Moto2: Luthi in control as championship battle heats up

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Thomas Luthi has taken control on the opening day of Moto2 action at the Japanese Grand Prix as he and title leader Franco Morbidelli go head to head in the last four races of the year. The Swiss rider trails his Italian rival by 21 points with 100 left to play for.

Yet despite that it was the other Marc VDS rider who was closest to Luthi today, with Alex Marquez coming home in second in torrential rain conditions, setting his fastest time of the day in the opening session but failing to match Luthi in the end despite a crash for the Interwetten Kalex racer.

Miguel Oliveira was third on the Red Bull KTM, once again showing the strengths of the Austrian bike in its first season in the series, while wet weather specialist Hafizh Syahrin was fourth, just ahead of Morbidelli and fellow 2018 MotoGP graduate Xavier Simeon.

Francesco Bagnaia was sevenths, ahead of the Suter pair of Sandro Cortese and Dominique Aegerter, with Stefano Manzi rounding out the top ten. Brit Tarran Mackenzie, making his debut at the Motegi circuit, was 28th, three seconds off the leaders.

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer