The Italian put in a stunner at Jerez as Bezzecchi bests some key rivals for second and Lowes gets back on the box in third.
Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) has come close before, but the Italian is finally an intermediate class race winner after a Moto2™ masterclass at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España. Getting a near perfect start from the front row, the Italian then pulled away for glory and left his rivals battling for best of the rest. Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) won that fight as the Italian took his first rostrum of the season in second, with Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) taking a solid third to get back on the box.
Di Giannantonio took the holeshot from the middle of the front row of the grid, squeezing ahead of poleman Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) on the brakes. Bezzecchi held third place on the first lap but then very nearly found himself in the Turn 6 gravel trap when he got it out of shape under braking, the Italian somehow missing Gardner’s rear wheel but running well wide to allow both Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) and Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) through.
It didn’t take long for remarkable rookie Raul Fernandez to move into the podium places too with a smooth move on the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team’s Fernandez into Turn 1. The number 25 then quickly closed on to the rear wheel of teammate Gardner, before disaster struck behind for Augusto Fernandez he crashed out at Turn 6. He was joined there by Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) as the front of the Italian’s Kalex washed way in a very similar crash.
At the front, Diggia’s lead had stretched out to 1.5 seconds as he laid down both searing pace and consistency, so attention switched to the fight for second and third, with Gardner having managed to get his nose in front of Raul Fernandez. Behind the pair of Ajo riders, Lowes was pushed back to fifth as Bezzecchi came steamrolling through. The Brit got himself back in front of the Italian but, into Turn 1, the Sky Racing Team VR46 man pulled off a carbon copy move to take fourth once more.
Raul Fernandez then pulled off a brave overtake on teammate Gardner to retake second, all the while Di Giannantonio was streaking further clear; 3 seconds his lead with 15 laps of Jerez left. It went from bad to worse for polesitter Gardner as Bezzecchi pounced on the Australian’s apparent struggles, nudging him down a further place to fourth. The Italian was on a charge as he looked to make amends after his early error running wide.
A mistake then came from Raul Fernandez as a serious bobble at the final corner forced him off line and gave a chance that Bezzecchi wasn’t going to turn down. The Italian moved through to second and got his head down in the closing stages as Gardner and Lowes started piling the pressure on Raul Fernandez in the fight for the final place on the podium. Only a handful of laps were left, and both Di Giannantonio and Bezzechi seemed comfortably clear in first and second.
A mistake from Gardner into Turn 6, whilst trying to find a way through on teammate Fernandez, then saw Lowes slice through and into fourth. Onto the penultimate lap and the fight for third was really heating up. Lowes elbowed Fernandez out of the way into Turn 2 as the number 25 started dropping back, sending the Spaniard wide and allowing Gardner to pounce too. The Australian was trying to apply some pressure to Lowes too but the Brit’s late-race pace was untouchable and third was his.
Di Giannantonio pulled a huge stand-up wheelie over the line to celebrate a maiden Moto2™ victory in style, with Bezzecchi and Lowes joining him on the Jerez podium. Gardner took fourth ahead of Fernandez in fifth, with the title standings taking a significant shuffle as a result. Heading to Le Mans in a fortnight, it’s still Gardner that leads the way but Lowes now sits only three points adrift, with Fernandez a further three back in third.
Petronas Sprinta Racing’s Xavi Vierge was pushed all the way by Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) for sixth place, with the Spaniard holding on by just over a tenth of a second to the best the Japanese rider to ten valuable points. Italtrans Racing Team’s Joe Roberts took the chequered flag in eighth, ahead of Inde Aspar Team’s Aron Canet in ninth. The fight for the final place inside the top ten was settled on the final lap when Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) crashed out whilst trying to find a way through on Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP), meaning the German took tenth.
Marcos Ramirez (American Racing), Jorge Navarro (Lightech Speed Up), Stefano Manzi (Flexbox HP40), Lorenzo Baldassarri (MV Agusta Forward Racing) and Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) completed the points. Albert Arenas (Inde Aspar Team), Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP40) and Simone Corse (MV Agusta Forward Racing) all crashed out.
That’s a wrap on the Spanish GP. Next stop Le Mans in two weeks, with the Championship remaining close as ever ahead of another classic venue.
1 Fabio Di Giannantonio – Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 – Kalex – 39:07.396
2 Marco Bezzecchi – Sky Racing Team VR46 – Kalex – +1.722
3 Sam Lowes – Elf Marc VDS Racing Team – Kalex – +2.229
Fabio Di Giannantonio: “I feel amazing, honestly it feels amazing to come back to first spot and take my first victory in moto2, I sweated a lot to get this victory in the last two years and now it came… wow. Amazing! The race was amazing and I made a fantastic start which I didn’t expect because always at the start I’m not so good, but I made a fantastic start and when I was there I just said, ‘ok do your rhythm and lines, enjoy the bike… 41.5/6 was coming quite easily so in the end just an amazing result, what can I say, just a big smile.!”
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