Bezzecchi wins Styrian Moto2 GP, Gardner throws away podium

Marco Bezzecchi. Picture: MotoGP.com

Marco Bezzecchi has won the Styrian Moto2 Grand Prix while Remy Gardner finished fourth after a late mistake at the Red Bull Ring.

Gardner extended his championship lead over Red Bull KTM Ajo team-mate Raul Fernandez to 35 points, but the margin could have been even greater had #87 not run into the gravel on the sixth-last lap of the contest.

That mishap gave Bezzecchi a reprieve, before the Sky Racing Team VR46 rider saw off late pressure from Aspar’s Aron Canet to take his first victory of 2021.

Canet ended up second and Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS) third, while Raul Fernandez slipped to seventh on the 25th and final lap.

The race began on a drying track and Gardner made a good initial launch from pole position but it was Bezzecchi going up his inside at the first corner to snatch the lead.

The Australian tried to strike back at the next braking zone, Turn 3 at the top of the hill, but ran long and instead dropped to third, behind Raul Fernandez.

Canet picked off Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) on the standing lap and would join the trio ahead in quickly breaking away from the pack.

As they did so, Gardner put a textbook move on Raul Fernandez at Turn 3 on Lap 2, before Canet got under the MotoGP-bound Spaniard at Turn 9 on Lap 3 to take up third.

Gardner was putting pressure on Bezzecchi when the Italian was slow off Turn 1 on Lap 7, but that allowed Canet to pass both of them up the hill.

The championship leader was a net unchanged second by the time they exited Turn 3, and hit the lead when he went down the inside of Canet, six corners later.

Raul Fernandez, on the other hand, ran wide off that downhill right-hander and dropped to seventh, behind Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS), Ogura, and Augusto Fernandez.

Gardner used his clear air to set back-to-back fastest laps, on Laps 8 and 9, while an increasingly ragged Raul Fernandez was issued a track limits warning.

Ogura got back ahead of Lowes on Lap 9 and then took the fastest lap mantle off the race leader as he went after Bezzecchi, who was still holding third spot.

Bezzecchi took over second when he went under Canet on Lap 15 at Turn 1, at which time Gardner was 0.9s up the road.

Ogura grabbed third spot with the same move two laps later, but Canet reclaimed it immediately, at Turn 3.

Bezzecchi caught up to Gardner and passed #87 on Lap 19 at Turn 1, handed the spot back when he ran wide at Turn 3, but passed him again at Turn 4.

As that was going on, Canet and Ogura went to war over third place again, but the latter managed to prise it away on that occasion, putting himself on for a maiden Moto2 podium.

Gardner seemingly outbraked himself at Turn 4 on Lap 20 and while he just avoided nailing the Italian on Bike #72, the Sydney native ran into the gravel and dropped back to fifth, one position ahead of Raul Fernandez.

Something of a reprieve came when Ogura soon copped a long lap penalty for exceeding track limits.

The Japanese rider was overtaken by Gardner on the run up the hill when he took his medicine on Lap 22, something which allowed Canet to inherit second spot and Augusto Fernandez to move into the podium positions.

Canet continued to represent a threat to Bezzecchi but ended up taking the chequered flag just over 1.1s behind.

Augusto Fernandez was a further two seconds back, while Gardner beat Ogura to the finish line by less than a tenth.

As it turned out, Ogura would subsequently be given a three-second penalty for shortcutting his long lap, but he had enough margin of Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) to hold onto fifth position in the classification.

Vietti had done Gardner a favour when he slipped under Raul Fernandez at Turn 9 on the final lap, with the top 10 rounded out by Somkiat Chanta (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta), and Marcel Schrotter (Liqui-Moly Intact GP).

Round 11 is the Austrian Grand Prix, also at the Red Bull Ring, next weekend (August 13-15).

Race results: Styrian Moto2 Grand Prix

Pos Num Rider Nat Team Bike Time/Gap
1 72 Marco BEZZECCHI ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex 37:29.460
2 44 Aron CANET ESP Aspar Team Moto2 Boscoscuro +1.171
3 37 Augusto FERNANDEZ ESP Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex +3.260
4 87 Remy GARDNER AUS Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex +3.856
5 79 Ai OGURA JPN IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex +6.922
6 13 Celestino VIETTI ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex +9.390
7 25 Raul FERNANDEZ ESP Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex +9.590
8 35 Somkiat CHANTRA THA IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex +12.217
9 97 Xavi VIERGE ESP Petronas Sprinta Racing Kalex +12.747
10 23 Marcel SCHROTTER GER Liqui Moly Intact GP Kalex +12.874
11 96 Jake DIXON GBR Petronas Sprinta Racing Kalex +13.532
12 19 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA ITA Italtrans Racing Team Kalex +14.071
13 21 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO ITA Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex +14.197
14 22 Sam LOWES GBR Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex +14.536
15 75 Albert ARENAS ESP Aspar Team Moto2 Boscoscuro +18.616
16 12 Thomas LUTHI SUI Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team Kalex +19.378
17 14 Tony ARBOLINO ITA Liqui Moly Intact GP Kalex +19.660
18 62 Stefano MANZI ITA Flexbox HP40 Kalex +22.467
19 42 Marcos RAMIREZ ESP American Racing Kalex +22.762
20 9 Jorge NAVARRO ESP Lightech Speed Up Boscoscuro +25.267
21 7 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI ITA MV Agusta Forward Racing MV Agusta +30.121
22 11 Nicolò BULEGA ITA Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex +37.544
23 64 Bo BENDSNEYDER NED Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team Kalex +38.095
24 5 Yari MONTELLA ITA Lightech Speed Up Boscoscuro +39.007
25 24 Simone CORSI ITA MV Agusta Forward Racing MV Agusta 2 Laps
DNF 6 Cameron BEAUBIER USA American Racing Kalex 6 Laps
DNF 40 Hector GARZO ESP Flexbox HP40 Kalex 8 Laps
DNF 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN MAS NTS RW Racing GP NTS 16 Laps
DNF 16 Joe ROBERTS USA Italtrans Racing Team Kalex 16 Laps
DNF 70 Barry BALTUS BEL NTS RW Racing GP NTS 24 Laps

Race winner: 25 laps

Championship points

Pos Rider Nat Pts
1 Remy GARDNER AUS 197
2 Raul FERNANDEZ ESP 162
3 Marco BEZZECCHI ITA 153
4 Sam LOWES GBR 101
5 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO ITA 76
6 Aron CANET ESP 75
7 Marcel SCHROTTER GER 72
8 Augusto FERNANDEZ ESP 66
9 Ai OGURA JPN 60
10 Xavi VIERGE ESP 57
11 Joe ROBERTS USA 50
12 Jorge NAVARRO ESP 42
13 Bo BENDSNEYDER NED 39
14 Celestino VIETTI ITA 32
15 Tony ARBOLINO ITA 30
16 Cameron BEAUBIER USA 26
17 Somkiat CHANTRA THA 24
18 Albert ARENAS ESP 23
19 Stefano MANZI ITA 20
20 Jake DIXON GBR 16
21 Marcos RAMIREZ ESP 16
22 Hector GARZO ESP 11
23 Nicolò BULEGA ITA 10
24 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA ITA 10
25 Hafizh SYAHRIN MAS 8
26 Simone CORSI ITA 7
27 Alonso LOPEZ ESP 4
28 Fermín ALDEGUER ESP 4
29 Thomas LUTHI SUI 4
30 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI ITA 3
31 Barry BALTUS BEL 2
32 Yari MONTELLA ITA
33 Tommaso MARCON ITA
34 Miquel PONS ESP
35 Fraser ROGERS GBR
36 Manuel GONZALEZ ESP
37 Taiga HADA JPN
38 Piotr BIESIEKIRSKI POL
39 Keminth KUBO THA

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