Le Mans Moto2: Fernandez beats Gardner as Lowes crashes out

Ajo KTM Moto2 rookie Raul Fernandez converted a maiden pole to victory in a tense French Grand Prix as teammate Remy Gardner held onto his championship lead in second following a crash for Sam Lowes.

Le Mans Moto2: Fernandez beats Gardner as Lowes crashes out

After the preceding Moto3 race was run in damp-but-drying conditions, the Le Mans circuit had dried enough for the 25-lap Moto2 contest to be declared dry. 

Marco Bezzecchi jumped poleman Fernandez off the line on the run through the first corners, with Joe Roberts on the Italtrans Kalex maintaining third.

Aron Canet demoted Roberts down to third at the Musee hairpin, though the Aspar rider’s race would come to an end at the Chemin aux Boeufs esses moments later.

Bezzecchi was able to open up a lead of over seven tenths on his VR46 Kalex straight away, with Roberts moving ahead of Fernandez on the fourth lap to try and track down the Italian in front. 

However, Roberts would crash out at Chemin aux Boeufs on lap five, while Fernandez nailed his run through the chicane to pull off a pass for the lead on Bezzecchi at the Blue esses. 

Behind, championship leader Remy Gardner on the sister Ajo KTM survived contact on the opening lap and steadily worked his way into championship contention. 

Gardner’s contact was with Petronas Sprinta’s Xavi Vierge, who would be wiped out by title protagonist Lowes at the Garage Vert double-apex right-hander on the fifth lap.

Fernandez’s lead stayed around the one-second mark through much of the middle part of the race, though once into second teammate Gardner began to mount some late pressure.

Gardner’s route to second was handed to him on a plate when Bezzecchi ran wide at Garage Vert on lap 19.

Despite the attentions of his teammate, Fernandez responded emphatically in the closing laps to re-open his lead back up to close to two seconds. 

Fernandez would come under no pressure on the final lap on his way to the chequered flag to register his second win of his rookie Moto2 campaign. 

Gardner’s championship lead stands at one point after crossing the finish line in second, while Bezzecchi clung onto third despite late grip issues. 

Intact GP rookie Tony Arbolino fought his way from 19th to claim a season-best fourth ahead of SAG Racing’s Bo Bendsneyder, while Marcel Schrotter on the other Intact Kalex completed the top six after a late crash for American Racing’s Cameron Beuabier.

Honda Team Asia’s Ai Ogura continued the impressive rookie run, as the Japanese rider guided his Kalex to seventh ahead of Jerez winner Fabio Di Giannantonio – the Gresini rider forced to serve a long-lap penalty after contact with Pons’ Hector Garzo on lap seven.

Simone Corsi took his best result of the season in ninth on the MV Agusta, with Jorge Navarro completing the top 10 on his Speed Up machine.

Race results:

Cla # Rider Bike Gap
1 25 Spain Raúl Fernández Kalex  
2 87 Australia Remy Gardner Kalex 1.490
3 72 Italy Marco Bezzecchi Kalex 4.599
4 14 Italy Tony Arbolino Kalex 7.503
5 64 Netherlands Bo Bendsneyder Kalex 11.887
6 23 Germany Marcel Schrotter Kalex 27.829
7 79 Japan Ai Ogura Kalex 27.975
8 21 Italy Fabio Di Giannantonio Kalex 28.112
9 24 Italy Simone Corsi MV Agusta 28.204
10 9 Spain Jorge Navarro Boscoscuro B-21 28.432
11 19 Italy Lorenzo Dalla Porta Kalex 28.989
12 35 Thailand Somkiat Chantra Kalex 28.749
13 11 Italy Nicolo Bulega Kalex 29.316
14 42 Spain Marcos Ramirez Kalex 31.605
15 75 Spain Albert Arenas Boscoscuro B-21 32.080
16 55 Malaysia Hafizh Syahrin NTS 32.571
17 70 Belgium Barry Baltus NTS 33.309
18 7 Italy Lorenzo Baldassarri MV Agusta 39.036
19 96 United Kingdom Jake Dixon Kalex 41.069
20 13 Italy Celestino Vietti Ramus Kalex 45.599
21 10 Italy Tommaso Marcon MV Agusta 1'19.160
  6 United States Cameron Beaubier Kalex  
  12 Switzerland Thomas Luthi Kalex  
  40 Spain Hector Garzo Kalex  
  16 United States Joe Roberts Kalex  
  97 Spain Xavi Vierge Kalex  
  22 United Kingdom Sam Lowes Kalex  
  62 Italy Stefano Manzi Kalex  
  2 Spain Alonso López Boscoscuro B-21  
  37 Spain Augusto Fernandez Kalex  
  44 Spain Arón Canet Boscoscuro B-21  
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