The number 37 dominates but it’s a Red Bull KTM Ajo 1-2 as Acosta pips Lowes to third.
Augusto Fernandez dominated the Moto2™ Race at the Liqui Moly Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, slicing through to the front and then pulling away for a stylish second win of the season – and bringing himself within just 12 points of the Championship lead held by Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) as the Italian crashed out. Pedro Acosta made it a Red Bull KTM Ajo 1-2 after a great last lap duel against Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team), the Brit forced to settle for third but putting to bed a run of some bad luck.
Lowes was looking to end a run of five straight zeroes after he qualified on pole, and the Briton duly converted that starting position into the early lead. Home hero Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) came from fifth on the grid to emerge in second position in the opening corners of his home race, ahead of Fernandez, Albert Arenas (GASGAS Aspar Team), and Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team). Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40), meanwhile, dropped from sixth to 12th and Vietti from eighth to 10th.
Acosta moved into the top five when he got by Roberts on Lap 3 at Turn 1 and, after it looked like Lowes and Schrötter might break away from the pack, Fernandez took matters into his own hands. For three laps in a row, he went on the attack at Turn 3, getting Arenas on Lap 4, Schrötter on Lap 5, and then Lowes for the lead on Lap 6.
Near the end of that sixth lap, Acosta went underneath Arenas for fourth spot at Turn 12, and he was into the podium places at the end of Lap 7 after Schrötter had a big rear end moment as he opened the throttle exiting Turn 13. The German briefly dropped to fifth due to the near-crash but reclaimed one of those positions when he outbraked Arenas as they arrived at Turn 1 again, and keeping himself in contention for a rostrum finish.
Fernandez galloped to a one-second lead on Lap 8, and had doubled that in just three laps more. Lowes continued to run in second spot and Acosta in third, as Schrötter came under pressure from Arenas. By then, Canet had recovered as far as sixth position, but Vietti was having a much tougher task of it as he fought to try and get back into the top 10.
In fact, Vietti had slumped as far back as 14th when he was passed by Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team) on Lap 14, before Lowes handed second to Acosta when he had a moment at Turn 3. Meanwhile, Fernandez was not letting up and his gap over second place had grown to four seconds.
Still, the rest of the top 10 was hotly contested and Canet ceded sixth to Fermin Aldeguer on Lap 16. Three laps later, he had lost seventh position to Aldeguer’s MB Conveyors Speed Up teammate, Alonso Lopez. Then, it was one of Canet’s key rivals in the World Championship who relegated him another spot. Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), who only qualified 14th, had passed Vietti for 12th in a key move in the context of the title fight on Lap 5, was into the top 10 on Lap 12 before overtaking Canet for eighth on Lap 20 at Turn 1.
Aldeguer got into the top five by passing Arenas, but the next really big moment was Vietti dropping his VR46 machine at Turn 1. The Italian looked to have completed a pass on Gonzalez for 11th position at the start of Lap 22 but folded the front…
Meanwhile, Lowes and Schrötter were coming back into the reckoning for second and Lowes passed Acosta on Lap 25 at Turn 12, but Acosta hit back on the next lap at Turn 2. The Brit hit back at Turn 11, only for the rookie to respond once more with a pass at the very next corner.
All of that dicing turned a duel into a four-rider battle as Schrötter and Aldeguer closed in. The German got by Lowes at the start of the penultimate lap but the Marc VDS rider returned the favour at the end of it. It seemed like it could hardly get any closer but then it did get as close as possible – literally – when Lowes and Acosta had a touch as they ran from Turn 12 to the final corner on the final lap.
Acosta hung on to claim second at the chequered flag, 7.704 seconds behind teammate Fernandez but 0.140 seconds up on Lowes. Schrötter was only another 0.115 seconds behind again, just missing out on another home GP podium, and Aldeguer was close behind in fifth, too. He would then have three seconds added to his race time as he got a Long Lap penalty for track limits and there was insufficient time to take it, but it made no difference to the final outcome as the Boscoscuro rider was classified fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 were Arenas, Lopez, Ogura, Canet, and Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team). The rest of the points finishers were Jake Dixon (GASGAS Aspar Team), Gonzalez, Roberts, Cameron Beaubier (American Racing), and Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia).
In the World Championship, Vietti is still on top, but his gap over Ogura has been cut to just eight points – and Fernandez’s win puts him into third at only 12 points back from the Italian, with Canet now 17 points off the pace at the halfway mark of the season. Thatt makes the last round before the summer break all the more important, so make sure you don’t miss the Motul TT Assen on June 24-26!
Augusto Fernandez: “It was unbelievable. Honestly I felt like in practice….well, in the last few races I’ve been doing in the races what I’ve been doing in practice, just coming from the back! This weekend we fit all together, we put it all together in qualifying and we started from the front row, not the best start but then in the race I could do a very good pace. Thanks to all the team for an awesome bike and an awesome weekend. The season isn’t finished so we’ll keep going!”
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