Moto 2: Remy Gardner Takes Fifth Win of the Season at Algarve
Remy Gardner puts one hand on the Moto 2 Championship as he wins at the Algarve International Circuit with Raul Fernandez finishing second
The sun was out, but the track temperature was the highest it had been all weekend. Raul Fernandez started on pole with team-mate Remy Gardner was second with Fabio Di Giannantonio in third. The two Red Bull Ajo riders were split in rear tyre options with Raul using a soft rear and Remy using the hard.
The lights went out and Raul led the pack into turn one with Gardner in second and Marco Bezzecchi in third, Aron Canet was fourth with Sam Lowes in fifth. The pack were tight into turn three with Cameron Beaubier nearly making contact with the Brit. Somkiat Chantra went down at turn 13.
Raul continued to lead the race, opening up a 0.5 second gap over Gardner, American Racing’s Beaubier made a block pass on Lowes at turn three to move up inside the top five.
Bezzecchi was able to get a run on Gardner down the home straight and made his move at turn one, not what the Australian needed as he had just set the fastest lap of the race and Raul could have the opportunity to get away.
Albert Arenas had a huge high-side out of the final corner to end his race with the out-going Moto 3 champion looking quite beat up.
Bezzecchi who like Raul was running the soft rear tyre set the fastest lap of the race and was catching up to the poleman. Meanwhile Beaubier had moved up into fourth place and looked to be on for his best finish in Grand Prix.
The front three had pulled a gap over the rest of the field with Beaubier heading the five-man pack for fourth place. Gardner was putting an impressive run of laps, going faster than both riders in-front of him despite his harder rear tyre.
Sam Lowes was able to use the slipstream and was able to out-brake the BOSCOSCURO of Aron Canet into turn one, he then passed Beaubier for fourth in the third sector.
Onto lap nine, Gardner used the draft from Bezzecchi to make his way into second place and now the chase was on for the man in first place, Raul Fernandez.
The SKY VR46 Racing rider was struggling to hold on to Gardner, making mutliple mistakes on the rear, losing the tow of the two riders in-front.
Jake Dixon was running in 16th place and unfortunately crashed out at turn one on lap 10. Remy Gardner was taking chunks of time out of Fernandez, taking half a second out of the Spaniard’s lead.
Jake Dixon’s team-mate Xavi Vierge then crashed at the same corner as Jake, both Petronas riders were out of the race.
Remy Gardner took the lead of the race, overtaking his team-mate at turn one, now it would be up to Raul to stay and re-take Remy to keep his title hopes in a good stand.
Cameron Beaubier had dropped to eighth place during the race, but by lap 14 he was in fifth place and set the fastest lap of the race.
Marc VDS’s Sam Lowes was the fastest rider on the track in the later part of the race, and was able to pass a struggling Bezzecchi who’s soft rear tyre was giving up and was falling into the clutches of Beaubier and Canet. Which did happen at turn five on lap 18, Marco’s tyre was pretty much gone.
Remy Gardner started the final lap of the race with a 2.3 second lead of Raul Fernandez with Lowes being 1.7 seconds behind Fernandez. Remy’s hard rear tyre choice had worked to perfection and looked to extend his championship lead to 23 points.
Remy Gardner crossed the line to win his fifth race of the season, Raul Fernandez was second with Sam Lowes in third. Aron Canet pipped Beaubier for fourth place, Celestino Vietti was sixth, Jorge Navarro finished in seventh with Marco Bezzecchi crawling to eighth place after being in race winning contention early on.
Augusto Fernandez finished in ninth with Marcel Schrotter rounding out the top ten. Fabio Di Giannantonio was 11th despite his front-row start, HP40 Pons’s Hector Garzo was 12th with his team-mate Stefano Manzi in 13th. The final two places went to Marcos Ramirez and Bo Bendseyder.
23 points separate Gardner and Fernandez, it’s Remy’s to lose at Valencia which takes place in seven days time, who will be the Moto 2 World Champion?
Featured Image: MotoGP.com