Surgery to victory? No problem. The number 25 flies high to equal Marquez as a Moto2™ rookie, with Gardner doing good damage limitation in second
Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) pulled another sensational win out of the hat at Aragon, despite a crash at Silverstone leaving him on the back foot and a crash cycling for which he needed surgery on his hand just before the race weekend. Nevertheless, he dominated to equal Marc Marquez’ record of five wins as a Moto2™ rookie, with teammate and Championship leader Remy Gardner taking second. With that, Red Bull KTM Ajo wrapped up the Teams’ Championship, and the win was also their hundredth too. Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) completed the podium for another rostrum finish as he shows more good 2021 form, storming through from 12th on the grid.
Off the line it was Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) who held firm from pole from Gardner and Raul Fernandez, opening up an advantage of 0.6 on the opening lap as Raul Fernandez then passed title rival Gardner for second at Turn 12. Just behind, Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) grabbed P4 from Hector Garzo (FlexBox HP 40). The fastest lap of the race on Lap 2 for Raul Fernandez saw him cut Lowes’ lead to just 0.2, with Gardner sitting twice that down on his teammate, in third.
The number 25 then decided to attack for the lead at the beginning of Lap 4, with Gardner exchanging P3 with Ogura just behind. The Australian was having a scrappy opening handful of laps, wide at Turn 12 and once again conceding P3 to Ogura. Soon after, Garzo was also ahead of Gardner. It was a fascinating scrap the Aussie found himself in, but in getting caught up with the likes of Ogura and Garzo – who crashed at Turn 8 on Lap 5 – the gap to Lowes and Fernandez was up to 1.9s. By 10 laps down, Raul Fernandez was still holding Lowes at bay by just over a second and Gardner was over three seconds down on them, with Jorge Navarro (+EGO Speed Up) and Aron Canet (Kipin Energy Aspar Team) in hot pursuit.
On Lap 12, the first drama for a frontrunner: Marco Bezzecchi’s (Sky Racing Team VR46) quiet weekend came to a premature end at Turn 8, putting a dent in his standings. And then, after seeing Raul Fernandez stretch his lead to nearly one and a half seconds, a gift was handed to both Red Bull KTM Ajo riders as Lowes was the next to slide out. Rider ok, the Brit stacked it at Turn 7 with nine laps to go, leaving Raul Fernandez with a huge, six-second lead over Gardner.
Despite the pain barrier, the number 25 was unstoppable. Keeping that gap to the end, Raul Fernandez took his fifth win to take back to the top step in style, with the deficit to Gardner in the Championship down to 39 points as they swept the Teams’ title too.
In even more good news for Aki Ajo, future Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Augusto Fernandez took the final place on the podium. After starting 12th the Spaniard make good progress to slice his way up to the fight for the rostrum, with Navarro his final obstacle. The two had a good duel before the number 37 was able to just pull away to take that third.
Navarro nevertheless took another strong result in fourth, with Canet finishing three seconds down on the rostrum fight in P5. P6 went the way of Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), as newly crowned Moto2™ European Champion Fermin Aldeguer (+EGO Speed Up) claimed a stunning P7 – his best yet despite already having made quite an impression. Ogura faded slightly and took P8, with fellow rookie Tony Arbolino (Liqui Moly Intact GP) finishing P9 in a much improved race day for the Italian.
The experienced Simone Corsi (MV Agusta Forward Racing) rounded out the top 10, the Italian beating Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP), Marcos Ramirez (American Racing), Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team), Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) and Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) as they locked out the remaining point scoring positions.
That’s a wrap on MotorLand as the paddock packs up and heads to Misano for another showdown next weekend. Can Bezzecchi and Lowes bounce back? Will Raul Fernandez show the same incredible form? Or will it be another win for Gardner as he enjoys that 39-point lead? We don’t have to wait long to find out!
Raul Fernandez: “It was really difficult race, all this weekend. At the end I’m really happy, the race was really strong, I couldn’t do more with my hand, I couldn’t brake the last five laps. It was really difficult for me but I’m really happy to be here. I want to thank Dr Mir, his team, the Clinica, Alpinestars, my team and family I’m here because of them. Thanks everyone, and this victory is special because it’s my first one here in Spain, with the fans here and my friends. But especially because Hugo Millan’s family is here, this is for him. I’m really happy and this is for his family.”
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