Moto 2: Raul Fernandez Wins the Dutch TT in Assen

Published on June 27, 2021
By Jack Hammersley

It was a hard fought race with Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Raul Fernandez coming out on top

Unfortunately Hector Garzo’s race ended before it started due to testing positive for COVID-19 and wouldn’t be able to start from fourth on the grid and it bumped everyone up the grid by one.

It was Aron Canet who took the holeshot into turn one with Remy Gardner in second place and Raul Fernandez was forced wide giving Sam Lowes third place. Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Tony Arbolino crashed out of the race at turns five and seven on the opening lap. Sam was able to make a pass on Remy at turn nine, then taking the lead at the final chicane, but Canet retook the lead at turn one.

Remy was then able to overtake the Brit at turn three, also Raul Fernandez got sat-up by Moto 3 rival Ai Ogura at turn five, dropping him to sixth behind Augusto Fernandez, then Raul made a mistake at turn seven, dropping him to ninth place.

Gardner was able to pass Canet on lap two with Sam following on lap three at turn three. Ai Ogura took third place from Canet at turn nine, then Joe Roberts who had struggled a bit this weekend crashed out at turn nine, a disappointing end to the first half of the season for the American. Augusto was also able to pass Ogura at the chicane to enter into the top three.

Bo Bendseyder had to take two long lap penalties due to jumping the start. In the first four laps, Marco Bezzecchi was able to make his way up to ninth place as well as Xavi Vierge getting up to eleventh from 16th and 23rd on the grid.

Raul Fernandez overtook Ai Ogura at turn eight for fifth as he tried to close down on his team-mate on lap five. Sam Lowes tried a pass on Remy at the final chicane, the pair had comprised lines as they exited side-by-side and Augsuto Fernandez took advantage and took the lead from the two of them.

On lap seven Raul was able to get into fourth place, overtaking Canet into turn one. The ELF Marc VDS riders started to make a break on Remy Gardner, with the Brit getting the better of the Spaniard at the final chicane to take the lead at the end of lap seven, with Remy Gardner setting the fastest lap and was able to overtake Augusto at turn five after having a moment with the front tyre.

By lap 11, Raul Fernandez was able to set the fastest lap of the race and get onto the back of the front leading trio; Augusto Fernandez was able to make his way passed Remy at turn three on lap 12 after Remy adjusted his brakes as Augusto set his sights on regaining the lead from his team-mate.

Marco Bezzecchi had managed to get himself into sixth place by the halfway stage of the race within a three-way fight for fifth place with fellow Italian Fabio Di Giannantonio and Ai Ogura.

On lap 14, Augusto Fernandez made his move at turn one on his team-mate to take the lead, with Raul Fernandez also overtaking his team-mate at turn one to get into the podium positions. Then the front-three began to extend a gap over the championship leader, dropping the Australian by 0.6 seconds.

Raul Fernandez made his move on Sam Lowes at turn one on lap 16 to make it a Fernandez one-two as the two Spaniards looked set to battle for the victory. Also Marco Bezzecchi was able to make his way passed Fabio Di Giannantonio at turn one, with the Federal Oil Gresini rider crashing out at turn nine, ending what would have a solid top six finish.

On lap 18 Raul Fernandez took the lead at turn one getting a great run out of the chicane and out-braking Augusto to take the lead, with this Sam and Remy behind them closed in setting their personal best laps of the race. Sam Lowes got a great exit out of turn five to overtake his team-mate on lap 19 as he tried to not let Raul get away at the front.

Aron Canet was battling with Jorge Navarro for seventh position and unfortunately on lap 19 he lost the front at turn three to end his race before the summer break with a bitter taste.

Meanwhile Raul Fernandez was able to extend his lead at the front to over a second with four laps to go being the only rider lapping consistently in the 36s and setting the fastest lap of the race. Augusto out dragged his team-mate on the start finish straight on the start of lap 22, the Brit then looked behind to see where Remy was only to look the wrong way and Remy took third at turn two.

On the penultimate lap of the race, Remy Garder was able to overtake Augusto Fernandez at the final chicane to get into second place and start to ride very defensive in the first sector to stop the Spaniard from fighting back.

Raul Fernandez won the race by 1.5 seconds from his team-mate Remy Gardner, meaning that it was a fourth one-two finish for the Red Bul KTM Ajo Team this season. Augusto Fernandez got the better of his team-mate Sam Lowes to take his first podium for the ELF Marc VDS Team and his first podium since his victory at the 2019 San Marino Grand Prix.

Marco Bezzecchi rounded out the top five, another solid ride from the Italian. Ai Ogura finished in sixth, a great race for the Japanese rider who has made two costly errors at the end of races in the last two rounds, so a good way to end the first half of the season for the IDEMTISU Honda Team Asia rider. Jorge Navarro finished in seventh, with compatriot Xavi Vierge finishing in eighth. Marcel Schrotter finished in ninth and Celestino Vietti got back inside the top ten for the first time since Doha.

Somkiat Chantra finished in eleventh, with Albert Arenas taking 12th place, Stefano Manzi was 13th, with the Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team taking the final two points positions with Tom Luthi getting the better of Bo Bendseyder after Bo’s double long lap penalty.

Jake Dixon had to do a long lap penalty for an incident with Augusto Fernandez at the Sachsenring as well as another for course cutting the final chicane. The Brit was able to take 18th place, not the position Jake would have wanted to finish in, but he’ll be looking to relax and reset during the summer break.

So with the summer break now upon us, Remy Gardner leads the championship with a points tally of 184 points with a gap of 31 points over his team-mate and rookie Raul Fernandez. Marco Bezzecchi is in third place with 128 points and ELF Marc VDS’s Sam Lowes is in fourth with 99 points and Fabio Di Giannantonio rounds out the top five with 73 points.

It’s currently advantage Remy Gardner in the first nine races of the season, will the second half of the season follow suit?

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