MotoGP Germany: Fernandez on fire in Moto2

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Augusto Fernandez claimed his second Moto2 victory of the season at the Sachsenring in dominant style.

Fernandez met the flag nine seconds clear of his rookie teammate Pedro Acosta with Elf Marc VDS’s Sam Lowes completing the podium celebrations with a hard-fought third in the intense conditions.

Britain’s Lowes lined up at the head of the Moto2 grid for his first pole position of 2022 - the last coming at the Emilia–Romagna race, the scene of his most recent victory. Jake Dixon sat behind his countryman in fourth, the Aspar rider suffering the effects of his FP3 crash but hopeful of a strong performance from the second row. Teammate Albert Arenas and KTM’s Fernandez in between the pair and completing the front row.

The 28-lap race fired up with Lowes maintaining his advantage from former teammate Fernandez before local hero Marcel Schrotter slipped into second from fifth. Dixon bettered by Italtrans Joe Roberts for fifth and sixth with Arenas running fourth after the opening corner.

The Aspar Spaniard was back in podium contention as he made a move on the KTM ahead, the pattern reversed further back as Pedro Acosta demoted Dixon to seventh with Marc VDS’ Tony Arbolino, Speed Up’s Fermín Aldeguer and Flexbox HP40’s Aron Canet completing the top ten in the initial stages.

Lowes and Schrotter began to check out, the duo split by a quarter of a second with a further half separating them from Arenas and the advancing KTMs. Fernandez back in third with four laps dispatched as Acosta ran fifth.

The KTM Ajo was up to second next time around as the German dropped to third. Jorge Navarro crashing the second Flexbox out at turn 13 as Dixon dropped to ninth and Fernandez made his strike for the lead with another move at turn three.

Title rivals Ai Ogura and Celestino Vietti circulated in 11th and 13th respectively with 22 laps to go. Acosta, Schrotter and Arenas switching positions in the fight for the final podium position with Canet six-tenths back in sixth. Dixon fading to the edge of the points zone with just Cameron Beaubier and Manuel Gonzalez behind in the top 15.

Fernandez held a 1.7s advantage over Lowes with ten laps done. Acosta just under a second behind with Schrotter firmly on his wheel. Arenas and Canet holding fast in the top six with another 1.5s in hand to Roberts. The American, however, was soon dispatched by the group behind as the Italtrans began to suffer. Roberts dropping four positions to eleventh in a single lap as Niccolo Antonelli found the gravel.

Dixon began to fight back as he made a move on the championship leader for 12th, Gonzalez following suit on his fellow VR46 rider a Vietti dropped to a potential two points.

Lowes succumbed to Acosta out front as KTM Ajo locked out the top two at the halfway stage. A moment at turn two catching the Brit out as Acosta capitalised, with his hard fought defence quickly curtailed.

Aldeguer was on the move as the Speed Up’s pace increased, claiming sixth from the battered and bruised Canet - following a car accident last week - with Arenas the next in the teenager’s sights. Honda’s Ogura climbing to ninth behind the second Speed Up of Alonso Lopez with Arbolino and Roberts on the edge of the top ten.

FP3 sensation Filip Salac retired the Gresini machine into the pits with ten laps remaining. Canet fading to ninth as Lopez joined his teammate in the top seven. Aldeguer hit with a track limits warning as he looked to challenge Arenas for fifth while Keminth Kubo crashed out at turn one two laps later.

Vietti was the next to suffer at the Sachsenring’s opening corner having recovered two positions to eleventh with seven laps to go. Acosta fading almost eight seconds from the back of his teammate as Lowes began to reel the rookie in.

Four app to go and Lowes was looking like he had the pace but struggling to find a way through on the reigning Moto3 world champion. The Brit taking a look before making the move stick at he Saxon curve, Acosta striking back on the brakes as the battle developed between the two as the next lap played out.

Schrotter took a shot at the battling duo on the penultimate lap for the final podium position, Lowes dispatched to fourth before hitting back in the final sector with one revolution to go.

Fernandez met the flag with a nine-second lead, Acosta and Lowes crossing the line a tenth apart after contact in the closing corners with Schrotter denied a home podium in fourth.

Aldeguer headed Arenas, Lopez, Ogura and Canet in the top nine with Arbolino just 0.03s adrift for tenth. Dixon leading the third group home from 11th with Gonzalez, Roberts, Beaubier and Honda’s Somkiat Chantra collecting the final points on offer.

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Picture: GeeBee Images
Picture: GeeBee Images