Race report

Doha Moto2: Lowes holds off Gardner for second straight win

Sam Lowes fended off Remy Gardner to claim his second-successive win in 2021 in a tense Moto2 Doha Grand Prix, as rookie Raul Fernandez bagged his first podium.

Sam Lowes, Marc VDS Racing Team

Both Lowes and Gardner ran close on the final lap, but the former resisted pressure from the Ajo KTM rider to strengthen his championship lead.

Marco Bezzecchi jumped poleman Lowes off the line, with the VR46 rider keeping the Briton at bay across the opening lap as Ajo KTM rookie Raul Fernandez moved into third ahead of teammate Gardner.

Such was the pace of the leading quartet that they’d pulled a gap of 1.7 seconds to the rest of the pack by lap three.

Lowes made his move for the lead in the slipstream on the run to Turn 1 at the start of lap four, while Gardner put on a risky – but successful - raid for third on Fernandez at Turn 10.

The gap between Lowes and Bezzecchi immediately opened out to six tenths, with Gardner quick to dispatch of the Italian at Turn 1 on lap six to begin his chase of the lead.

Lowes didn’t look as comfortable on his Marc VDS Kalex as he did a week ago, but managed to hold off Gardner.

Having settled into his rhythm Lowes looked more at ease on his bike at mid-distance, though Gardner regrouped in the latter stages to put pressure on the leader.

Lowes responded to this threat emphatically, the Marc VDS rider firing in a race-best lap of 1m59.026s three tours from the end to open his lead out to over half a second.

Gardner dug deep to keep Lowes in his crosshairs, the Ajo rider improving on Lowes’ fastest lap with a 1m58.991s on the penultimate tour.

The pair ran line astern through the final corners of the race, Gardner looking at a move at Turn 15 but could find no way through.

Lowes covered his line on the way into the last corner, a small moment on acceleration for Gardner allowed the Marc VDS rider to get to the chequered flag 0.190s in front.

Fernandez took a comfortable maiden rostrum in third on the sister Ajo bike having seen off Bezzecchi, while Honda Team Asia rookie Ai Ogura was an impressive fifth.

Augusto Fernandez was sixth on the second Marc VDS Kalex, Celestino Vietti putting on another impressive rookie display in seventh on the VR46 Kalex ahead of Pons’ Stefano Manzi, Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta) and Gresini’s Fabio Di Giannantonio.

Joe Roberts (Italtrans) crashed out of fifth in the early stages of the race, while fellow American Cameron Beaubier slid out of his second Moto2 start for American Racing.

Petronas Sprinta’s Jake Dixon was involved in a collision with Intact GP’s Marcel Schrotter, while Tom Luthi (SAG), Aspar’s Aron Canet and MV Agusta stand-in Tommaso Marcon also crashed out.

Lowes heads to the third round of the season in Portugal in two weeks’ time heading the championship by 10 points from Gardner. 

Race results:

Cla # Rider Bike Time
1 22 United Kingdom Sam Lowes Kalex Moto2  
2 87 Australia Remy Gardner Kalex Moto2 0.190
3 25 Spain Raúl Fernández Kalex Moto2 3.371
4 72 Italy Marco Bezzecchi Kalex Moto2 6.789
5 79 Japan Ai Ogura Kalex Moto2 16.640
6 37 Spain Augusto Fernandez Kalex Moto2 16.887
7 13 Italy Celestino Vietti Ramus Kalex Moto2 17.254
8 62 Italy Stefano Manzi Kalex Moto2 17.283
9 97 Spain Xavi Vierge Kalex Moto2 17.515
10 21 Italy Fabio Di Giannantonio Kalex Moto2 18.167
11 14 Italy Tony Arbolino Kalex Moto2 18.180
12 64 Netherlands Bo Bendsneyder Kalex Moto2 20.696
13 9 Spain Jorge Navarro Boscoscuro B-21 22.016
14 19 Italy Lorenzo Dalla Porta Kalex Moto2 22.043
15 75 Spain Albert Arenas Boscoscuro B-21 26.266
16 40 Spain Hector Garzo Kalex Moto2 28.539
17 11 Italy Nicolo Bulega Kalex Moto2 29.310
18 5 Italy Yari Montella Boscoscuro B-21 33.150
19 35 Thailand Somkiat Chantra Kalex Moto2 39.838
20 7 Italy Lorenzo Baldassarri MV Agusta F2 44.961
21 55 Malaysia Hafizh Syahrin NTS NH7 56.123
  44 Spain Arón Canet Boscoscuro B-21  
  96 United Kingdom Jake Dixon Kalex Moto2  
  23 Germany Marcel Schrotter Kalex Moto2  
  12 Switzerland Thomas Luthi Kalex Moto2  
  6 United States Cameron Beaubier Kalex Moto2  
  10 Italy Tommaso Marcon MV Agusta F2  
  16 United States Joe Roberts Kalex Moto2  
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