Moto 2: Raul Fernandez Takes Maiden Moto 2 Victory in Portimão
Rookie Raul Fernandez put in a sensational performance to take his maiden victory in the Moto 2 class in an action packed race
Marco Bezzecchi took the holeshot into turn one from fifth on the grid with poleman and championship leader Sam Lowes getting a bad launch off the start and highsided at turn one, ending the Brit’s hopes of making it three race wins in the first three races, a race that could be crucial in the championship battle.
Remy and Marco proceeded to battle for first position for the first five laps until Italtrans Racing’s Joe Roberts came into the fray and started to battle with Remy, giving Marco the chance to build up a gap of 1.2 seconds at the end of lap six.
Whilst there was battles at the front, Aron Canet started to make his way through the pack as well as Raul Fernandez, with both Spaniards getting inside the top five at the end of lap five. Also the strong weekend of both IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia riders came to an abrupt end with Ai Ogura having a massive front-end bobble at turn five causing him to collide into his team-mate, taking both riders out of the race.
The top five started to get closer together as Bezzecchi started to suffer with rear grip issues as the Italian had done at Losail. The SKY Racing VR46 rider led the race until Solunion Aspar Team’s Aron Canet made his move on the Italian at turn 14 on lap ten. This lead was short-lived however as Marco tried to overtake the Spaniard into turn one, causing both riders to go wide and letting America’s Joe Robert to inherit the lead of the race, coming from the third row of the grid.
Marco then started to drop down the field, with Remy Gardner emerging as the man to battle with Roberts and Canet. However, Remy started to make some mistakes an ran wide on a couple of occasions with a mistake at turn eight on lap 16 causing the Australian to drop to fifth position, allowing his team-mate Raul Fernandez into third position, who wasted no time to get to the two leaders, setting the fastest lap on lap 18 and starting his charge for victory.
Aron Canet made the first move, overtaking Joe at turn five on lap 19 in hopes of escaping the charging Spaniard, but Raul was also able to pass the American at turn one a lap later. Then made the race winning overtake at turn one on the very next lap; extending his lead to 1.6 seconds to take his maiden victory in the Moto 2 class.
The battle for the last two podium spots raged on as Remy Gardner challenged the former leaders on the last lap. Joe made his move on Canet at turn 11, but Canet instantly responded at turn 13 with Remy then sitting the American up at turn 14 to snatch the final podium position.
Augusto Fernandez rounded out the top five, coming back to some good form which the Spaniard will be looking to bring to his home Grand Prix of Spain. Marco Bezzecchi finished in sixth place, although again he’s not come away with a podium, it’s still consistent points for the Italian, but he’ll be looking to impress at Jerez to make his mark on the championship.
Petronas Sprinta Racing’s Xavi Vierge was able to finish in seventh position whilst his team-mate Jake Dixon suffered a crash at turn eight on lap 15, concluding a disappointing weekend for the Brit.
Hector Garzo has made improvements with his Flexbox HP40 Pons Kalex from Losail, finishing in eighth place; with Amerian Racing Team’s Cameron Beaubier taking his first top ten finish in ninth position, bringing home some good points and will be looking to continue this form at Jerez. Germany’s Marcel Schrotter rounded out the top ten, just beating Fabio Di Giannantonio and Lorenzo Dalla Porta.
Remy Gardner now takes the championship lead with 56 points, 4 points ahead of his team-mate Raul Fernandez with Sam Lowes in third place remaining with 50 points. Marco Bezzecchi is still in fourth place with 36 points, with Fabio Di Giannantonio holding fifth place in the championship with 27 points.
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