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23 days ago
By motogp.com

One hand on the crown: Gardner faces down the finale

The Australian has a 23-point lead and arrives after the race of his life. Can he wrap it up in Valencia?

There have been a number of key moments throughout the 2021 Moto2™ season, but none as big as the last two races. A crash for Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) out the lead in Emilia-Romagna and then a win for Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) on the Algarve, despite a crash for the Australian earlier in the weekend that left him bruised, have set up a final showdown that sees Gardner arrive with a huge 23-point lead. With Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) so close to taking on Raul Fernandez on the final lap in Portugal, the Brit could have decided the title for those ahead of him then and there as well. But he didn't, and instead we take on the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, with Gardner arriving with a big lead and on the back of a serious statement win last time out.

Moto2™ title leader Gardner crashes hard in FP2

In pain and having not taken to the top step since Silverstone - during which time his teammate took three wins - if there was a moment for Gardner to crumble, that was it. But instead, the Australian dug deep and came out swinging to add another five points to his advantage and set himself up with a simple job to do in Valencia: even if Raul Fernandez wins, Gardner needs just 13th to wrap up the crown. Can he do it?

The good news for Raul Fernandez is that the Circuit Ricardo Tormo holds good memories, and was the scene of his first Grand Prix win in Moto3™. He won't go out without a fight and he has a good chance at victory on paper, then left to see how the cards fall in the title fight. And there are more than just two riders on the grid...

Aki Ajo previews his Moto2™ riders title showdown

Lowes arrives from a win and a third in good form, and his teammate Augusto Fernandez can't be counted out. Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) is having some trouble with his knee but will want to leave Moto2™ on a high, although official confirmation of his move to MotoGP™ remains pending. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) is also premier class bound and will want a big weekend, but two hometown heroes in particular will want to get in absolutely everyone's way: Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team) and Jorge Navarro (Termozeta Speed Up).

Canet has had some impressive podiums this season and was fourth in Portugal too, and he'll want to leave his fellow home heroes the Aspar Team with a few more good memories. Fellow Valencian Navarro has some hometown pedigree too and will be aiming high. They have a lot less on the line than many as well, racing solely for the podium or victory...

Can Gardner keep his cool and make sure he takes those valuable few points? Will Raul Fernandez come out swinging and take that final win to force the Australian's hand? We'll find out on Sunday as Moto2™ go racing from 12:20 (GMT +1)... and a new World Champion will be crowned, whatever happens!

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