Tom Luthi takes wet Moto2 and moves to third in points table
On a track still soaking with the rain that had drenched the Moto3 race Thomas Luthi put on a masterful Moto2 display while many others crashed out of the French Grand Prix at Le Mans. The fallers included Red Bull Athlete Marc Marquez who fell on lap 10 while contesting the lead. Even more disappointing because he lost the championship lead to Pol Espargaro by a single point and is now just 2 points ahead of Luthi.
Well behind Luthi was Claudio Corti and though the Italian was closing towards the end he never threatened the Swiss. Corti eased slightly to finish 6 seconds astern after he saw what happened to Johann Zarco ahead of him. A further 6 seconds back was Scott Redding who had been a challenger for the lead early on.
In the closing stages the real excitement had been created by ex Rookies Cup champion Zarco. The local hero was way down in 14th place on lap 3 but the fastest man on the track. He kept up a great pace to climb through the field until he was bearing down on Luthi only to slide out of 2nd place on the 21st of 26 laps after closing the gap to a little over a second.
With Zarco gone the interest centred on the battle for 4th which was nail-bitting in the treacherous conditions. Andrea Iannone got the verdict ahead of Mika Kallio, Espargaro and Anthony West.
Louis Rossi sends the crowd wild with Moto3 win in the rain.
Le Mans local Louis Rossi was the fastest man not to fall and splashed his way to victory in his home GP while more likely winners including Hector Faubel, Miguel Oliveira, Maverick Vinales, Sandro Cortese, Luis Salom and Jakub Kornfeil all crashed out either while leading or right in the lead group.
The crash strewn race resulted in only 15 finishers, less than half the grid, and only 10 of those were on the same lap as Rossi who won by 27 seconds even as he eased off and waved to the soaked crowd. It was the 22 year old's 51st GP and he had never been on the podium before.
The other big winner was Cortese who managed to keep the engine of his Red Bull KTM going as he slid out of 2nd with only 3 laps to go. He got back on in 6th and stayed there to the flag, picking up important points over his main championship rivals Vinales, Salom and Fenati who all failed to finish. Cortese now leads by 12 points from Vinales.
In front of Cortese by 8 seconds at the flag was his team mate Arthur Sissis who rode a brilliantly measured race to take 5th while 3rd Red Bull KTM man Danny Kent retired early with water in the electrics.
Rossi had been with the lead group from early on and with the others crashing out was left a lonely leader who only had to maintain his concentration to claim victory. It was Alberto Moncayo who inherited 2nd and Alex Rins 3rd. Rins did have to work for the final podium place as he came under extreme pressure from ex Red Bull Rookie Niccolò Antonelli in the closing stages. Antonelli so nearly crashed on the final lap but miraculously recovered to take 4th.