The Championship leader does it again, pulling clear of his teammate for win number 2 of 2021
Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) capped off a week of headline-stealing – following a new MotoGP™ contract for next year – with another win in the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, going back-to-back for the first time in his career. That means, for the first time since Casey Stoner in 2005, an Australian has won two intermediate class races on the spin. Gardner’s rookie teammate Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took second, with Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) completing the podium, back on the box for the first time since 2018 and on home turf.
Gardner was able to get the start he would have wanted from pole, the Australian earning the holeshot as teammate Fernandez held P2 also. Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) likewise got a great launch and troubled Raul Fernandez at Turn 5, the Dutchman making a clean move stick before the number 25 was able to strike back at Turn 7.
Gardner was into a rhythm at the front but his teammate, with a bit of clear track in front, was able to slowly creep his way up to tag onto the back. Bendsneyder and Vierge were able to stay within touching distance of the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders though, with fifth place Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) 2.3 back from the race lead on Lap 10 of 22.
The lead then changed with 11 laps remaining. Raul Fernandez drafted Gardner down the straight, pulled alongside on the brakes and made a clean and concise move stick. Bendsneyder was still a close third, with Vierge and Bezzecchi less than a second down, as Gardner clung onto the coattails of Fernandez.
At the beginning of Lap 20, Gardner pounced. A late lunge at Turn 1 saw the Aussie cut past his teammate and a 1:44.399 helped him edge out a 0.6 lead. Heading onto the last lap, it was up to 1.1 and that sensational final trio of laps saw Gardner claim a second victory in a row, extending his lead in the title race over his teammate to 11 points as Raul Fernandez took second. Vierge fended off Bezzecchi to hand Petronas Sprinta Racing their maiden Moto2™ rostrum in third.
Bezzecchi threatened to steal the podium in the closing stages but it was P4 for the Italian, with Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) equalling his best result of the season in P5 – an important one for the Spaniard after good speed but bad luck of late. Bendsneyder faded in the latter stages but picks up a great P6, the Dutch rider 0.3s ahead of seventh place Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) after a solid race for the Brit, who needed a finish. Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP), Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) completed the top 10 in Barcelona.
Jorge Navarro (MB Conveyors Speed Up) missed out on a top 10 by less than a second in P11, with reigning Moto3™ World Champion Albert Arenas (Inde Aspar Team) having a good ride to end the day P12 on home soil. Tony Arbolino (Liqui Moly Intact GP), Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Tom Lüthi (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) were the remaining points scorers.
The Moto2™ riders return to put on another show at the Sachsenring in two weeks!
1 Remy Gardner – Red Bull KTM Ajo – Kalex – 38:22.284
2 Raul Fernandez – Red Bull KTM Ajo – Kalex – +1.872
3 Xavi Vierge – Petronas Sprinta Racing – Kalex – +2.866
Remy Gardner: “In the beginning I tried to break away but didn’t want to burn up the rear tyre so I was just trying to be smooth. I thought if I could break away like that perfect, but I saw it was half a second the whole time. I didn’t know who was behind but Raul made a push and I thought ‘alright I’ll follow you’. He wasn’t pulling away and I just sat behind managing the tyres. I knew I had a bit more in me, I had half the race to study him and I said to myself, ‘alright two laps to the end I’m going to pass him and just go for it’. I saw the opportunity at Turn 1 and went ‘alright, let’s do it’, put the hammer down and pulled away. Couldn’t be happier, another 25 points.”
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