Raul Fernandez lays down the gauntlet in Texas

It’s another Red Bull KTM Ajo 1-2 with title leader Gardner second, but the rookie holds a healthy advantage

It’s a familiar 2021 story at the top of the Moto2™ standings with Red Bull KTM Ajo claiming a 1-2 on Friday at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, but Raul Fernandez laid down the gauntlet in a dry FP2. The Spaniard set a 2:09.880 to beat teammate and title rival Remy Gardner by 0.199s, with Elf Marc VDS Racing Team’s Sam Lowes 0.654s back in third.

Raul Fernandez takes COTA by storm on Day 1

Right from the get-go in the dry conditions, rookie Raul Fernandez was the pacesetter. The Spaniard sat 0.7s clear of the chasing pack with just under 30 minutes of FP2 to go, and it wasn’t until Lowes went top in the final 10 minutes that Raul Fernandez squandered P1. However, almost immediately, Fernandez was back on top. On his next flying lap, the number 25 went 0.6s clear of Lowes – simply sensational from the Moto2™ COTA debutant.

Gardner shaved Fernandez’ advantage down to 0.199s, but that’s as close as anyone got to Fernandez on Day 1. Lowes is 0.4s down on Gardner in third, with Tony Arbolino (Liqui Moly Intact GP) a fantastic fourth, 0.7s away from P1. Aron Canet’s (Inde Aspar Team) 2:10.709 put the Spaniard in P5 on his first visit to COTA on a Moto2™ machine, with Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) and Simone Corsi (MV Agusta Forward Racing) the only other two riders – in P6 and P7 – to get within a second of Fernandez.

Rain on the way?

Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) claimed P8 and sits ahead of Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) in P9, with Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) closing out the top 10. Home hero Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) finished P14, the final provisional automatic Q2 place, and that could be vital with rain forecast for Saturday’s action.

Can anyone reel in Raul Fernandez ahead of qualifying in Austin? Find out when the Moto2™ class head out for FP3 at 10:55 local time (GMT-5).

Top 10:
1. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – 2:09.880
2. Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.199
3. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.654
4. Tony Arbolino (Liqui Moly Intact GP) + 0.793
5. Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team) + 0.829
6. Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.893
7. Simone Corsi (MV Agusta Forward Racing) + 0.958
8. Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 1.095
9. Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 1.146
10. Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) + 1.152


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