2021 FIM MotoGP World Championship
Round 15 – COTA Moto2
A stat to be incredibly proud of: Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) became the first rookie to win seven Moto2 races since Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) after claiming a third win in a row.
The Spanish rookie wonder was unstoppable at the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas as the intermediate class title race took a huge twist, with Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – the World Championship leader – suffering his first DNF of the season. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) earned podiums in P2 and P3 respectively.
Moto2 Race Report
To the delight of the home crowd, Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) led into Turn 1 from the middle of the second row, but the Moto2 rookie was in hot which allowed Gardner to swoop through into the lead. Raul Fernandez was soon P1 though, as Gardner then dropped to P4 after getting a miserable run out of the final corner heading onto Lap 2. Beaubier and Di Giannantonio were up to P2 and P3, but Gardner fought back by Lap 4.
Raul Fernandez was 1.5s up the road from Gardner, as drama unfolded for the latter. On Lap 6 at Turn 15, Gardner made his first major mistake of 2021. The Australian tucked the front and was unable to restart his Triumph Kalex, meaning the title race leader would score a DNF for the first time this season.
With 10 laps to go, Raul Fernandez held a 1.7s lead over Di Giannantonio, who had escaped the clutches of the battle for P3 between Bezzecchi, Beaubier and Tony Arbolino (Liqui Moly Intact GP). Beaubier and Arbolino then lost touch with Bezzecchi, with Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) getting the better of the pair.
Despite threatening to reel in Raul Fernandez on a few occasions, Diggia couldn’t do anything to stop the rookie sensation from taking a monumental victory at COTA. The number 25 has been outstanding all weekend in Austin, and his latest win – coupled with Gardner’s DNF – means the Moto2 title race is raging with three to go.
Di Giannantonio picked up a comfortable second ahead of Bezzecchi in third, with Augusto Fernandez clawing his way back up to P4, finishing just 0.9s off Bezzecchi.
Beaubier capped off a phenomenal home Grand Prix with his best Moto2 result in P5, a cracking effort from the American in Texas. Arbolino took P6 ahead of fellow rookie Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing), Marcos Ramirez (American Racing) and Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) completed the top 10.
Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team), Jorge Navarro (MB Conveyors Speed Up), Simone Corsi (MV Agusta Forward Racing), Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) were the final points scorers, with the likes of Albert Arenas (Inde Aspar Team) – who was taken to the medical centre for a check-up – and Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) crashed out of points positions.
Now only nine-points separate the Red Bull KTM Ajo duo. Three races to go, the momentum is with Raul Fernandez, as the second Misano instalment awaits but Gardner will be sure to come out swinging.
“Amazing. It was a really difficult race for the temperature, it was difficult to have a good feeling with the bike but we worked well during the weekend, and I’m very happy. This victory is for Dean, I have his number or he had mine, it’s for all of his family.”
Remy Gardner – DNF
“Unfortunately, we crashed today, and we were not able to finish. I was pushing really hard, and we had a good pace, but this is racing and sometimes we make mistakes. Of course, I will fight and give my all to the end.”
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