Wheelies 30 – 23. Tom Luthi

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

 

Luthi to miss the Valencian GP

After missing the Malaysian GP and having his title chances destroyed in the worst way possible, Thomas Luthi will not come back on the grid for the last GP of the year.

During the qualifying session of the Malaysian GP, Luthi suffered a heavy highside. He was taken to hospital, where a fracture of the ankle was revealed. As a result, he did not start in the race and Franco Morbidelli was crowned as the new Moto2 World Champion.

The Swiss rider announced on a social media platform that he would undergo surgery during this week to fix the fracture and that this will force him to miss his last Moto2 race.

In 2018, Thomas Luthi will line up on the MotoGP grid alongside EG 0,0 Marc VDS. He will share the garage with his rival in the Moto2 title fight from this year, Franco Morbidelli.

Thomas Luthi is a former 125cc World Champion in 2005. In both 2016 and 2017, he finished in Moto2 as a runner-up.

photo credit – vincentguignet_photography

#21 vs #12 – All the scenarios that would make Morbidelli a World Champion on Sunday

Franco Morbidelli left Australia with a 29 point advantage over Thomas Luthi. Thus, the Brazilian-Italian has the first chance to matematically clinch the title this Sunday on the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. Below you can check all the scenarios from which would result the coronation of Morbidelli as the 2017 Moto2 World Champion.

— If Morbidelli wins the race, he will win the championship no matter on which place Luthi crosses the line.

— If Morbidelli finishes 2nd or 3rd, he will win the championship if Luthi does not win the race.

— If Morbidelli finishes 4th, he will win the championship if Luthi does not finish 1st or 2nd.

— If Morbidelli finishes 5th, 6th ot 7th, he will win the championship if Luthi does not finish on the podium.

— If Morbidelli finishes 8th or 9th, he will win the championship if Luthi does not finish inside the Top 4.

— If Morbidelli finishes 10th, he will win the championship if Luthi does not finish inside the Top 5.

— If Morbidelli finishes 11th, he will win the championship if Luthi does not finish inside the Top 6.

— If Morbidelli finishes 12th, he will win the championship if Luthi does not finish inside the Top 7.

— If Morbidelli finishes 13th, he will win the championship if Luthi does not finish inside the Top 8.

— If Morbidelli finishes 14th, he will win the championship if Luthi does not finish inside the Top 9.

— If Morbidelli finishes 15th, he will win the championship if Luthi does not finish inside the Top 10.

— If Morbidelli fails to score points, he will win the championship if Luthi does not finish inside the Top 11.

In tomorrow s race, Morbidelli will start from pole position, while Luthi will start from the 5th place on the grid. The Moto2 battle will commence at 13:20 local time (7:20 Romanian time).

photo credit – The Checkered Flag

Pasini case reloaded – Aegerter stripped of Misano victory due to oil irregularity

Kiefer Racing rider Dominique Aegerter clinched a resounding win in Misano one month ago in a soaking-wet race after a battle with compatriot Thomas Luthi.

However, at the post qualifying technical control held after the Moto2 qualifying session in Misano, Aegerter was found to have been using an oil outside the FIM specifications.

Aegerter attended a hearing with the FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel during the Aragon GP where he was informed about the results of the oil sample and he elected to have another sample tested.

Unfortunately for him, the second sample showed the same results as the first one. Aegerter was acknowledged of these facts during another hearing which was held in Japan. As a result, Aegerter was sanctioned with the disqualification of the entire San Marino GP event.

This decision gives Thomas Luthi his second win of the season. Hafizh Syahrin is promoted from 3rd to 2nd, while Francesco Bagnaia takes the last podium spot after having eventually finished 4th.

Of course, this decision is also reflected in the championship standings. Thomas Luthi is now 5 points richer, closing the gap to Morbidelli to 19 points (256-237). Alex Marquez and Miguel Oliveira do not gain any additional points as none of them finished the San Marino GP.

This is not the first time something like this happens in 2017. Before the summer break, Mattia Pasini was stripped of his 2nd place finish at the Catalan GP because of the same oil irregularities.

photo credit – motogp.com

Moto2 Motegi Preview – Can Luthi mantain his supremacy on the Twin Ring Motegi?

Franco Morbidelli arrives in Japan with a 21-point advantage over closest rival Thomas Luthi, who has established himself as a master of the Twin Ring Motegi due to his past performances. With 4 riders matematically in the title fight, a home hero at his final occasion to delight the crowd, few veterans searching for some past glory and some rookies looking to impress, the Moto2 Japanese GP announces to be one for the history books.

Tom Luthi is the en-titre winner at the track. The Swiss rider won here in 2016 after a duel with eventual World Champion Johann Zarco, a win that proved crucial in his dash for the runner-up spot. This year, Luthi already has control over that runner-up spot, but he will be looking for more as the championship lead is only 21 points away. He also triumphed here in 2014 and finished 3rd in 2011 and 2013. During his period in the lightweight class, Luthi scored a 2nd place finish in Motegi in the year in which he clinched his first and, up to now, only World Championship (2005). Will we see a repeat story in 2017?

Championship leader Franco Morbidelli was also on the podium here in 2016, having taken 3rd place from Takaaki Nakagami for a little more than one tenth of a second. The Italian will search for that podium again because, as he found out several times this year, his point lead is vulnerable ahead of an extremely constant Luthi. The Marc VDS rider arrives in Asia with good morale after the stunning win from Aragon, so we can expect Morbidelli to play an important role in the battle for the win.

Still with mathematic chances at clinching the title are Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Miguel Oliveira and Morbidelli s teammate, Alex Marquez.

The Portuguese currently sits 3rd, 91 points behind ”Frankie”, with 100 still up for grabs. Mission impossible for Oliveira some might say, but, in 2015, while in Moto3, he managed to take 69 points from Danny Kent across the last 4 races. Of course, Moto3 is not Moto2, 91 is not 69 and Franco Morbidelli is not Danny Kent, but, as we have seen many times in the history of the World Championship, anything can happen. Oliveira arrives in the Land of the Rising Sun after a great performance in Aragon, where he crossed the line in 3rd after having started from pole. Aki Ajo s rider is yet to take a win in the intermmediate class, but that win might come in the Asia-Pacific triple header, a period full of beautiful memories for him. In 2015, he scored two wins and one 2nd place across these 3 races.

As for Alex Marquez, the Spaniard sits 93 points behind his teammate. The younger kid of the Marquez family is travelling a rough period as he has gathered only 2 points across the last 3 GPs. His main goal will be to recover his 3rd place in the standings from Oliveira and to come back to podium ways on the track on which he scored his very first career win. That happened in 2013 in the lightweight class, when, after a hard-fought duel with current MotoGP title contender Maverick Vinales, A. Marquez walked away victorious for only 0.027.

Although these 4 men hold the headlines ahead of the week-end, for the Japanese crowd this race will be all about one man – local hero Takaaki Nakagami. This will be Taka s last representation in front of his home fans in the intermmediate class as from next year we will see him at the board of the LCR Team s Honda in the premier class. Out of the title fight and with a contract assured for 2018, Nakagami has no pressure at all on his shoulders and has all the reasons to bring the best out of him and push for the win – just like he did in Silverstone. Last year at Motegi, he missed out on the podium for less than 2 tenths of a second, so his motivation will be even higher.

Another one to definitely keep our eyes on is veteran Mattia Pasini. The ItalTrans rider came back to podium ways in Aragon. Having battled for the win with Morbidelli, ”Il Paso” fell short for just 0.145. This will surely motivate him even more ahead of the Japanese round, a GP that he has beautiful memories with. He won here in 2007 in the 125cc class after having started from pole position. Simone Corsi will be another interesting veteran to follow this week-end, as this is the venue where the 2008 125cc runner-up scored his very first career podium. This happened very long time ago, in 2004 more exactly, when Corsi battled countrymen Fabrizio Lai and Mirko Giansanti for the 2nd place. He crossed the finish line in 3rd.

Apart from veterans, it will also be much ”fresh blood” lining up with confidence on the Japanese grid. With the ”Rookie of the Year” title pretty much in the bag, Pecco Bagnaia will try to continue his good run of form, as Valentino Rossi s protegee has finished inside the top 5 on 4 of the last 6 races. Brad Binder is also showing signs of improvement, as the 2016 Moto3 World Champion locked out the top 5 in each of the last 2 GPs. Last year he finished 2nd in the Moto3 race, so there are many reasons for whom Binder should play an important role in the battle for top positions.

The Moto2 race is scheduled to kick-off at 12:20 local time (GMT +9) on Sunday.

photo credit – motogp.com

Masterclass from Aegerter as Luthi completes Swiss 1-2 in Moto2

Dominique Aegerter rode a perfect race in the intermmediate class today and got his second-ever career win. Thomas Luthi came in 2nd, taking important points from Morbidelli, while Hafizh Syahrin finished 3rd and came back on the podium after almost 5 years.

Franco Morbidelli was the early leader of the race, but, just like in Moto3, the rain caused a lot of crashes, and the championship leader was among the unlucky ones. He lost the front while leading the race and retired. Other riders who exited the race early on were Luca Marini, Lorenzo Baldassarri and poleman Mattia Pasini.

Dominique Aegerter took the lead following Morbidelli s crash. Miguel Oliveira was 2nd, but the Portuguese was overtaken by an extremely motivated Luthi, who had an unique chance of cutting Morbidelli s championship lead.

As Luthi was approaching his compatriot, Oliveira crashed and gave 3rd place to Hafizh Syahrin. The Malaysian rider was able to overtake Takaaki Nakagami and leave the Silverstone winner behind.

Luthi seemed able on numerous occasions to go past Aegerter, but that did not happen until Aegerter went wide. However, the Kiefer Racing rider regained the lead one corner later and did not let it escape his grasp anymore.

Aegerter crossed the line in 1st place, securing his first win since Sachsenring 2014. Luthi finished 2nd and took 20 vital points, while a very emotional Syahrin completed the podium.

Drama strike hard for Nakagami, the Japanese having crashed on the very last lap. Francesco Bagnaia took advantage and finished his home GP in 4th. Even more unluckier than Nakagami, Simone Corsi crashed in the very last corner, thus giving 5th place to Brad Binder. However, the Italian veteran came back on the bike and finished 8th, behind Sandro Cortese and Fabio Quartararo.

Khairul Idham Pawi once again showed his skills in the rain and finished 9th, a new personal best for him in Moto2. Jesko Raffin was another Swiss in the 10, while Nakagami crossed the line in 11th after getting back on the bike after his crash. Alex de Angelis took 12th, while the last points were snatched by Remy Gardner, Tetsuta Nagashima and Xavi Vierge.

Just like in Moto3, the list of retirements is very long. Apart from the riders already mentioned, other non-finishers were Edgar Pons, Jorge Navarro, Tarran Mackenzie, Joe Roberts, Isaac Vinales, Augusto Fernandez, Andrea Locatelli and Stefano Manzi.

In the championship standings, Morbidelli remains with 223 points. Luthi approaches significantly with 214, while Alex Marquez and Miguel Oliveira remain 3rd and 4th with 155 and 141 points, respectively.

photo credit – autobild.es

Alex Marquez sets the pace at Misano in FP1

The first free practice of the Moto2 category was dominated from start to finish by the Marc VDS duo. Alex Marquez set the fastest lap of FP1. Marc Marquez brother managed to do an excellent 1:38.205.

Behind him, Franco Morbidelli managed to end FP1 in second, two tenths behind his team mate. Dominique Aegerter completed the top three, while Thomas Luthi and Takaaki Nakagami managed to end in top five. Hafizh Syahrin, Mattia Pasini, Lorenzo Baldassarri, Fabio Quartararo and Miguel Oliveira were the others riders who classified within the top ten.

Before the end of FP1, Alex Marquez had a violent crash. Marc VDS rider appeared to be suffering a lot and was taken to Clinica Mobile. His presence for the second practice of the day is unknown.

FP2 of the Moto2 class will start at 15:10 CET.

 

photo – cilindrada.net

Victorie magistrală pentru Franco Morbidelli la Moto2

Franco Morbidelli reușește o noua victorie magistrală.

talo-brazilianul Franco Morbidelli s-a impus in cursa clasei Moto2 de pe Circuitul Americilor si și-a mărit avansul la general. El a fost urmat pe podium de Thomas Luthi si Takaaki Nakagami, cei trei repetând podiumul din Qatar.

Învingătorul a stat sub semnul întrebării doar in primele tururi, cand s-au perindat la conducere Morbidelli, Pasini si Marquez. Odata ce Morbidelli l-a depășit pe coechipierul sau, “Frankie” nu a mai cedat poziția de lider.

Alex Marquez a comis o greșeala ce l-a aruncat pe locul 4, fiind depășit de Tom Luthi si Mattia Pasini. In nota deja obișnuita, Pasini a pus-o jos, făcându-i loc pe podium mezinului familiei Marquez. Ritmul sau a scăzut însă si a fost prins si depășit cu ușurintă de Taka Nakagami. Din acel moment, cursa a intrat intr-o stare de acalmie, fiecare pilot rulând solitar pe poziția pe care o deținea.

Morbidelli s-a impus din nou, urmat de Luthi si Nakagami, ierarhie întâlnita si in etapa inaugurala de la Losail. Alex Marquez a terminat al patrulea, urmat de Dominique Aegerter, care a profitat de o ieșire larga a lui Miguel Oliveira, luându-i locul 5. Portughezul a trecut linia de pe locul 6, imediat in spatele sau terminând Simone Corsi. Top 10-ul a fost completat de Schrotter, Xavi Vierge si Luca Marini.

La general, Franco Morbidelli are maximum de puncte, devenind primul pilot din istoria clasei Moto2 care castiga primele 3 curse ale anului. Luthi rămâne relativ aproape, la 19 puncte sub pilotul Marc VDS. Locul 3 de astazi ii aduce lui Taka Nakagami locul 4 la general, pe japonez despărțindu-l 43 de puncte de liderul Morbidelli si 11 de Miguel Oliveira, care se situează pe 3.

 

credit foto: Marc VDS

Francesco Bagnaia lovește in ultimele secunde si incheie in frunte al doilea antrenament liber al clasei Moto2

Cu doar cateva secunde inainte de final, debutantul Peco Bagnaia a stabilit cel mai bun timp al sesiunii, înghețând cronometrul la 2:00.793.

Pe locul 2 s-a clasat Taka Nakagami, care a condus mare parte a acestei sesiuni, însă a trebuit in final sa se recunoască învins in fata lui Bagnaia.

Topul primilor trei a fost completat de Fabio Quartararo, un alt debutant, francezul fiind mai lent decat Bagnaia cu 0.087. Câștigătorul primului antrenament, Tom Luthi, a trântit motocicleta (scăpând nevătămat) si a terminat al 4-lea, fiind urmat, la doar 6 miimi, de italianul Luca Marini. Alex Marquez a fost al șaselea, topul 10 fiind completat de Baldassari, Simeon, Schrotter si Oliveira.

Ultimul antrenament liber al clasei intermediare va incepe maine, la ora 18:55, ora Romaniei.

 

credit foto: twitter.com

Thomas Luthi domina prima sesiune de antrenamente a clasei Moto2

 

Thomas Luthi s-a aflat in fruntea clasamentului de la inceputul sesiunii si pana la finalul ei. Timpul reper al elvetianului a fost un 2:00.422, timp ce nu a fost amenintat decat inspre finalul sesiunii, pe rand, de catre Franco Morbidelli, Taka Nakagami si Miguel Oliveira, dar fara succes.

Cel mai aproape a fost japonezul Takaaki Nakagami, al carui timp a fost mai slab cu doar 8 sutimi decat cel al lui Luthi. Portughezul Miguel Oliveira a fost aproape sa loveasca chiar in ultimul tur, pe care l-a inceput cu doua sectoare rosii, insa la final a trebuit sa se multumeasca cu locul 3.

Baietii de la Marc VDS au completat topul 5, Franco Morbidelli  devansandu-si coechipierul, pe Alex Marquez, cu 0.046.

Veteranul Mattia Pasini a fost al 6-lea, urmat indeaproape de Axel Pons. Desi a stat la boxe pe aproape toata durata sesiunii, britanicul Danny Kent a obtinut un timp destul de bun in puținul timp petrecut pe circuit, timp ce l-a clasat pe locul 8.

Cel mai bun debutant a fost francezul Fabio Quartararo, care a terminat al 9-lea. Topul 10 a fost completat de fratele multiplului campion Valentino Rossi, Luca Marini, de la Forward Racing.

Campionul en-titre al clasei Moto3, Brad Binder, nu reuseste inca sa se regaseasca dupa accidentarea suferita in presezon. El a incheiat abia al 18-lea, trantind motocicleta in finalul sesiunii, dar scapand fara o agravare a accidentarii. De notat diferentele foarte mici dintre piloti, evidentiate prin faptul ca primii 17 piloti au fost cu totii in aceeasi secunda.

 
credit foto – motorsport.com