2021 Portimao Moto2 Race Result: Not A Moto2 Race

With the intermediate class closing the show in Portimao, they had a lot to live up to, but they acquitted themselves honourably and gave us a nice glimpse into the future as we watched brilliant rookie Raul Fernandez take his first victory in Moto2. The Spaniard fought his way to the top to cross the finish line a second and a half ahead of compatriot Aron Canet. The Aspar rider also rode an impressive race to claim his first podium in the class, while Remy Gardner claimed the final podium spot on the final lap and with it came the championship lead.

Gardner had been the fastest starter off the line, ahead of Marco Bezzecchi and Xavi Vierge, while poleman Sam Lowes made a sluggish start and dramatically high-sided in a rather crowded turn 1. Joe Roberts quickly progressed from 8th on the grid to join the leading trio, with Raul Fernandez right on his tail after starting 10th.

Bezzecchi started challenging Gardner’s lead on lap three and the two continued to swap paint over the next few laps. By lap five, Bezzecchi was starting to stretch a gap at the front, over one second clear of Gardner who kept getting challenged by Roberts. Canet, Raul Fernandez, Augusto Fernandez and Vierge also kept up with the podium battle, but teammates Ai Ogura and Somkiat Chantra unfortunately crashed out of the group soon after, while the next group led by Albert Areas dropped about a second behind.

Bezzecchi’s gap did not grow much over the one second mark as Gardner pushed hard to recover that gap, aided by a big twitch for the Italian. However, it wasn’t the Australian who challenged for the lead next, as Canet swept past and took the lead on lap ten. Bezzecchi fought back into turn 1 next time around but Canet’s eagerness to respond immediately cost both of them and allowed Roberts briefly past. Canet found the inside at turn 5 but Roberts resumed the lead by the end of lap 11, with Gardner, Bezzecchi, Raul Fernandez, Vierge and Augusto Fernandez also in the leading group.

Roberts continued to lead the way past the halfway mark of proceedings, with few moves within the top group. Despite a scrappy few laps from Canet, the Spaniard kept close to Roberts, while a bit of a gap was appearing behind them, with Bezzecchi almost one second behind and the two Red Bull KTMs seemingly struggling for grip the most and running wide repeatedly.

Canet took his turn at the front at turn 5 with six laps remaining but had a track limits warning to contend with and also a fast recovering Raul Fernandez, who joined the podium party for the final five laps, after posting the fastest lap of the race. The Spaniard benefitted from Roberts going wide into turn 1 to take second and chase his leading compatriot. Meanwhile, Gardner dropped one second back, ahead of Augusto Fernandez, Bezzecchi and Vierge.

Fernandez flew past Canet into turn one the very next lap and the Aspar rider could not respond straight away, so the rookie pushed to stretch a gap. The distance grew bigger and bigger and the KTM rider once again posted the fastest lap of the race to start the final lap over one second ahead, leaving Canet, Roberts and a revived Gardner to decide the final podium positions. Canet did all he could to defend second place and despite a late attack from Roberts, he reclaimed second at turn 13 and things immediately got worse for Roberts as Gardner bumped him out of the way to steal the final podium spot. Bezzecchi, Vierge, Hector Garzo, Cameron Beaubier and Marcel Schrotter took the remaining top ten positions.

Despite missing out on victory, Gardner claims the championship lead by 4 points from teammate Fernandez, with Lowes dropping to third, only 6 points down on the leader. Bezzecchi keeps fourth with a 20-point gap, while Canet climbs 12 positions up to sixth, behind Fabio Di Giannantonio.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time/Diff
1 25 Raul Fernandez Kalex 39'47.377
2 44 Aron Canet Boscoscuro +1.600
3 87 Remy Gardner Kalex +1.968
4 16 Joe Roberts Kalex +2.397
5 37 Augusto Fernandez Kalex +5.622
6 72 Marco Bezzecchi Kalex +6.344
7 97 Xavi Vierge Kalex +7.360
8 40 Hector Garzo Kalex +12.540
9 6 Cameron Beaubier Kalex +14.989
10 23 Marcel Schrotter Kalex +15.240
11 21 Fabio Di Giannantonio Kalex +15.521
12 19 Lorenzo Dalla Porta Kalex +15.667
13 75 Albert Arenas Boscoscuro +19.513
14 7 Lorenzo Baldassarri MV Agusta +23.147
15 42 Marcos Ramirez Kalex +23.494
16 14 Tony Arbolino Kalex +23.639
17 12 Thomas Luthi Kalex +27.470
18 55 Hafizh Syahrin NTS +56.999
19 77 Miquel Pons MV Agusta +1'00.417
20 89 Fraser Rogers NTS +1'21.966
21 35 Somkiat Chantra Kalex +1'25.160
22 9 Jorge Navarro Boscoscuro 3 Laps
Not Classified
  96 Jake Dixon Kalex 9 Laps
  13 Celestino Vietti Kalex 12 Laps
  11 Nicolò Bulega Kalex 12 Laps
  64 Bo Bendsneyder Kalex 16 Laps
  79 Ai Ogura Kalex 19 Laps
  5 Yari Montella Boscoscuro 20 Laps
  62 Stefano Manzi Kalex 20 Laps
Not Finished 1st Lap
  22 Sam Lowes Kalex 0 Lap
Round Number: 
3
2021
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Comments

Mugging for the camera and showing off the tire marks From Gardner was exactly the right way to respond. 

Mugging for the camera and showing off the tire marks From Gardner was exactly the right way to respond. 

... there were two Americans inside the top-10 in the intermediate class? I fully expect both riders to give strong performances in Jerez.

I was loudly swearing at Gardner as he crashed his way inside Roberts. Then I remembered that a) I have rooted for Remy since he was a kid supported by his famous dad, and b) an Aussie and an American were battling for the podium on the last lap!

Agree with both genx and Agent 55, that's how it's supposed to be!