Multiple Moto2 title contender Thomas Luthi made up eight places in Sunday's Qatar season-opener, but that was still only enough to cross the line in tenth.

After a solid winter, the IntactGP rider struck unexpected set-up issues during the grand prix weekend and was left just 18th on the grid.

"I'm definitely a little disappointed, that's for sure. I felt ready for the season and then it played a trick on us here in Doha," said the 12-time Moto2 race winner, who has been runner-up at Losail one year ago.

"We worked in the wrong direction for too long and then had to change completely for race day. Basically, we have to start all over again.

"The team did very well in the short term, but everything was a bit tight. After the difficult qualifying session, the starting position was not good. The result is damage limitation.

"I was not that far from the top and I had to get to know a completely new motorcycle. That was a mammoth task that I had to do today. I'm happy with the points, but I'm also happy with the experience we've had here.

"It is absolutely crucial that we learn from it and understand it. It could be a tool that will even give us an advantage in the future."

Team-mate Marcel Schrotter, on pole position one year ago at Losail, had suffered similar issues to Luthi but was at least able to salvage 13th in qualifying.

However, some early-race contact meant Schrotter dropped behind Luthi in the opening laps, before shadowing the #12 as they moved through the field.

While Luthi's progress began to stall, Schrotter continued his rise to reach seventh place at the chequered flag.

"I got off to a good start but on the exit of turn two, there was a touch," Schrotter said. "Tom passed me inside too. There was a lot of scrambling, especially with Di Giannantonio, which cost me a lot of time. We should have been aggressive, but with a little more brains. We both have the potential to be ahead.

"Nevertheless, I didn't have the pace as expected in the first laps. I felt no grip on the front wheel. Then I tried bit by bit to increase my pace. I got faster and faster and [eventually caught]. Unfortunately it took a while to get past him, but Tom is not one of the riding styles that is so easy to overtake and you don’t want to [tangle] with your own team-mate.

"I had a strong pace towards the end and four seconds behind the leader is ok. Seventh place is not a dream result, but overall we did a good job, did some good overtaking and ended up being the fastest on the track with Nagashima."

 

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