Race-winning Brit concedes title chances after disastrous San Marino race
Just when it looked like Dani Pedrosa was little more than a bum on a seat in the Respol Honda team than the wily Spaniard pops up and rides the wheels off his RCV to upstage everyone at the Misano GP. It looked for a while like Valentino Rossi was going to win in front of his adoring home fans, but he could not keep the mini rocket at bay. Although the much-loved Italian clawed another seven points back on title leader Marc Marquez, he was still frustrated that he was not able to win his home race.
Sam Lowes has now all but lost the fight for the 2016 Moto2 world championship, after yet another disastrous weekend that saw him crash out of fourth place halfway through the race. The mistake means that the Federal Oil Gresini rider has now dropped to fourth in the standings, trailing title rivals Alex Rins and Johann Zarco by over 50 points.
Struggling all weekend to find grip from his Kalex machine, the Brit was nonetheless able to up his game for qualifying, taking a second row start and looking like being in with a chance of fighting for the podium.
He backed that up with a strong start to the race, getting stuck into the battle for third and ensuring that fierce rival Zarco, demoted last time out in Silverstone for causing Lowes to fall, was behind him as he searched for valuable championship points.
But an error caused him to tumble from the race while battling with Franco Morbidelli. It meant he failed to score any points for the second race in a row.
“I had a problem with the quickshifter, and when I went into the corner the bike wasn’t quite in gear and when I came out it unsettled it and I tucked the front. It’s been a difficult weekend, some things out of our control and some out of the team’s control, which has been the story of the year.
“I can’t say what those issues are, but it’s a s**t situation. It’s controlled the results in a lot of races this year.
“We didn’t have the best bike for the race, but it wasn’t that bad – it was capable of a podium. Apart from Nakagami, who had a good pace, I was still faster than the other riders involved in the fight for third place, so I was determined to pass them to try to pull away.”
And to add insult to injury for Lowes,
while it might have been a bad race for him, it was a stunning success for title rival Alex Rins, who took a strong second place – and the title lead – despite riding with a broken collarbone.
Rins refused to let up on home favourite Lorenzo Baldassarri until a mistake on the last lap handed the Italian his debut win. The 2017 Suzuki Motogp racer has now clawed back 22 points on Zarco in only two races.
Rins said: “For sure I didn’t want to finish second, but Lorenzo braked later than I thought he would and I had to sit up! But I’m happy, because before Silverstone we thought the championship was over.”
‘I can’t say what those issues are, but it’s a s**t situation’ SAM LOWES
Losing the front at turn 15, Sam Lowes’ title hopes were left scattered in the Misano gravel Adding insult to injury, Lowes’ Gresini digs into the gravel and flips over
Lowes hits the deck the yellow flag as Sam Misano marshals ready