MotoGP Silverstone: Fernandez wins as Dixon podiums at home in Moto2

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Augusto Fernandez secured victory and the lead in the Moto2 title fight with a determined ride at Silverstone.

Just seven-hundredths of a second separated the Spaniard from CAG Speed Up’s Alonso Lopez after the rookie claimed his maiden Moto2 podium having led for the majority of the race. GasGas Aspar’s Jake Dixon delighting the British crowd for a hard-fought home podium in third.

The final action of Sunday’s British Grand Prix found the intermediate class bathed in Silverstone sunshine ahead of the 18-lap race. While Sam Lowes was forced to watch from the sidelines after sustaining a dislocated shoulder on Friday morning, Dixon and Rory Skinner were on hand to garner the home support. The GasGas rider lined up at the edge of the second row, after securing sixth in Saturday’s qualifier - two places behind teammate Albert Arenas - with American Racing’s Scottish wildcard enjoying his Moto2 debut from an impressive 24th.

Joint championship leader Fernandez commanded the grid alongside Italtrans’ Joe Roberts and title rival Ai Ogura on the Idemitsu Honda Team Asia with Mooney VR46’s Celestino Vietti launching from fifth.

Roberts was in control as the lights released the pack before Fernandez briefly hit back. Ogura bettering the bickering pair with a sensational start finding Lopez into second from eighth on the Boscurscuro. Arenas, Dixon and Flexbox HP40’s Aron Canet trailed Fernandez as he continued to look for a way through on Roberts.

Lopez was in the lead as lap two began, Vietti running tenth with a long lap penalty to dispatch and American Racing’s Cameron Beaubier hard on his wheel. The Californian quickly coming under fire from VR46 Master Camp’s Manuel Gonzalez.

Dixon was dispatched by both Canet and Marc VDS’ Tony Arbolino as the Brit dropped back to eighth on lap three. The Aspar man returning the favour on the Italian as the lap drew to conclusion.

Canet claimed both Roberts and Fernandez through Stowe before making it stick around Vale, the determined Spaniard getting his head down as he looked to bridge the six-tenth gap to Ogura ahead.

Zonta van den Goorberg crashed out on lap four as Vietti completed his penalty, while saving a moment on the bumps through the loop. Beaubier the next to suffer with a fall at Club.

Dixon was back in fifth with 14 to go as he bettered his teammate for position. Over a second separating him from Fernandez in the podium fight as Canet swept up to second. Skinner circulating in 22nd, two places higher than temporary teammate Sean Dylan Kelly with VR46’s Niccolo Antonelli and Gresini’s Alessandro Zaccone ahead.

Two laps later and the Brit had halved the gap to Fernandez as his rhythm strengthened. The Red Bull rider concentrating on finding a way though on his tittle rival ahead as Dixon arrived to within three-tenths of the fight. Marcos Ramirez the next to leave the action early after retiring the MV Agusta at the side of the track with ten to go.

Fernandez claimed third as lap ten kicked up a gear, the second to fifth fight covering just half a second as Lopez checked out in the lead.

The KTM made a move stick on Canet as Dixon took a look at Ogura next time around. The Honda rider hitting back immediately as Arenas crashed out at turn four - Arbolino needing evasive action to avoid the GasGas skittling across track as the frustrated Italian dropped to 13th.

Ogura, Canet and Fernandez continued to squabble for position as Dixon sat on the wheels of the fight. The Ajo machine back into second as Canet and Ogura ran wide, Dixon capitalising as he swept through to third before Ogura claimed the final podium position back.

Fernandez set the fastest lap of the race 13 in with a 2’04.784 as Dixon found third once again, Ogura and Canet keeping each other busy behind as the Brit pushed hard.

Lopez had Fernandez for company with four to go and his one-second lead was cut to just tenths. Dixon likewise closing in on the pair, albeit nine-tenths back, as Canet began to threaten.

Vietti was up to sixth as the penultimate lap played out as Fernandez took a look at Lopez and Canet tried his hand at Dixon. The Brit repeatedly switching positions with the Pons machine as the race counted down. Ogura and Canet clashing round the loop as Marcel Schrotter crashed out on the Intact GP with yellow flags flying in sector three.

Fernandez took the lead at Brooklands, and with it control of the championship standings by 13 points, as the KTM held fast to meet the flag with a 0.07s advantage. Dixon securing his home podium to the delight of the British crowd with his best lap of the race to cross the line over a second clear of Ogura and Canet. Vietti consolidated sixth from Roberts, Flexbox’s Jorge Navarro and Gresini’s Filip Salac with SAG’s Bo Bendsneyder completing the top ten. Gonzalez, Arbolino, Honda’s Somkiat Chantra, Intact GP’s Jeremy Alcoba and Speed Up’s Fermin Aldeguer rounded out the points finishers with Skinner completing his world championship debut in 21st.

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