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For the first time since Phil Read in 1971, a British rider has won three intermediate class World Championship races on the spin. Dominant Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was in a league of his own at the Gran Premi Liqui Moly de Teruel to take his third win in a row, seeing the number 22 take the title lead heading into the final three races. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Lightech Speed Up) finishes second, 8.4 seconds behind Lowes, with Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) relinquishing his title lead despite a second MotorLand podium.
From pole, Lowes got a perfect start and made the dream start. The holeshot was his as Jorge Navarro (Lightech Speed Up) made an awful getaway from P2 on the grid as Remy Gardner (Onexox TKKR SAG Team) grabbed P2. Di Giannantonio soon past the Australian though at Turn 5 and the fast-starting Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) was soon P3 from the third row of the grid. Lowes was powering off into the distance though. On Lap 2, Lowes gap was 1.5 seconds and continuing to rise over Di Giannantonio.
On Lap 3, Gardner and Bastianini were through on Dixon in quick succession, with Lowes’ lead up to 1.7 seconds. Drama then unfolded in the Championship chase, Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) was down at Turn 1 on Lap 4 in the top 10 fight and for the second weekend in a row, the Italian would pick up zero points – title chase over for the Italian?
Up front, Lowes’ lead was now at the two second mark, with Diggia 1.3 clear of Gardner in the battle for the final podium place. Bastianini past Gardner heading onto Lap 6 though with Dixon and Marcos Ramirez (Tennor American Racing) in hot pursuit. Lowes’ lead soared to 2.7 seconds heading onto Lap 7 with Diggia also showing cracking pace, the Italian was leaving Bastianini behind with seventh place Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Augusto Fernandez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP 40) joining the fight for fifth.
Nobody could get close to Lowes’ lap times. The lead was up to 3.6 seconds a third of the way through the race and it was going from bad to worse for one of his title rivals. Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) was down in P14 behind Joe Roberts (Tennor American Racing) and Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing), before Bo Bendsneyder (NTS RW Racing GP) then overtook the Italian and suddenly, Marini was P15 with 12 laps to go. Then, fellow VR46 Academy rider Stefano Manzi (MV Agusta Forward Racing) demoted Marini to P16.
Up front, Lowes was a comfortable four seconds ahead of Di Giannantonio, who was two seconds ahead of Bastianini – the same as it has been for the last handful of laps. In the battle for the top five, Fernandez got the better of Martin and soon after, Dixon cut underneath Martin at the final sweeping double left-hander. However, Navarro then grabbed P6 past Dixon and Martin as the slow-starting Speed Up rider was cutting his way back through the pack brilliantly. Sure enough, Navarro was past Fernandez and up to P5 with seven laps to go.
Back with your race leader, and the lead was five seconds with six laps remaining. Di Giannantonio was 2.8 clear of Bastianini, the Italian had his compatriot covered, with ‘The Beast’ in turn three seconds ahead of Gardner in fourth. The fight for fifth was electric between Navarro, Martin, Fernandez and Dixon, who were slowing creeping up to Gardner with four laps remaining.
Marini had made his way back up to P12 but was embroiled in a proper dog fight for the lower ends of the points – Manzi still hounding him. Up the road, Navarro and Martin took over half a second out of Gardner heading onto Lap 19 of 21, as Gardner faced a tough couple of final laps to keep his P4. The gap was 1.2 with two laps to go, Navarro’s pace was now the same as Lowes’ – that start properly costing Navarro a podium chance.
Lowes made no mistake in the final couple of laps to cruise to another victory, his third at MotorLand and a third of the season. The Briton was on another level and the new World Championship leader has a seven-point advantage heading into the final three races. Diggia crossed the line in a lonely P2 for his second podium of 2020, Bastianini couldn’t close the gap to his compatriot as the latter took P3 – his seventh rostrum of the year.
Gardner held onto P4 by just three tenths over Navarro as the Australian and Spaniard round out the top five. Martin took P6 as Dixon got the better of Fernandez in the latter stages to take P7, Fernandez settling for P8 at the chequered flag. Ramirez beats teammate Roberts by a second as the two American Racing riders finish P9 and P10 respectively. Two seconds behind Roberts was Marini, an 11th place sees the Italian drop 23 points off Lowes in the title race – a triple-header of races to forget for Marini.
Vierge, Hafizh Syahrin (Kipin Energy Aspar Team Moto2), Tetsuta Nagashima (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Simon Corsi (MV Agusta Forward Racing) completed the points.
Kasma Daniel (Onexox TKKR SAG Team) and Tom Lüthi (Liqui Moly Intact GP) crashed at Turn 1 unhurt, with Garzo, Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40), Edgar Pons (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Manzi joining Bezzecchi in riders who crashed out in Teruel.
Three wins from three sees a high flying Lowes take the title lead with just three races to go in 2020. Seven points split the British rider and Bastianini, with Marini and Bezzecchi losing a lot of ground in Aragon. A weekend off now follows before two Valencia races and the season finale in Portimao come thick and fast, as the Moto2™ Championship scrap looks set to go all the way to the wire.
1. Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS)
2. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Lightech Speed Up) + 8.425
3. Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) +10.871
4. Remy Gardner (Onexox TKKR SAG Team) + 12.657
5. Jorge Navarro (Lightech Speed Up) + 13.006
6. Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 14.766
7. Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 16.905
8. Augusto Fernandez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) + 17.027
9. Marcos Ramirez (Tennor American Racing) + 21.888
10. Joe Roberts (Tennor American Racing) + 22.951
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