MotoGP Valencia: Acosta wins with Fernandez crowned Moto2 Champion

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Red Bull KTM Ajo celebrated another dominant season with Pedro Acosta’s victory in Valencia from teammate and Moto2 Champion Augusto Fernandez.

The Spanish duo took all the accolades going in the season finale, after securing a team one-two, the title crown and Rookie of the Year celebrations. Elf Marc VDS’ Tony Arbolino completed the podium in third, the fifth rostrum of his second year in the intermediate class, and fourth overall in the standings.

The first title decider of the day saw Fernandez line up third to Ai Ogura’s fifth as the pair sat 9.5 points adrift in the 2022 Moto2 standings. Beta Tools Speed Up’s Alonso Lopez headed the grid from KTM rookie Pedro Acosta after the pair set near identical laptimes during Saturday’s qualifying.

Lights out and Arbolino was immediately through on Fernandez with title-rival Ogura following on the Idemitsu Honda. Fermin Aldeguer making things harder for the KTM rider as he claimed fifth as the opening lap unfolded while Acosta took charge overall.

Arbolino was in the lead with Ogura through to second as the second lap began, half a point now splitting the championship as Fernandez circulated in fifth. American Racing’s Cameron Beaubier enjoyed a strong start, to sixth from Flexbox HP40’s Aron Canet. Lopez threatening from third as he looked to advance on the Japanese rider having dispatched Acosta for the final podium position.

Lopez crashed out as lap five drew to a close, the Boscoscuro rider falling foul of turn 11 having run wide after suffered numerous moments in the run up. Aspar’s Jake Dixon suffering his own issues from 20th in the standings before regrouping to 18th two laps later.

Beaubier was through to fourth and immediately pulling a three tenth gap to Fernandez before the American crashed out at the end of lap six - a disappointing finish to his world championship career ahead of a return to MotoAmerica. Further drama finding Arbolino and Ogura almost coming together as the lap concluded with Taiga Hada and Celestino Vietti the next to fall.

Acosta aided his teammate’s efforts as he captured second from Ogura over the line for lap eight before the Honda man hit back at turn two. Disaster striking the number 79 with a high speed crash into turn eight next time around with Fernandez confirmed as 2022 Moto2 Champion as he inherited third in the aftermath.

Dixon was into the points and up to tenth by the end of lap ten. Yamaha VR46 Master Camp’s Manuel Gonzales eighth tenths ahead as the Brit continued to pick up pace with the defect down to just over a tenth next time around.

Acosta took charge with 14 laps to go as the podium trio were covered by half a second. Canet almost three seconds adrift in a solitary fourth from Aldeguer with Albert Arenas honing in on the sole remaining Speed Up. Idemitsu’s Somkiat Chantra had other ideas, however. Dispatching the Aspar for sixth at the halfway stage, Fernandez doing likewise on Arbolino out front as he joined his KTM teammate for a one-two.

Honda’s woes increased on lap 15 as Chantra followed his teammate’s path with an identical crash at turn eight, Niccolo Antonelli doing likewise for the Mooney VR46 team two corners earlier.

Seven laps to go and the leading duo were split by seven tenths of a second. Arbolino a further two seconds back from the Ajo riders with Canet creeping closer to the final podium position. Pasini nudged out of the action by Jeremy Alcoba with Canet crashing at turn five months later.

The late race action found Dixon up to seventh behind Gonzales and Arenas. Sam Lowes’ replacement Senna Agius circulating firmly in the points in ninth position ahead Marcel Schrotter on his farewell race win Moto2.

Two to go and KTM Ajo prepared for a one-two in the race and outright championship celebrations - for the second season in a row. Acosta also looking to secure rookie of the year with his Valencia victory in front of the home crowd.

The pair ultimately met the flag a second apart but eighth seconds clear of Arbolino, with the Italian completing the podium for his fifth of the year.

Aldeguer crossed the line fourth from Arenas and Gonzales with Dixon completing a determined recovery in seventh. Alcoba, Agius and Schrotter rounded out the top ten from Bo Bendsneyder, impressive wildcard Borja Gomez, Filip Salac and Lorenzo Dalla Porta with Italtrans’ teammate Joe Roberts collecting the final point of the season.

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