Catalunya MotoGP: Yuki Takahashi wins action-packed Moto2 race
Yuki Takahashi won an eventful Catalunya Moto2 race this afternoon to claim a first win for the French-based Tech 3 Racing squad.
The former Scot Honda MotoGP rider had never claimed a Moto2 podium in the opening six races but a basic error by Andrea Iannone left Takahashi to cruise to an easy maiden victory in the new 600cc four-stroke class.
Takahashi’s fast start from the front row of the grid helped him avoid a multi-rider pile-up at the first corner instigated by Spaniard Alex Debon.
Takahashi took third place from Swiss rider Thomas Luthi on lap six and his hard charge continued as he moved into second by home favourite and reigning world 125GP champion Julian Simon on the next lap.
At the time Takahashi trailed Iannone by 1.9s as the Italian threatened another runaway success.
But Iannone, who dominated the recent Mugello and Assen races, was penalised for passing Takahashi under a yellow flag at the first corner while debris was still being cleared for the opening lap carnage.
All he had to was drop back into second but despite repeated messages on his pitboard he carried on and continued to streak away.
Having failed to move back a place in the allotted time, Iannone was given a pitlane ride through. He came into the pits at the end of lap 16 and dropped back to 17th. He eventually finished 13th.
Iannone’s departure from the lead left Takahashi 2.627s clear of the battle for second involving Luthi and Simon.
Simon took second place from the Interwetten Moriwaki rider on lap 19 at the first corner.
But Luthi got a superb drive out of the last corner on the final lap to claim second by just 0.163s.
It was Luthi’s fourth podium and he now trails series leader Toni Elias by just 17-points.
Spaniard Elias finished the race in fifth while Simon took third place in the overall standings with Qatar winner Shoya Tomizawa crashing out.
The Japanese rider had been caught up in a massive first corner pile-up but didn’t crash.
Mike di Meglio and Hector Faubel were two that weren’t so lucky as several riders were the victim of a rash move on the brakes by Debon, who only broke his collarbone last week in Assen.
There was also late drama in the race after a horrific crash on the start/finish straight.
American Kenny Noyes managed to hold off Carmelo Morales, who was standing in for the injured Axel Pons, in the battle for seventh.
But as they approached the line, Morales hit the back wheel of Noyes’ PromoHarris machine and he was sent hurtling down the track at high speed. He has been transferred to the medical centre for treatment but is conscious.
British rider Scott Redding has a miserable day as he retired with a mechanical problem on lap 12.