Luca Marini looked poised to make a perfect start to the 2020 Moto2 season, leading the way for most of the Qatar Moto2 race.

But the Sky VR46 rider will leave Losail pointless after a late drop in pace was followed by a collision at the final corner.

Marini held the advantage from laps 2 to 14 and briefly looked on the verge of breaking clear (pictured). But with six laps remaining he suddenly began to suffer front-tyre issues and was swallowed by the chasing pack.

The struggling Italian had dropped to 14th as he approached the final corner, when he was knocked from his Kalex during a pass by Jake Dixon.

Marini was initially seen holding his wrist, but was given the all-clear after medical checks.

"Not the ending I wanted," Marini said. "I had a great start, felt really comfortable and managed to set a great pace but suddenly I started to lose confidence with the front tyre and was forced to give up many positions. I could not do anything.

"Too bad for the crash on the last lap, I don't know exactly what happened. Fortunately, after a check at the medical centre I’m ok."

Dixon was quick to apologise for the contact.

"I didn’t realise Marini went down until we came in afterwards and I saw on the TV that me and him collided," said the Petronas rider.

"First of all, I want to apologise to him and his team because I didn’t intentionally try to hit him. As I committed to go I had to turn in and I had nowhere to go, so apologies to them and I hope that he’ll be all right."

Meanwhile, Marini's team-mate Marco Bezzecchi also suffered the same front-tyre problem.

"6-7 laps from the finish I started to lose faith in the front tyre, mainly on the right side," said Bezzecchi, who featured in the top seven but eventually finished twelfth. "A real shame for the whole team because Luca also had a similar problem."

"We need to analyse the data and understand exactly what happened," added team boss Pablo Nieto.

 

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