The 2017 Moto2 Championship began two weeks ago under the floodlights at Losail International Circuit in Qatar. After fighting with rival Tom Luthi (CarXpert Interwetten), Franco Morbidelli got out front and was untouchable.The Italian Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS pilot went on to claim his first-ever Moto2, winning by 2.6 seconds ahead of Luthi.
Heading into round two at Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina, Morbidelli was a favorite, and qualified second behind Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Miguel Oliveira. Mobidelli wasted no time, and got the holeshot.From there he battled with teammate Alex Marquez, but the Spaniard crashed out on the final lap—just like his brother Marc Marquez did on lap three of the MotoGP.Morbidelli claimed the win by 1.683 seconds ahead of Oliveira, who claimed his debut Moto2 podium, and 10.551 seconds ahead of Luthi.With his win, Morbidelli has a perfect 50 points after two of 18 rounds, and leads Luthi by 14. In third, 17 points behind, is Oliveira.“This is an amazing feeling, two victories in a row, just incredible and I hope I can keep this momentum going,” Morbidelli says. “I was pushing really hard from the start and very quickly I saw that Álex was going very fast close behind so I was ready for the fight. With a lap to go I had + 0.3s and pushed even harder for the win and did not know Álex had crashed until I took the chequered flag. It was a pity his race ended like this.”Following is the official Moto2 recap:It was Morbidelli who got the holeshot, with the front row shuffling for position until the two Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders began to pull away and Morbidelli stoked up a lead. Marquez stayed on the chase, however, closing in steadily until dueling it out with a handful of laps to go. Fended off and settling back into second, the rider from Cervera put in the work to close in on the final lap once again – before dramatically high-siding out behind his teammate. Marquez picked himself up and made it to the line, finally finishing the race outside the points.Oliveira avoided the incident to take an impressive first podium in Moto2 for the Portuguese rider and first ever for the KTM chassis, with Lüthi the man to gain big from the drama up ahead as he took his second podium of the year in P3. Another expected key title contender, Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) suffered opposite fortunes, as the Japanese rider crashed out early on.Behind the drama up front, fourth was a solid ride from Forward Racing Team’s Lorenzo Baldassarri, with Tech 3 Racing’s Xavi Vierge impressing to complete the top five just ahead of Italian veteran Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing).Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) was top rookie in P7 in a tight midfield, just beating Dynavolt Intact GP rider Sandro Cortese to the line. There was another incredible rookie performance in ninth as reigning Moto3™ World Champion Brad Binder put in a stunner, still suffering with an arm injury and making it up from outside the top 20 on the grid.Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) completed the top ten, ahead of Marcel Schrötter (Intact Dynavolt GP), Luca Marini (Forward Racing Team), Jesko Raffin (Garage Plus Interwetten), Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) and Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), who scored his first points in Motow.The intermediate class now head for Austin, Texas, in two weeks for the third round of the year.
Hello everyone and welcome once again to the Ultimate Motorcycling podcast—Motos and Friends. My name is Arthur Coldwells.
Motos and Friends is brought to you by the Yamaha YZF-R7—Yamaha’s awesome supersport machine that is as capable on the racetrack as it is on the street. …and it’s comfortable too! Check it out at at your local Yamaha dealer, or of course at YamahaMotorsports.com.
In this week’s first segment, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the BMW K 1600 GT. This is the sporty bagger version of BMW’s K series of machines, those are the models with the awesome 6-cylinder engine. The GT has been given a little makeover for 2023, and Nic gives us his take.
In the second segment, I chat with one of my all time heroes—three-time World Champion racer ‘fast’ Freddie Spencer. I’ll do my best not to come off as too much of a fanboy here, but frankly it’ll be tough!
In my humble opinion, Spencer is a contender for the GOAT—greatest of all time. Sure, his career was a little shorter than some, and his number of championships falls behind the likes of Lawson, Doohan, Rossi, and of course Marquez. But at the time, Freddie literally changed the way motorcycles were ridden. 30 years before Marc Marquez, Freddie was able to push the front wheel into a slide, corner after corner, lap after lap in order to get the bike turned faster than anyone else. Freddie took completely different lines and was able to get on the throttle so early he could out accelerate anyone off a corner.
In the modern era, of course Freddie is the chairman of the FIM MotoGP Stewards panel. This is the panel of referees for all three classes of Grand prix racing. I talked to Freddie about his task there, and although for contractual reasons with Dorna and the FIM he cannot talk about specific riders, teams, or events, nevertheless his explanation of the job makes for interesting listening. It’s a tough job, and frankly I wouldn’t want to do it!
Actually—Ultimate Motorcycling is giving away five copies of the book—signed by Freddie himself—to the first five listeners who contact us with the correct answer to the question: How many national AMA championships did Freddie win, and which years were they?
Please email your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will contact the winners and send you a signed copy of Feel. Those five winners will be announced on a future episode. Unfortunately for legal reasons this offer is ONLY open to US residents.
So, from all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!