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22 days ago

Classy Gardner goes back-to-back with Barcelona victory

It was another Red Bull KTM Ajo 1-2 as the teammate’s go head-to-head in Catalonia; Vierge returns to the rostrum in P3

For the first time since Casey Stoner in 2005, an Australian has won two intermediate class races on the spin after Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) expertly won the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya Moto2™ race. Gardner defeated teammate Raul Fernandez by 1.8s in another 1-2 finish for the Red Bull KTM Ajo’s riders, as Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) earns a first podium since Phillip Island 2018.

Gardner vs Raul Fernandez… again!

Gardner was able to get the start he would have wanted from pole position, 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 Raul Fernandez was able to strike back at Turn 7.

Gardner was into a rhythm at the front but Raul Fernandez, with a bit of clear track in front, was able to slowly creep his way up to the rear of his teammate’s machine. Bendsneyder and Vierge were able to stay within touching distance of the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders, with fifth place Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) 2.3s 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 Gardner cut past his teammate and a 1:44.399 saw him edge out a 0.6s lead on Raul Fernandez, and heading onto the last lap, Gardner’s lead was up to 1.1s. A sensational final trio of laps saw Gardner claim a second victory in a row, extending his lead in the title race over second place Fernandez to 11 points. Phenomenal yet again from both Red Bull KTM Ajo riders, as Vierge fended off Bezzecchi to hand Petronas Sprinta Racing their maiden Moto2™ rostrum.

The point scorers in Barcelona

Bezzecchi threatened to steal a podium away from Vierge in the closing stages, P4 for the Italian, with Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) equalling his best result of the season in P5 – an important result for the Spaniard. 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). 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.

Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team) crashed out in the early stages from a comfortable top 10 position, as Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Italtrans Racing Team), Marcos Ramirez (Italtrans Racing Team), and Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) – from P7 – crashed, riders ok. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP 40) went down together at Turn 1, thankfully both were ok.

So Gardner makes it two in two to stretch his overall standings advantage over rookie sensation Raul Fernandez, can anyone stop the Red Bull KTM Ajo pair in Germany?

Top 10:
1. Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
2. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 1.872
3. Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 2.866
4. Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 3.207
5. Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 3.899
6. Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) + 4.541
7. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 4.875
8. Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) + 15.973
9. Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) + 17.515
10. Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) + 19.838

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