Gardner second to Lowes in Qatar Moto2 GP

Remy Gardner. Picture: MotoGP.com

Remy Gardner has fought to a finish of second position, behind Sam Lowes, in the Qatar Moto2 Grand Prix.

Having qualified sixth, Gardner dropped as low as eighth on Lap 1 but spent more than half of the season-opening race circulating in second spot.

However, Lowes (Elf Marc VDS) always looked comfortable once he got to the front and ultimately took victory over the new Red Bull KTM Ajo rider by 2.260s after 20 laps around the Losail International Circuit.

Fabio Di Giannantonio made it a podium for the Gresini Racing Team in the first race after Fausto Gresini’s death, thanks to a final-lap pass on Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46).

Back at the start, Gardner emerged seventh from the opening corners before a Lap 1 battle with Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini) and Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team).

The Australian took sixth position off Di Giannantonio on Lap 3 at the Turn 10 hairpin and grabbed another spot off Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG) as they started the fourth tour.

Gardner was fourth when he got underneath Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta) on Lap 4 at the Turn 4 right-hander but lost the position when he had a loose run through Turn 9 and ended up wide at the next corner.

He re-passed Dixon exactly two laps after his first move on the Briton, and moved into the podium places in passing Bezzecchi exactly two laps later again.

Gardner was soon on the tail of his Red Bull KTM Ajo team-mate Raul Fernandez and, with the race leader by then more than a second clear in the distance, the Sydney-born rider opted for a block pass at Turn 6 on Lap 9.

Sam Lowes. Picture: MotoGP.com

The next target was Lowes, who dropped from pole to third at the start but regained one of those positions from Bendsneyder on the standing lap, then the other from Bezzecchi on Lap 3 at Turn 1.

As if to respond to the threat of Gardner, Lowes clocked the then-fastest lap as the Australian made his move on Fernandez, and the gap between the two generally remained around 1.3s for the next few laps.

The race leader put the hammer down with around half a dozen tours remaining and, but for a scare in the form of a penultimate lap track limits warning, the fight for victory was effectively done.

Attention therefore turned to the final step of the podium, and while Bezzecchi and Di Giannantonio both passed Spaniard Fernandez on Lap 18, the battle between the two Italians was not over.

On the final lap, Bezzecchi blocked at Turn 10 but Di Giannantonio fired Bike #21 up the inside through Turn 12 and ultimately prevailed in the drag to the line by just 0.013s.

Fernandez took fifth, from Roberts, Dixon, Marcel Schrotter (Liqui-Moly Intact GP), and Bendsneyder.

Jorge Navarro (MB Conveyors Speed Up) was first of the non-Kalex riders, finishing 10th on a Boscoscuro chassis.

Lowes’ championship lead over Gardner is five points ahead of another round at Losail, the Doha Grand Prix, next weekend (April 2-4, local time).

Race results: Qatar Moto2 Grand Prix

Pos Num Rider Nat Team Bike Time/Gap
1 22 Sam LOWES GBR Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex 40:03.123
2 87 Remy GARDNER AUS Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex +2.260
3 21 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO ITA Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex +5.228
4 72 Marco BEZZECCHI ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex +5.241
5 25 Raul FERNANDEZ ESP Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex +6.145
6 16 Joe ROBERTS USA Italtrans Racing Team Kalex +6.786
7 96 Jake DIXON GBR Petronas Sprinta Racing Kalex +8.721
8 23 Marcel SCHROTTER GER Liqui Moly Intact GP Kalex +10.911
9 64 Bo BENDSNEYDER NED Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team Kalex +12.493
10 9 Jorge NAVARRO ESP MB Conveyors Speed Up Boscoscuro +16.800
11 6 Cameron BEAUBIER USA American Racing Kalex +17.147
12 13 Celestino VIETTI ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex +17.289
13 44 Aron CANET ESP Inde Aspar Team Boscoscuro +17.527
14 37 Augusto FERNANDEZ ESP Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex +17.540
15 12 Thomas LUTHI SUI Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team Kalex +17.816
16 14 Tony ARBOLINO ITA Liqui Moly Intact GP Kalex +18.211
17 79 Ai OGURA JPN IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex +19.143
18 19 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA ITA Italtrans Racing Team Kalex +19.220
19 62 Stefano MANZI ITA Flexbox HP40 Kalex +25.806
20 5 Yari MONTELLA ITA MB Conveyors Speed Up Boscoscuro +30.664
21 75 Albert ARENAS ESP Inde Aspar Team Boscoscuro +30.708
22 11 Nicolo BULEGA ITA Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex +32.764
DNF 35 Somkiat CHANTRA THA IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex 1 Lap
DNF 97 Xavi VIERGE ESP Petronas Sprinta Racing Kalex 6 Laps
DNF 40 Hector GARZO ESP Flexbox HP40 Kalex 11 Laps
DNF 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN MAS NTS RW Racing GP NTS 11 Laps
DNF 7 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI ITA MV Agusta Forward Racing MV Agusta 14 Laps
DNF 42 Marcos RAMIREZ ESP American Racing Kalex 0 Lap

Race winner: 20 laps

Championship points

Pos Rider Nat Pts
1 Sam LOWES GBR 25
2 Remy GARDNER AUS 20
3 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO ITA 16
4 Marco BEZZECCHI ITA 13
5 Raul FERNANDEZ ESP 11
6 Joe ROBERTS USA 10
7 Jake DIXON GBR 9
8 Marcel SCHROTTER GER 8
9 Bo BENDSNEYDER NED 7
10 Jorge NAVARRO ESP 6
11 Cameron BEAUBIER USA 5
12 Celestino VIETTI ITA 4
13 Aron CANET ESP 3
14 Augusto FERNANDEZ ESP 2
15 Thomas LUTHI SUI 1
16 Tony ARBOLINO ITA
17 Ai OGURA JPN
18 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA ITA
19 Stefano MANZI ITA
20 Yari MONTELLA ITA
21 Albert ARENAS ESP
22 Nicolo BULEGA ITA
23 Somkiat CHANTRA THA
24 Xavi VIERGE ESP
25 Hector GARZO ESP
26 Hafizh SYAHRIN MAS
27 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI ITA
28 Marcos RAMIREZ ESP

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