Gardner wins Moto2 championship with 10th at Valencia

Remy Gardner

Remy Gardner has won the Moto2 World Championship after finishing 10th in a Valencia Grand Prix won by his last remaining title rival, Red Bull KTM Ajo team-mate Raul Fernandez.

In what proved a nervous season finale for the Australian, he exceeded the minimum he needed to guarantee the crown would be his by just three positions, and that was after having to wait out an early red flag period.

Raul Fernandez simply had to win the race to give himself any chance at all of stealing the championship, and always looked a good prospect of getting that victory in the 16 laps which were run.

An upset looked quite possible when Gardner briefly dropped as far back as 12th, but it was not to be for the Spanish rookie.

A first attempt to run the race ended within a lap, when a red flag was called due to an oil spill.

The root cause was Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta) going down in the pack at Turn 2 and taking out Marco Bezzecchi (Sky VR46), whose Kalex was then hit by Lorenzo Baldassarri (MV Augusta Forward).

Raul Fernandez had already jumped from fifth on the grid to second spot after passing Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini) at Turn 2, with pole-sitter Simone Corsi (MV Augusta Forward) leading and Gardner a net unchanged eighth.

However, the field was put back to original grid order for the restart, with the contest shortened by nine laps from its original 25.

Corsi did not even make the second start, pitting at the end of the warm up lap with an apparent technical drama, and it was Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS) who led the field to the first corner.

Raul Fernandez followed his namesake in second position, ahead of Di Giannantonio, with Aron Canet (Inde Aspar) taking fourth from Jorge Navarro at Turn 2 (Termozeta Speed Up), but Gardner emerging in ninth position.

Augusto Fernandez and Raul Fernandez were quickly involved in a dice for the lead, and exchanged position multiple times on Laps 2 and 3.

Raul Fernandez was in front when Di Giannantonio overtook Augusto Fernandez on Lap 4 at Turn 4, but then the Italian came for #25 as well.

Di Giannantonio went down the inside of the championship contender four corners later, and Augusto Fernandez followed, although Raul Fernandez quickly reclaimed second position.

Further back, Gardner ceded ninth position to Navarro on Lap 5 at Turn 2, and saw off one attempted pass by Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS) but not the second, at Turn 6.

Former team-mate Tetsuta Nagashima (Italtrans) then caught Gardner in what became a battle for 11th, but his multiple attempts to pass the Australian on Lap 9 did not stick.

Gardner then closed in on Thomas Luthi (Pertamina Mandalika SAG), and when he got back in the top 10 with a move on Lap 11 at Turn 4, he made room for Nagashima to also take 11th from the Swiss rider.

Meanwhile, Raul Fernandez continued to tail Di Giannantonio, before pulling off a block pass on #21 on Lap 13 at Turn 2.

Augusto Fernandez was still close behind in third spot, but that was how they remained until they reached the chequered flag just under four laps later.

In the end, Raul Fernandez won by half a second from Di Giannantonio, with Augusto Fernandez less than three tenths further back at the finish.

Celestino Vietti (Sky VR46) took fourth, from Canet, Vierge, Lowes, Navarro, and Schrotter.

Gardner finished a full 9.1s away from the grand prix victory, but it was a sweet 10th position for the 23-year-old, Sydney-born rider.

The result left #87 with a margin of four points at the top of the championship standings, while Nagashima ended up 11th on the day.

Official pre-season testing for the 2022 campaign is set to take place at Portimao on February 19-21.

Gardner and Raul Fernandez, however, are on their way to MotoGP next year with Tech3 KTM Factory Racing.

Race results: Valencia Moto2 Grand Prix

Pos Num Rider Nat Team Bike Time/Gap
1 25 Raul FERNANDEZ ESP Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex 25:38.612
2 21 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO ITA Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex +0.517
3 37 Augusto FERNANDEZ ESP Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex +0.786
4 13 Celestino VIETTI ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex +2.393
5 44 Aron CANET ESP Inde Aspar Team Boscoscuro +4.978
6 97 Xavi VIERGE ESP Petronas Sprinta Racing Kalex +5.091
7 22 Sam LOWES GBR Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex +5.415
8 9 Jorge NAVARRO ESP Termozeta Speed Up Boscoscuro +5.808
9 23 Marcel SCHROTTER GER Liqui Moly Intact GP Kalex +7.941
10 87 Remy GARDNER AUS Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex +9.112
11 45 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA JPN Italtrans Racing Team Kalex +9.420
12 12 Thomas LUTHI SUI Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team Kalex +10.355
13 62 Stefano MANZI ITA Flexbox HP40 Kalex +11.898
14 42 Marcos RAMIREZ ESP American Racing Kalex +12.088
15 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN MAS NTS RW Racing GP NTS +12.361
16 96 Jake DIXON GBR Petronas Sprinta Racing Kalex +13.982
17 54 Fermín ALDEGUER ESP Termozeta Speed Up Boscoscuro +14.022
18 70 Barry BALTUS BEL NTS RW Racing GP NTS +14.145
19 35 Somkiat CHANTRA THA IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex +17.111
20 72 Marco BEZZECCHI ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex +19.273
21 6 Cameron BEAUBIER USA American Racing Kalex +19.426
22 75 Albert ARENAS ESP Inde Aspar Team Boscoscuro +19.608
23 14 Tony ARBOLINO ITA Liqui Moly Intact GP Kalex +19.986
24 11 Nicolò BULEGA ITA Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex +23.805
25 64 Bo BENDSNEYDER NED Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team Kalex +31.559
DNF 40 Hector GARZO ESP Flexbox HP40 Kalex 5 Laps
DNF 20 Dimas EKKY PRATAMA INA Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team Kalex 14 Laps
DNS 24 Simone CORSI ITA MV Agusta Forward Racing MV Agusta 0 Lap
DNS 7 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI ITA MV Agusta Forward Racing MV Agusta 0 Lap

Race winner: 16 laps

Championship points

Pos Rider Nat Pts
1 Remy GARDNER AUS 311
2 Raul FERNANDEZ ESP 307
3 Marco BEZZECCHI ITA 214
4 Sam LOWES GBR 190
5 Augusto FERNANDEZ ESP 174
6 Aron CANET ESP 164
7 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO ITA 161
8 Ai OGURA JPN 120
9 Jorge NAVARRO ESP 106
10 Marcel SCHROTTER GER 98
11 Xavi VIERGE ESP 93
12 Celestino VIETTI ITA 89
13 Joe ROBERTS USA 59
14 Tony ARBOLINO ITA 51
15 Cameron BEAUBIER USA 50
16 Bo BENDSNEYDER NED 46
17 Marcos RAMIREZ ESP 39
18 Somkiat CHANTRA THA 37
19 Stefano MANZI ITA 36
20 Jake DIXON GBR 30
21 Albert ARENAS ESP 28
22 Thomas LUTHI SUI 27
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 9
29 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA JPN 5
30 Alonso LOPEZ ESP 4
31 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI ITA 3
32 Barry BALTUS BEL 2
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
43 Dimas EKKY PRATAMA INA

Join the discussion below in the Speedcafe.com comments section

Please note: Speedcafe.com reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]