Barcelona Moto2: Gardner beats Fernandez in Ajo KTM duel

Remy Gardner extended his lead in the Moto2 points standing after emerging on top in a straight duel with Ajo KTM teammate Raul Fernandez in Barcelona.

Barcelona Moto2: Gardner beats Fernandez in Ajo KTM duel

2022 Tech 3 KTM MotoGP recruit Gardner lost the lead to Fernandez midway through the 22-lap contest but was able to repass the Australian to claim his second successive victory in the intermediate class.

At the start of the race Gardner pulled away cleanly from pole position, taking advantage of a battle between Fernandez and Bo Bendsneyder to escape at the front.

But it didn't take long for rookie Fernandez to put daylight between him and his SAG rival, and he soon found himself on the tail of Gardner's Kalex.

For the first half of the race two Ajo KTM riders circulated the track within half a second of each other, with Bendsneyder not running far behind in the final podium spot.

Finally, on lap 12, Fernandez made the move that had been in the making for a while, outbraking his more experienced teammate into Turn 1 to grab the lead of the race for the first time.

The battle for victory, however, wasn't far from over, with Gardner keeping Fernandez honest as they slowly started pulling away from the rest of the field.

With three laps to go, Gardner appeared to slot in behind Fernandez as they braked for the opening corner, only for the 23-year-old to dive down the inside and make what turned out to be the race-winning move.

Once back in the lead, Gardner was able to build a buffer of 0.6s over his teammate, before doubling that advantage on the next tour to start the final lap with a lead of over a second.

Fernandez had no answer to Gardner's pace on the final lap, the Australian easing to a third career win in Moto3.

Petronas Sprina's Xavi Vierge ultimately claimed third position after clearing Bendsneyder on lap 16, with VR46's Marco Bezzecchi - who jumped from 10th to sixth on the opening lap - also passing the SAG rider to secure fourth and reduce the points loss to the Ajo duo.

Augusto Fernandez was classified fifth on the lead Marc VDS bike, while Bendsneyder eventually finished two seconds off the podium in sixth.

Qatar and Doha winner Sam Lowes (Marc VDS) dropped to 12th in the opening laps but recovered to finish seventh, taking advantage of several incidents in front of him.

Intact GP's Marcel Schrotter, Honda Team Asia's Somkiat Chantra and American rider Joe Roberts (Italrans) completed the top 10, the last-named rising up the order in the second half of the race after dropping to 17th at one point.

Rising Japanese star AI Ogura (Honda Team Asia) crashed out of the race with three laps to go while running inside the top 10, suffering the second retirement of his rookie season.

A lap later Fabio di Giannantonio fell off his Gresini Kalex into Turn 1, taking an innocent Hector Garzo (Pons Kalex) along with him. This was the second collision between the two in a span of a month after the two also came together at Le Mans in May.

Race results:

Cla # Rider Bike Gap
1 87 Australia Remy Gardner Kalex  
2 25 Spain Raúl Fernández Kalex  
3 97 Spain Xavi Vierge Kalex  
4 72 Italy Marco Bezzecchi Kalex  
5 37 Spain Augusto Fernandez Kalex  
6 64 Netherlands Bo Bendsneyder Kalex  
7 22 United Kingdom Sam Lowes Kalex  
8 23 Germany Marcel Schrotter Kalex  
9 35 Thailand Somkiat Chantra Kalex  
10 16 United States Joe Roberts Kalex  
11 9 Spain Jorge Navarro Boscoscuro B-21  
12 75 Spain Albert Arenas Boscoscuro B-21  
13 14 Italy Tony Arbolino Kalex  
14 13 Italy Celestino Vietti Ramus Kalex  
15 12 Switzerland Thomas Luthi Kalex  
16 24 Italy Simone Corsi MV Agusta  
17 11 Italy Nicolo Bulega Kalex  
18 96 United Kingdom Jake Dixon Kalex  
19 6 United States Cameron Beaubier Kalex  
20 55 Malaysia Hafizh Syahrin NTS  
21 2 Spain Alonso López Boscoscuro B-21  
22 70 Belgium Barry Baltus NTS  
23 7 Italy Lorenzo Baldassarri MV Agusta  
24 62 Italy Stefano Manzi Kalex  
25 74 Piotr Biesiekirski Kalex  
26 81 Keminth Kubo Kalex  
  40 Spain Hector Garzo Kalex  
  21 Italy Fabio Di Giannantonio Kalex  
  79 Japan Ai Ogura Kalex  
  19 Italy Lorenzo Dalla Porta Kalex  
  42 Spain Marcos Ramirez Kalex  
  44 Spain Arón Canet Boscoscuro B-21  
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