The British rider returns to victory for the first time since Doha as the Moto2™ title race takes another twist
For the first time since the Doha GP, Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) is a Moto2™ race winner after an immensely dramatic Gran Premio Nolan del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia-Romagna unfolded. Augusto Fernandez made it an Elf Marc VDS Racing Team 1-2 at Misano, Aron Canet (Aspar Team Moto2) claimed third but the story was with the title race: Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) crashed out from the lead, as a seventh place finish for Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – after a Long Lap Penalty – hands the Australian an 18-point advantage heading to Portimao.
Another huge title twist as Lowes returns to victory
Polesitter Lowes grabbed the holeshot with Canet making a good start to earn P2 ahead of Augusto Fernandez, with Raul Fernandez and Gardner P7 and P12 respectively at the end of the first lap. On Lap 3, Raul Fernandez had made his way up to P4, with Gardner scrapping away in the lower ends of the top 10.
A late lunge from Canet on race leader Jorge Navarro (+EGO Speed Up) at the tight Turn 14 right-hander allowed Lowes to retake the lead, while also gifting Raul Fernandez P3. The latter was then up to P2 on Lap 6, and with Gardner P8, as things stood Raul Fernandez would take the World Championship lead – a long way to go though, of course.
Gardner, seeing his title rival P2, chose to dive up the inside of Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) at Turn 14. Unfortunately for the Thai rider, contact was made and Chantra crashed unhurt – would there be any action against Gardner for the incident? Meanwhile, Raul Fernandez was swarming Lowes’ rear wheel. And by Lap 11 of 25, Lowes, Raul Fernandez and Canet were 1.3s clear of fourth place Navarro, as Augusto Fernandez passed Gardner – the Australian back down to P8.
Huge Moto2™ title drama as Fernandez crashes out of the lead
That spelt bad news for Gardner who was two seconds behind seventh place Stefano Manzi (Flexbox HP40), and Lap 12 brought more bad news. Raul Fernandez, after a small error from Lowes, was now the race leader – and Race Direction handed the Aussie a Long Lap Penalty.
Then, more unbelievable drama. Heading down into Turn 8, Raul Fernandez lost the front so, so early. The Spaniard was down and out of the race after a rapid crash, thankfully the number 25 was up on his feet. A huge moment in the Moto2™ World Championship chase, as Gardner – after his Long Lap – fell into the clutches of home hero Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46).
It was now Lowes vs Canet for victory. Lowes ran wide at Turn 8 to allow the Spaniard through into the lead, and another rear-end moment for the number 22 allowed Canet to hold a 0.6s advantage with five laps to go. However, with four laps to go, Lowes was back in P1. Augusto Fernandez was up to third after his Long Lap Penalty, the Spaniard passing a brightly coloured Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46). The Italian’s teammate Bezzecchi crashed at Turn 15 with three laps to go, that allowed Gardner to move up to P7.
Up front, no mistake was made in the closing stages by Lowes who took the chequered flag first to win, with Augusto Fernandez producing a stunning comeback ride to pick off Canet on the run to the line – handing MarcVDS their first 1-2 since 2017. Canet was disappointed with P3, but it’s a fourth podium of the season for the Spaniard.
The points scorers at Misano – Gardner 7th
Rookie Vietti rode brilliantly on home soil to bag his best result of the season, fifth place went the way of Navarro. Manzi had a quiet but solid ride to P6 at his home track, the Italian finished nine seconds up the road from Championship leader Gardner. It was a tough afternoon at the office for Gardner, but after Raul Fernandez’ crash, the Aussie extends his lead in the title race to 18 points with just two races to go now.
Sporting a special Gresini livery, Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) claimed P8 ahead of rookie Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and 10th place Marcos Ramirez (American Racing). Reigning Moto3™ World Champion Albert Arenas (Aspar Team Moto2) was 0.6s away from a top 10 result in P11, Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) takes home a P12 as Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) rescues some points after his Long Lap Penalty. Tom Lüthi (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) and Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) picked up P14 and P15 at Misano.
Yet more title drama unfolds in Moto2™, with 18 points now separating Gardner and Raul Fernandez heading to Portimao’s rollercoaster. It’ll be match point Gardner, but Raul Fernandez was a winner in Portugal earlier on in the year – a tense meeting awaits.
1. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team)
2. Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 1.233
3. Aron Canet (Aspar Team Moto2) + 1.400
4. Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 2.554
5. Jorge Navarro (+EGO Speed Up) + 4.243
6. Stefano Manzi (Flexbox HP40) + 5.198
7. Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 14.261
8. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) + 15.868
9. Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) + 18.905
10. Marcos Ramirez (American Racing) + 19.069