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Moto2: Luthi wins red-flagged race, Bradl denied
23 October 2011
Thomas Luthi claimed his first ever Moto2 grand prix win at Sepang in Malaysia, after taking the lead from title leader Stefan Bradl shortly before the race was red flagged.
The incident meant the race result was taken from the end of lap 17 of 19, just moments after Interwetten rider Luthi had taken the lead at the final turn of lap 16. Long time race leader Bradl thus lost not only the race win, but also the chance to be crowned champion with one round to go.
Bradl began the penultimate event of the season having regained the title lead by just three points from star rookie Marc Marquez in Australia.
But Marquez was ruled unfit to race due to injuries sustained when he was one of several riders to fall on the first lap of Friday practice, after marshals fail to provide warning of a wet patch of track (an error for which the organisers were fined 15,000 euros). The same incident left Tech 3's Bradley Smith with a broken collarbone.
With Marquez watching from the pits, Bradl had to win at Sepang to wrap up his first world crown and everything began well when he overtook debut pole sitter Luthi at the end of lap one and began to edge away.
But Luthi - chasing his first grand prix win since 2006 in the 125cc class - homed back in on Bradl during the middle stages, by which point the leaders were already several seconds clear of a multi-rider fight for third.
Bradl kept Luthi at bay for lap-after-lap, until the Suter rider finally lunged ahead under-braking for the final hairpin with three laps to go. The race was then stopped due to an accident for Axel Pons, who had to be carried from the track.
Pons has been taken to hospital for further checks but is reported to be conscious and to have escaped serious injury.
Bradl, visibly frustrated at learning he was classified second, will now take a 23-point lead over Marquez into the final round of the year.
Joining Luthi and Bradl on the podium was rookie Pol Espargaro (Speed Up FTR), who beat older brother Aleix (Pons Kalex) by 1.662sec.Race results:
1. Luthi (Suter) 17 laps
2. Bradl (Kalex) +0.187s
3. P. Espargaro (FTR) +7.465s
4. de Angelis (MotoBI) +9.127s
5. Aegerter (Suter) +11.494s
6. Kallio (Suter) +11.903s
7. Pirro (Moriwaki) +12.568s
8. A. Espargaro (Pons Kalex) +12.963s
9. Iannone (Suter) +14.098s
10. Redding (Suter) +16.697s