Our Wheelies 30 returns today with spot #23, which is occupied by Moto2 rider Thomas Luthi.
Having finished as runner-up to Johann Zarco in Moto2 in 2016, Luthi was considered one of the main favourites at the 2017 crown. The Swiss rider scored several podium appereances, but some bad luck and an injury at the end of the season ruined his chances to become World Champion. Once again, he ended the season with the silver medal around his neck.
Luthi kicked off the season with two 2nd places and one 3rd place in the first 3 GPs. Quite impressive we may say, but not impressive enough for Franco Morbidelli – who managed to win all of the opening 3 races. A tough Spanish GP followed for both championship contenders, as Morbidelli crashed out and Luthi crossed the line in P8.
Tom came back to the podium ways in the following four GPs, scoring a 3rd place finish in Le Mans and three consecutive 2nd place finishes in Mugello, Catalunya and Assen. Morbidelli’s win at Assen offered him a 9-point lead over Luthi ahead of the German GP.
The race at Sachsenring was filled with drama as Luthi, who led in the opening moments of the race, crashed out after being overtaken by Morbidelli, who eventually won the race.
Luthi came back stronger after the summer break and got his maiden win of the season after mastering the wet conditions of the Brno circuit. With Morbidelli only 8th, his championship hopes came back to life.
A second win was scored in Misano, again in wet conditions. After a close battle with compatriot Dominique Aegerter, Luthi had to be satisfied with P2. However, Aegerter was later disqualified due to oil infrigements, so Luthi was promoted to P1.
Only 4 points behind Morbidelli with 5 rounds to go, Luthi was more optimistic than ever. Unfortunately, these last 5 rounds turned out to be a total disaster for the 2005 125cc World Champion. It all started with a P4 at Aragon, a GP won by rival Morbidelli. After a P11 in Motegi, the championship began to fade away as Luthi finished only 10th in Australia, with Morbidelli on the podium in P3.
Everything concluded in Sepang, where Luthi was declared unfit for the race after a heavy crash in the qualifying session. He was diagnosed with a broken ankle and also missed the season finale in Valencia.
All in all, Luthi’s season was a very good one, and a second consecutive runner-up finish is a good way to say goodbye to the intermmediate class. Next year we will see Luthi racing in the premier class alongside Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS. He will share the garage with his 2017 rival, Franco Morbidelli.
photo credit – SoyMotero