Remy Gardner extends his championship lead, beating his team-mate on the last lap
It was the perfect start for Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Raul Fernandez taking the holeshot into turn one and set his sights on creating a gap. It was however a bizarre start for SKY Racing VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi who had a lot of wheelspin off the grid causing the Italian to swerve left and hampering his start. Also any hope of a top ten finish for Lorenzo Dalla Porta went up in smoke as he fell at the first corner.
It was a Red Bull KTM Ajo one-two at the end of lap one with Tony Arbolino in third, Jorge Navarro in fourth and Sam Lowes rounding out the top five, unfortunately for Sam’s team-mate Augusto Fernandez his woes continued as he crashed out of the race on the opening lap at turn ten; the Spaniard will be looking to reset for next weekends Catalan Grand Prix.
Sam Lowes then started to make his way through the riders in-front, overtaking Navarro at turn one on lap two, and replicating the same move on Tony Arbolino on the following lap. Fabio Di Giannantonio was also able to pass the MB Conveyors Speed Up rider on the second lap of the race, and it was starting to go downhill from their for Jorge Navarro.
Marco Bezzecchi fighting back through the field made his move on the Spaniard at turn one on lap three for sixth position with American Joe Roberts also taking Jorge on the same lap.
Sam Lowes then set a new race lap record of a 1:51.208 on the third lap of the race as he set his sights on the two Red Bull KTM Ajo riders. Fabio Di Giannantonio overtook his compatriot Tony Arbolino at turn one with fellow Italian Bezzecchi replicating the move on the following lap for fifth position.
Jorge Navarro’s race ended prematurely on lap five, losing the front at turn one, an absolute disaster for the Spaniard. Petronas Sprinta Racing’s Xavi Vierge was doing a good ride in seventh position before losing the front at turn 12 on lap six. By the end of lap eight, Raul Fernandez had managed to pull out a one second gap on his team-mate and looked to be extending the gap constantly.
On lap ten Sam Lowes made his move on Remy, with the two constantly changing positions in the first sector, with the Brit coming out on top and set his sights on race victory ahead. Also on lap ten Italtrans Racing’s Joe Roberts moved up into sixth place overtaking Tony Arbolino and aimed for the top five. Tony then conceeded seventh place to his team-mate Marcel Schrotter.
Federal Oil Gresini’s Fabio Di Giannantonio was running in fourth place, matching the pace of the podium runners, but made a small mistake at turn 15, losing the front and crashing out of a good points finish and could be a big blow to his title hopes.
From the moment Sam entered second position he was closing the gap to Raul Fernandez, getting it from 1.8 seconds to 0.9 seconds in two laps, with Remy staying on his rear. Sam continued to push as he got closer to the Spaniard, but disaster struck the Brit as he lost the front at turn eight; putting a huge dent in his title hopes as he left the two Red Bull KTM Ajo riders to duel it out for the win and championship lead.
Throughout the race a group of seven emerged featuring: Cameron Beaubier, Hafizh Syahrin, Stefano Manzi, Aron Canet, Fermin Aldeguer, Hector Garzo and Jake Dixon. With all seven riders jostling for position over the course of the race.
Marco Bezzecchi then ended up in a battle for the final podium spot with Joe Roberts, both riders were desperate for a podium, Marco to keep his championship hopes alive and Joe to get his first podium under his belt with the Italtrans Team. They swapped positions on lap 15, 19 and 20 and fought right to the line.
On the penultimate lap Remy got a great run out of turn nine and set up a move on Raul, but was not close enough to make the move. It seemed like the Australian would make his move at turn one like most had done during the race, however Raul had better straight line speed compared to Remy so it looked like Raul had the win covered. Remy had other thoughts as he once again had a great run out of turn nine and made his move on Raul at turn ten, making the move stick and just holding on to the win by 14 thousandths of a second.
It was also a photo finish for third place with Joe Roberts taking third place across the line in-front of Marco Bezzecchi by 0.017 seconds. However, a track limits transgression at turn five meant that Joe conceded the position to Bezzecchi, meaning the Italian got his third consecutive podium of the season and is 26 points from Remy Gardner in the championship.
Marcel Schotter crossed the line in fifth position, with Ai Ogura finishing inside the top six for the IDEMTISU Honda Team Asia rider and Tony Arbolino brought home seventh position.
In the seven rider battle, Cameron Beaubier was just able to out-drag Syahrin down the straight to take eighth place and Syahrin took a very impressive ninth place onboard the NTS RW Racing GP bike; Stefano Manzi rounded out the top ten for Flexbox HP40. Aron Canet, Fermin Aldeguer, Hector Garzo, Jake Dixon and Bo Bendseyder rounded out the last five points paying positions.
So with his victory, Remy Gardner extends his championship lead to six points over his team-mate Raul Fernandez with the two Red Bull KTM Ajo riders on 114 and 108 points. Marco Bezzecchi leaves Mugello with 88 points and will be desperate to take victory in Catalunya to close the gap down. With their DNF’s Sam Lowes and Fabio Di Giannantonio remain with their points tally of 66 and 60 and have a lot of ground to cover if they are to fight for the title.
Featured Image: motogp.com