EG 0,0 Marc VDS pilot Franco Morbidelli returned to his winning ways Sunday at the TT Circuit Assen, round seven of 18 in the 2017 Moto2 Championship.Morbidelli, who ahead of Assen had won four rounds but had to settle for fourth in Mugello and sixth in Catalunya, fought hard for the win.
When the 24-lap 2017 Assen Moto2 round was completed, the Italian would claim the win by 0.158 of a second ahead of CarXpert Interwetten’s Thomas Luthi, who claimed his sixth podium in seven races so far. Taking the final podium position was Idemitsu Honda Team Asia’s Takaaki Nakagami.With his fifth win of the season, Morbidelli has 148 points, 12 ahead of Luthi. Morbidelli’s teammate Alex Marquez—the younger brother of three-time MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez—is third with 113 points.Following is the official Moto2 Recap:It was a train of six at the front early on off the start, but Lüthi got the holeshot ahead of Morbidelli and Nakagami, with Miguel Oliveira slotting into P4. By the end of the first lap, Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Pasini were up into the fray, and the group started to pull away.Morbidelli pulled a small gap before Oliveira hunted him down to take over, with Pasini then moving through for second.The Mugello winner then tapped the rear of his bike to show he had the pace before proving the point as he attacked Oliveira for the lead, and the battle remained a true battle as the laps ticked down under the constant threat of rain – with elbows out and some incredible moments and moves exchanged.After the chaos it was Nakagami at the head of the race, determined to hold station after fighting off first Pasini and then Morbidelli.Lüthi fought back to prove the closest challenger with four to go, and the Swiss rider struck for the lead soon after – with Morbidelli following him through to shuffle Nakagami back into third. It was then fourth, then fifth for the Japanese rider as Pasini and then Oliveira pounced.Nothing was between the top five as the last lap came around, with Morbidelli pushing past Pasini at the final chicane into second – preparing a last attack on his key title rival in the lead: Tom Lüthi.The two points leaders were clear at the front for the final duel and the Italian struck early against the Swiss rider. Lüthi found himself just too far back at the final chicane, taking a solid second and another 20 points for his title push – leaving Morbidelli to take another stunning victory after recently announcing his graduation to the premier class next year.It was a dramatic fight to complete the podium, as Nakagami took Pasini and the Italian headed over the run off towards the line in some last chicane shenanigans emblematic of the TT Circuit Assen. Third at the flag but then demoted, Pasini was classified P4 as Nakagami pulled into parc ferme to complete the podium.Miguel Oliveira stayed out of trouble at the chicane to take fifth, with Alex Marquez then completing the top six after struggling with grip in the latter stages.Xavier Simeon (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) completed a much-improved weekend at the Dutch GP in an impressive P7, ahead of Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) in eighth. Fabio Quartararo (Pons HP40) had a fantastic weekend to come home top rookie in ninth, beating fellow debutant Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) over the line as the Italian took 10th.After some classic contests at the TT Circuit Assen, it’s now on to Germany for round nine of Moto2 – and the last before the summer break.
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!