Austin Moto2: Fernandez boosts title hopes with win, Gardner crashes

Raul Fernandez dominated the Grand Prix of the Americas to boost his Moto2 championship hopes after Ajo teammate and points leader Remy Gardner crashed.

Austin Moto2: Fernandez boosts title hopes with win, Gardner crashes

Breakout rookie Fernandez led all 18 laps of Sunday’s Moto2 race at the Circuit of the Americas and is now just nine points from the championship lead, after Gardner fell on lap six while trying to chase down the Spaniard.

Home hero Cameron Beaubier briefly snatched the lead from a season-best fifth on the grid, but ran wide at the opening corner and allowed Fernandez and Gardner through.

Beaubier, Gresini’s Fabio Di Giannantonio and Gardner began to engage over second spot, which gifted Fernandez a lead of a second by the second tour.

That advantage began to swell as that trio – soon joined by VR46 rider Marco Bezzecchi – battled hard over second.

Gardner eventually found a way through into second on lap four and quickly pulled away from the pack behind as he set about hinting down his Ajo teammate.

But Gardner blew the doors off the championship battle with Fernandez when he crashed at Turn 15 on the sixth tour – surrendering a comfortable points advantage of 34 coming into Austin race.

The Australian’s tumble allowed Fernandez to open up a lead of over two seconds at the front of the field, with Di Giannantonio now the one chasing him down.

While the gap at the front would come down to 1.5s at one stage as the race moved into its second half, Fernandez responded in the latter stages to grow that again to over two seconds.

Fernandez’s rhythm settled across the final tours, and he eased to the chequered flag to claim his seventh win of the season and third in succession.

That tally of seven wins equals that of Marc Marquez from his rookie Moto2 season back in 2011.

Di Giannantonio claimed a comfortable second, the Gresini rider marking his first podium since he was victorious in Spain back in May.

Bezzecchi rounded out the podium in third, with Augusto Fernandez the sole Marc VDS Kalex at the finish in fourth after teammate Sam Lowes retired with an electrical issues.

Beaubier (American Racing) held onto fifth for the best result of his rookie Moto2 campaign, with fellow debutants Tony Arbolino (Intact GP) and Honda Team Asia’s Ai Ogura trailing him.

Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta), the sister American Racing Kalex of Marcos Ramirez and Vierge’s teammate Jake Dixon completed the top 10. 

Results:

Cla # Rider Bike Gap Points
1 25 Spain Raúl Fernández Kalex   25
2 21 Italy Fabio Di Giannantonio Kalex 1.734 20
3 72 Italy Marco Bezzecchi Kalex 3.100 16
4 37 Spain Augusto Fernandez Kalex 4.061 13
5 6 United States Cameron Beaubier Kalex 5.381 11
6 14 Italy Tony Arbolino Kalex 7.577 10
7 79 Japan Ai Ogura Kalex 11.087 9
8 97 Spain Xavi Vierge Kalex 14.949 8
9 42 Spain Marcos Ramirez Kalex 16.051 7
10 96 United Kingdom Jake Dixon Kalex 18.278 6
11 44 Spain Arón Canet Boscoscuro B-21 20.679 5
12 9 Spain Jorge Navarro Boscoscuro B-21 22.738 4
13 24 Italy Simone Corsi MV Agusta 22.913 3
14 35 Thailand Somkiat Chantra Kalex 23.247 2
15 64 Netherlands Bo Bendsneyder Kalex 23.108 1
16 45 Japan Tetsuta Nagashima Kalex 27.006  
17 70 Belgium Barry Baltus NTS 28.086  
18 16 United States Joe Roberts Kalex 32.719  
19 62 Italy Stefano Manzi Kalex 37.542  
20 55 Malaysia Hafizh Syahrin NTS 39.658  
21 54 Fermín Aldeguer Boscoscuro B-21 40.685  
22 7 Italy Lorenzo Baldassarri MV Agusta 47.168  
  13 Italy Celestino Vietti Ramus Kalex    
  23 Germany Marcel Schrotter Kalex    
  75 Spain Albert Arenas Boscoscuro B-21    
  40 Spain Hector Garzo Kalex    
  22 United Kingdom Sam Lowes Kalex    
  87 Australia Remy Gardner Kalex    
  12 Switzerland Thomas Luthi Kalex    

 

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