The last title decider of the season finale proved to be an exceptional (and exceptionally tense) show, where all the main contenders featured at the front and rode out of their skin, only to get truly overshadowed by Remy Gardner. The poleman closed his season with a perfect race, claiming a maiden victory from pole and setting the fastest lap to take the checkered flag one big step ahead of everyone else. Luca Marini gave it his best in the title battle and led for most of the race, while Sam Lowes fought way beyond the pain barrier to keep in victory contention, but both men had to surrender the day’s trophy to Gardner and the number 1 medal to Enea Bastianini. The Italian missed out on the podium but got the sweetest cava of them all as he steps into the premier class as the reigning Moto2 world champion.
The tale of the championship decider started with Marini’s rocket launch off the line to get ahead of Gardner but the poleman quickly resumed the lead, inviting Bastianini to also sneak past Marini. Front row starter Fabio Di Giannantonio made a very poor start and then did not make it past turn 1, crashing out and taking Nicolo Bulega with him. Jorge Martin, Lowes and Augusto Fernandez closely followed the leaders, with Marco Bezzechi straight up to 7th, having started 12th on the grid.
Gardner was keen to stay at the front and extended a one second lead by lap 3, Bastianini leading the pursuit ahead of the likes of Marini, Martin and Lowes but with a big group queuing behind and waiting to pounce. Marini made his move on his compatriot and rival into turn 1 on lap 4 and that encouraged Lowes to follow his example later that lap, at turn 5. Bastianini’s early pace was not exceptional but the Italian was not panicking just yet as his rivals were pushing to reel in Gardner. Bastianini had some trouble with Fernandez next, who was hoping to help his teammate a little, while Bezzecchi, Martin, Tetsuta Nagashima and Lorenzo Baldassarri completed the chasing group.
On lap 6, Marini reduced Gardner’s gap to half a second and then to barely anything one lap later, with only Lowes able to keep up. Both Marini and Lowes quickly got past Gardner, with the Italian claiming the lead going into turn one on lap 8, turning up the heat on the title battle. The exchanges between Fernandez on Bastianini dropped them over half a second behind the provisional podium spots and once Fernandez settled the fight with Bastianini, he went on to chase the three leaders. The championship leader was left to fend off Bezzecchi, who was keen to improve his own as well as his teammate’s chances in the title battle. Bezzecchi made his move on Bastianini at the start of lap ten and Martin followed his example later that lap, leaving Bastianini with a provisional advantage of only 2 points in the title standings. Bastiniani fought back on Martin next time around at turn 1, but was keeping an eye on the group behind as well, as they closing in on the 1.5 seconds gap.
Things settled a little for the next few laps, Marini six tenths ahead of Lowes, with Fernandez keeping a safe distance behind his teammate but under attack from Gardner and with Bezzecchi, Bastianini and Martin not too far back either. After bravely holding on for the first half of the race, Lowes started to struggle with 12 laps remaining, the British rider running wide at turn 14 and allowing Gardner past. Bezzecchi was one second behind the podium positions, closely followed by Fernandez, while Bastianini and Martin continued to entertain each other in the battle for sixth place. Martin made a mistake with 11 laps to go and that gave Bastianini one second of breathing room.
Things were getting more interesting at the front with 8 laps remaining, Gardner closing in on Marini but both riders continued to post hot laps, with Lowes only half a second back. Bezzecchi had dropped two seconds back and still had company from Fernandez and Bastianini. Although sixth was good enough for Bastianini, the Italian got through Fernandez with 6 laps remaining and was eyeing Bezzecchi’s fourth place to secure the title, in case Lowes was to snatch the win. However, the Marc VDS rider was yoyo-ing back and forth on the victory battle and a moment at turn 13 with 6 laps remaining left him with one second to catch up on the leaders. Meanwhile, teammate Fernandez was keeping Bastianini busy once more in the fight for fifth and the likes of Martin and Roberts had caught up with the group as well, to further add to the Italian’s worries.
Back at the front, Gardner bided his time to attack Marini until the final two laps, when the decisive move came at turn 3 and Marini tried to fight back straight away but the Australian held onto the lead heading into the final lap. Gardner extended the gap to almost a second by the checkered flag by posting the fastest lap, dropping both Marini and Lowes who took the remaining podium positions. Bezzecchi held onto fourth place but Bastianini crossed the finish line as a world champion, with Marini and Lowes completing the top three of the season.
|15||44||Aron Canet||Speed Up||+20.169|
|17||19||Lorenzo Dalla Porta||Kalex||+27.141|
|19||62||Stefano Manzi||MV Agusta||+27.340|
|21||55||Hafizh Syahrin||Speed Up||+51.163|
|24||Simone Corsi||MV Agusta||3 Laps|
|27||Andi Farid Izdihar||Kalex||6 Laps|
|57||Edgar Pons||Kalex||11 Laps|
|99||Kasma Daniel||Kalex||13 Laps|
|9||Jorge Navarro||Speed Up||18 Laps|
|40||Hector Garzo||Kalex||18 Laps|
|Not Finished 1st Lap|
|21||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Speed Up||0 Lap|
|11||Nicolò Bulega||Kalex||0 Lap|