Jonas Folger lead the way over the finish line to seal his first Moto2 win at the season opener in Qatar, easing ahead after Johann Zarco's massive race lead vanished when a technical issue saw his bike appear to get stuck in gear, forcing him into a collision with the astroturf and the barriers on the pit wall.

AGR Team Kalex rider Folger eventually took the chequered flag over five seconds clear of his race long rival Xavier Simeon after pulling away on his own to gap the Belgian in the closing stages.

Gresini's Simeon equalled his best ever result in second, himself clear by almost seven seconds over the chasing pack.

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Tom Luthi (Deendinger Interwetten Paddock) took third completing an all-Kalex podium on his debut riding for the manufacturer after switching from Suter.

Luthi had been chased and caught by the pack battling for fourth and his experience kept him alert enough to block the move by top rookie Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40), who had carved his way up from a terrible start which had seen him fall to 16th on lap one, to challenge for a podium spot in his first Moto2 performance.

Franco Morbidelli was the best of the rest of that battling group, putting his Italtrans in fifth, just ahead of his team-mate, 2014 runner-up Mika Kallio, in sixth.

Sandro Cortese was next to take the flag in seventh for Dynavolt Intact GP, narrowly beaten to the line by Kallio as Zarco could only watch as he was swamped on the straight for a brave eighth for Ajo Motorsport.

The Frenchman had lead from the start, taking a commanding lead after his closest rival fell, before a technical issue saw something appear to drop down on his Kalex, leaving him unable to fight for position and lucky to finish after a clash with the barriers.

Louis Rossi was the first non-Kalex rider to finish, bringing his Tech 3 powered Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2 bike home in ninth.

Lorenzo Baldassarri slotted into the top ten for Athina Forward Racing and was almost caught by rookie Alex Marquez as he continues to improve for Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS after his own race long battle with Malaysian rider Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia), who took 12th.

The final points on offer went to Speed Up rider Julian Simon (QMMF Racing) in 13th, Taka Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) in 14th and Technomag Racing Interwetten's Dominique Aegerter, securing a point in 15th after a tough start to the season.

Lowes saw his crash record of last season come back to haunt him as, while easing away at the front with Zarco, he pulled wide and failed to recover, leaving his Speed Up in the gravel. After riding it back to the pits Lowes was desperate to continue but was forced to angrily retire as the damage was too extensive.

The Briton was among just a handful of riders to start on a different tyre option with a medium on the rear.

Sam Lowes' fall at the end of lap three was the start of a lap of carnage as the big names all tumbled on lap four.

Defending champion Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) followed seconds later after having the door closed on him by Simone Corsi (Athina Forward Racing), who only lasted a few corners more.

They were joined in the gravel by Luis Salom (Paginas Amarillas HP 40), who fell foul of a unrealistic overtake from Axel Pons (AGR Team) , who walked away holding his wrist. Ant West also later fell from his QMMF machine.