Moto2 Qatar GP: Lopez Stuns in the Desert

After getting pole position yesterday at the Lusail International Circuit, Aron Canet cannot convert the best starting position into the win after taking too much out of the new Pirelli tyres early in the race. Alonso Lopez capitalised on his countryman’s poor start and was able to defend from a charging Barry Baltus towards the end of the race. The pair were joined on the podium by Sergio Garcia who carved his way through the field after starting in 18th place.

Lopez got a great start from the middle of the front row and moved to the front of the field as Canet fell down the pack like a stone, ending up in eighth place. There was a small amount of contact between Tony Arbolino and Manuel Gonzalez but not enough to cause either rider to crash or retire.

Ai Ogura also made a good start, gaining six positions on the first lap. But the big loser was Marcos Ramirez who lost eight places on the first tour of the circuit.

Canet was fighting with the field to make his way back to the front and by lap three he was back at the front of the field. The Spaniard had put himself in a good rhythm and was putting in fastest lap after fastest lap.

Albert Arenas and Arbolino made contact during the third lap and the Gresini rider was able to make it past the Italian rider. However, on the following lap Arenas ran slightly wide at turn one but Arbolino was preoccupied with Ogura coming past. Baltus also got past Arbolino.

Gonzalez took the lead of the race into turn one on lap five but Lopez made it back past.

Izan Guevera seemed to have an issue as he lost three places in one lap and ended up retiring the bike on lap thirteen.

Canet started putting in a lot of fast laps but Lopez made the decision to overtake Canet and reduce the pace at the front to look after the Pirelli rubber that was making its debut in the Moto2 series in Qatar.

On lap seven, Ayumu Sasaki crashed at turn one causing a yellow flag in the first sector.

Arenas ran slightly wide at turn one and this led to him being overtaken by Baltus.

On lap eight, it looked as though Canet may have taken too much out of his tyres when he was fighting through the field to make up the positions he lost because his lap times continued getting slower. Lopez and Gonzalez started to gap the pole sitter and Baltus started looking at ways to get past the Fantic Racing rider.

Baltus made the move at turn fifteen and was looking incredibly confident on his RW-Idrofoglia Racing GP bike.

Next up to pass Canet was Ogura who made the move on lap nine. Canet continued dropping down the field as his tyres seemed to run out of life.

Garcia made his way past Arenas for sixth place on lap nine.

Baltus was able to make up 0.7s up to the two riders at the front of the field, Lopez and Gonzales, during lap nine and started battling with them. On lap eleven, Baltus went past Gonzalez at turn one with a massive lunge. The Belgian rider had a slight twitch after losing the rear of his bike but was able to keep the position.

And Baltus didn’t stop there, he immediately got in the slipstream of Lopez but was unable to get through on lap twelve. The battle continued at the front of the field and this led to the chasing pack getting on the back of Baltus, giving him more pressure from behind.

On the following lap, Garcia was able to get past Gonzalez for third place at turn ten and was looking to be the strongest rider on the track in the final laps of the race.

Former race leader Canet had a complete tyre drop off by lap fourteen which could be seen by the incredibly slow lap times he was posting. This information will be useful for the Fantic Racing team as it shows that with Canet’s riding style, he cannot put a lot of load on the tyres at the start of the race and expect them to perform well at the end of the race, like a set of Bridgestone or Michelin tyres. It is worth noting that these tyres are similar to the ones that are used in the World Superbike Series.

Baltus, however, with a more aggressive driving style and being a larger rider may benefit from the Pirelli tyres being introduced as he seemed to keep life in the tyres until the end of the race. Even if he kept life in the tyre, he was still unable to make a move on Lopez even after setting up for many moves on the last two laps.

Lopez crossed the line in first place, followed by Baltus and a hard charging Garcia in third. Ogura just missed out on the podium after finishing in fourth, just ahead of Gonzalez and Marcos Ramirez. Joe Roberts finished the first race of the season in seventh place, four seconds behind his teammate but ahead of Arenas, Celestino Vietti and pole sitter Canet rounded out the top ten.

On his Moto2 debut, Deniz Oncu collected points but Fermin Aldeguer had a race to forget. He finished in sixteenth place just four places ahead of Arbolino.

Jake Dixon was declared unfit following a highside suffered on Saturday.

Feature image credit to: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

2024 Qatar Moto2 Grand Prix, Lusail – Race Results
Pos Rider Nat Team Bike Time
1 Alonso Lopez SPA Sync SpeedUp (Boscoscuro) 35m 45.595s
2 Barry Baltus BEL RW-Idrofoglia Racing GP (Kalex) 35m 45.650s
3 Sergio Garcia SPA MT Helmets – MSI (Boscoscuro) 35m 46.337s
4 Ai Ogura JPN MT Helmets – MSI (Boscoscuro) 35m 47.109s
5 Manuel Gonzalez SPA QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2 (Kalex) 35m 50.695s
6 Marcos Ramirez SPA OnlyFans American Racing Team (Kalex) 35m 50.915s
7 Joe Roberts USA OnlyFans American Racing Team (Kalex) 35m 54.653s
8 Albert Arenas SPA QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2 (Kalex) 35m 54.805s
9 Celestino Vietti ITA Red Bull KTM Ajo (Kalex) 35m 56.305s
10 Aron Canet SPA Fantic Racing (Kalex) 35m 56.474s
11 Somkiat Chantra THA IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 36m 0.661s
12 Jeremy Alcoba SPA Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team (Kalex) 36m 4.581s
13 Zonta Vd Goorbergh NED RW-Idrofoglia Racing GP (Kalex) 36m 4.633s
14 Bo Bendsneyder NED Pertamina Mandalika GAS UP (Kalex) 36m 7.933s
15 Deniz Öncü TUR Red Bull KTM Ajo (Kalex) 36m 8.163s
16 Fermin Aldeguer SPA Sync SpeedUp (Boscoscuro) 36m 10.815s
17 Senna Agius AUS Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP (Kalex) 36m 12.655s
18 Darryn Binder RSA Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP (Kalex) 36m 14.110s
19 Dennis Foggia ITA Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) 36m 15.694s
20 Tony Arbolino ITA Elf Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) 36m 15.951s
21 Filip Salac CZE Elf Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) 36m 26.798s
22 Diogo Moreira BRA Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) 36m 28.713s
23 Xavi Cardelus AND Fantic Racing (Kalex) 36m 28.780s
24 Mario Aji INA IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 36m 28.854s
25 Jaume Masia SPA Pertamina Mandalika GAS UP (Kalex) 36m 29.218s
26 Alex Escrig SPA KLINT Forward Factory Team (Forward) +1 lap
27 Xavier Artigas SPA KLINT Forward Factory Team (Forward) +1 lap
  Izan Guevara SPA CFMOTO Aspar Team (Kalex) DNF
  Ayumu Sasaki JPN Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team (Kalex) DNF


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