidelli: 11th, +25.931
“Finally in the race I was fast and arrived close to the top ten””
“We struggled for all the weekend at this track and unfortunately yesterday I smashed the bike in qualifying but finally in the race I was fast and could maintain good pace and arrive close to the top ten. I am very happy because this was a difficult track for us with lots of acceleration.”
Tom Luthi: 20th, +52.707
“I struggled with rear grip and getting temperature into the tyre”
“The problem was from the beginning of the race I could not build any feeling with the bike. My start was good, I had a good reaction time and got away fast and this was positive but then I struggled with rear grip and could not get temperature into the rear tyre and this cost me a lot of time to the guys in front. In the middle of the race the rhythm was good but by then it was too late.”