Morbidelli takes control of Moto2 title chase
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli has regained control of the Moto2 World Championship with a superbly judged third place podium finish at Phillip Island today.
This was Morbidelli’s 10th podium in 16 races in a season in which he has also scored eight victories.
The 22-year-old Italian now leads the championship by 29 points ahead of Tom Lüthi with just two races remaining. Morbidelli has 272 points with Lüthi on 243.
Morbidelli now has the potential to claim the world title at the next race in Malaysia where he only needs to finish with a 25 point advantage to be crowned champion.
The 25-lap race was run in a cool breeze with light rain showers making conditions difficult.
With a focus on championship points Morbidelli had set a target of finishing on the podium and he staged a long battle with Brad Binder behind eventual race winner Miguel Oliveira.
Morbidelli secured third place, just 0.8s behind Binder, on the penultimate lap when late race charger Takaaki Nakagami crashed out.
Álex Márquez recovered from a scary moment on lap three when he ran wide onto the wet grass at turn 11 and dropped back to 12th position.
But the Spanish rider then played a role in Morbidelli’s title chase by charging through the traffic to finish sixth and crucially taking championship points from Lüthi.
Franco Morbidelli: 3rd
“My target was to get a podium and try to be ahead of Tom Lüthi and score points for the championship and I was pushing hard for this in a long fight with Brad Binder. When Takaaki Nakagami crashed ahead of me I decided that it was the time to take the points for third, I didn’t know his position but I knew Tom was behind me. It was a very good weekend for me, I achieved what I set out to do.”
Álex Márquez: 6th
“I didn’t make a very good start and was trying to recover some positions when I ran wide and this mistake put me behind a lot of riders so it was a difficult race. I’m still not 100% fit after my recent injuries but I pushed hard and was able to overtake Lüthi and other riders to finally finish sixth. While this was not the best result it was a positive weekend.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“There were some nervous moments in the race with Franco was racing hard against Brad Binder but in the end he did a very good job towards the championship. Now Franco is 29 points ahead of Tom Lüthi and this is a very good position to be in considering we lacked some top speed at this very fast track. Álex was lucky to rejoin the race from being off the track on the wet grass and then he played a very good team game to push Lüthi back one place and take points from him.”