Gardner closes in on Moto2 title with Portimao win

Remy Gardner. Picture: MotoGP.com

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Remy Gardner is just three points away from a Moto2 World Championship title after winning the Algarve Grand Prix.

Gardner dropped as low as third but overtook Raul Fernandez for the lead just past the halfway mark of the 23-lapper around Portimao, and they would go on to deliver a one-two for the Finnish squad.

It means the Australian need only finish 13th next weekend at Valencia to take the crown, given his margin over his team-mate at the top of the table is now 23 points.

Raul Fernandez led the field away from pole position, with Gardner second, and Marco Bezzecchi (Sky VR46) emerging third from the opening corners, ahead of Aron Canet (QuieroCorredor Aspar) and Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS).

Gardner started on the harder rear tyre and ran almost six tenths back from Fernandez, who started on the softer rear, for the first two laps.

Bezzecchi went down #87’s inside at Turn 1 at the start of Lap 3 and that was how the top three would remain for several laps, as they broke away from the rest.

However, Fernandez was also beginning to creep away from the two behind him, and when his lead moved beyond a full second on Lap 8, Gardner grew impatient behind Bezzecchi.

He would pick off the Italian under brakes at the start of Lap 9, and quickly set about turning the tide in terms of the margin behind #25.

The Sydney native hacked more than a quarter of a second out of Fernandez’s advantage on that lap alone, and had caught the Spaniard on Lap 11.

At the end of Lap 12, Gardner got a run on Fernandez and used the slipstream to make the pass for first position as they dropped into Turn 1.

Fernandez managed to stick with #87 at just a handful of tenths back for some time, before Gardner turned the screws.

He had increased the lead to 1.0s on Lap 20 and 1.5s just a lap later, before easing to a crucial, 3.0s victory.

Fernandez might have been in trouble had the race gone on much longer, given the rate at which Lowes was catching him in the latter stages, but did not seriously look like losing second spot.

Lowes took the final podium position after Bezzecchi faded dramatically.

Bezzecchi had begun to lose touch with the KTM Ajo duo almost as soon as Gardner had reclaimed second position from him, as he came to seriously struggle for rear grip.

The VR46 rider was about five seconds in arrears of the orange bikes when Lowes overtook him for third at Turn 3 on Lap 17, then ran wide at Turn 5 on Lap 18 to let Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) and Canet through.

Canet would subsequently overtake Beaubier and they went on to round out the top five, ahead of Celestino Vietti (Sky VR46), Jorge Navarro (Termozeta Speed Up), Bezzecchi in eighth, Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS), and Marcel Schrotter (Liqui-Moly Intact GP).

Race results: Algarve Moto2 Grand Prix Updated

Pos Num Rider Nat Team Bike Time/Gap
1 87 Remy GARDNER AUS Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex 39:36.275
2 25 Raul FERNANDEZ SPA Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex +3.014
3 22 Sam LOWES GBR Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex +3.899
4 44 Aron CANET SPA QuieroCorredor Aspar Team Boscoscuro +7.616
5 6 Cameron BEAUBIER USA American Racing Kalex +7.621
6 13 Celestino VIETTI ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex +10.021
7 9 Jorge NAVARRO SPA Termozeta Speed Up Boscoscuro +10.908
8 72 Marco BEZZECCHI ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex +11.586
9 37 Augusto FERNANDEZ SPA Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex +13.121
10 23 Marcel SCHROTTER GER Liqui Moly Intact GP Kalex +13.286
11 21 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO ITA Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex +14.614
12 40 Hector GARZO SPA Flexbox HP40 Kalex +25.538
13 62 Stefano MANZI ITA Flexbox HP40 Kalex +26.511
14 42 Marcos RAMIREZ SPA American Racing Kalex +27.225
15 64 Bo BENDSNEYDER NED Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team Kalex +28.345
16 54 Fermín ALDEGUER SPA Termozeta Speed Up Boscoscuro +28.412
17 24 Simone CORSI ITA MV Agusta Forward Racing MV Agusta +32.282
18 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN MAL NTS RW Racing GP NTS +35.387
19 12 Thomas LUTHI SWI Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team Kalex +39.184
20 14 Tony ARBOLINO ITA Liqui Moly Intact GP Kalex +43.803
21 45 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA JPN Italtrans Racing Team Kalex +43.432
22 11 Nicolò BULEGA ITA Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex +43.491
23 70 Barry BALTUS BEL NTS RW Racing GP NTS +45.847
24 16 Joe ROBERTS USA Italtrans Racing Team Kalex +54.350
25 74 Piotr BIESIEKIRSKI POL Pertamina Mandalika SAG Euvic Kalex +1:08.619
DNF 7 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI ITA MV Agusta Forward Racing MV Agusta 9 Laps
DNF 97 Xavi VIERGE SPA Petronas Sprinta Racing Kalex 13 Laps
DNF 96 Jake DIXON GBR Petronas Sprinta Racing Kalex 14 Laps
DNF 79 Ai OGURA JPN IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex 21 Laps
DNF 75 Albert ARENAS SPA QuieroCorredor Aspar Team Boscoscuro 22 Laps
EXC 35 Somkiat CHANTRA THA IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex 0 Lap

Race winner: 23 laps

Championship points Updated

Pos Rider Nat Pts
1 Remy GARDNER AUS 305
2 Raul FERNANDEZ ESP 282
3 Marco BEZZECCHI ITA 214
4 Sam LOWES GBR 181
5 Augusto FERNANDEZ ESP 158
6 Aron CANET ESP 153
7 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO ITA 141
8 Ai OGURA JPN 120
9 Jorge NAVARRO ESP 98
10 Marcel SCHROTTER GER 91
11 Xavi VIERGE ESP 83
12 Celestino VIETTI ITA 76
13 Joe ROBERTS USA 59
14 Tony ARBOLINO ITA 51
15 Cameron BEAUBIER USA 50
16 Bo BENDSNEYDER NED 46
17 Somkiat CHANTRA THA 37
18 Marcos RAMIREZ ESP 37
19 Stefano MANZI ITA 33
20 Jake DIXON GBR 30
21 Albert ARENAS ESP 28
22 Thomas LUTHI SUI 23
23 Hector GARZO ESP 16
24 Simone CORSI ITA 16
25 Fermín ALDEGUER ESP 13
26 Nicolò BULEGA ITA 12
27 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA ITA 10
28 Hafizh SYAHRIN MAS 8
29 Alonso LOPEZ ESP 4
30 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI ITA 3
31 Barry BALTUS BEL 2
32 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA JPN  
33 Manuel GONZALEZ ESP  
34 Yari MONTELLA ITA  
35 Tommaso MARCON ITA  
36 Miquel PONS ESP  
37 John MCPHEE GBR  
38 Fraser ROGERS GBR  
39 Taiga HADA JPN  
40 Xavi CARDELUS AND  
41 Piotr BIESIEKIRSKI POL  
42 Keminth KUBO THA  

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