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More, from a press release issued by Dorna:
Fernandez flies to first Moto2™ victory
Last year he dominated in Moto3™ on the Algarve. This year, the rookie took to the top step in Moto2™ for the very first time – as Lowes crashes out
Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) just loves the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve. After dominating at the track last season to sign off from Moto3™ with a win, the Spaniard returned in Moto2™ with a podium already under his belt and it seemed somewhat like fate. Fighting his way through a few big rivals, the Spaniard crossed the line a second and a half clear for his first intermediate class win, underlining his impressive form so far and moving up to second in the Championship. Aron Canet (Solunion Aspar Team) took his first Moto2™ podium in second after an impressive ride, with Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) charging past Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) late on to complete the podium. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) crashed out at Turn 1, leaving his key rivals with an open goal…
Lowes was the first big headline, that sending shockwaves through the race. Late on the brakes into Turn 1 after a tough start, the Brit was careering straight towards Gardner’s rear wheel and was forced to pick it up and run wide, the rear end then kicking him off. Rider ok, but some big drama to start the Moto2™ race.
At the front, Gardner led on Lap 1 but Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) was the man on the move in the opening exchanges and blasted past on the home straight. Roberts had made a good start from P8 to battle Gardner for P2 as the latter got out of shape coming out of Turn 1. Bezzecchi was able to pull out a healthy one second lead at the front but Canet was making moves and soon, the lead was cut to nothing as Gardner and the five other chasers reeled in the Italian.
Yet more drama unfolded just behind as we saw a huge crash involving Yari Montella (Lightech Speed Up) and Stefano Manzi (Flexbox HP40) at the final corner, both bikes catching fire in the gravel trap. Montella, who highsided, was taken to the medical centre for a check-up and later declared fit. And more: at Turn 5, the two Idemitsu Honda Team Asia riders were down as Ai Ogura made contact with American Racing’s Cameron Beaubier. Ogura got out of shape and couldn’t help but crash into Somkiat Chantra, an unfortunate racing incident between the two teammates.
Lap 11 saw Canet take the lead, but Roberts then pounced at Turn 1 as Canet and Bezzecchi went wide. Bezzecchi slipped to P4 as Gardner also passed the Italian, but one of the pre-race favourites then made a couple of mistakes in the soaring Portuguese heat. That saw the Aussie lose valuable ground as Canet and Roberts made a breakaway, but the Spaniard and American scrapped it out for a few laps and Canet also got a track limits warning. Enter Raul Fernandez. The rookie was lapping far superior to his rivals and he soon picked off both Roberts and Canet to take the lead with four to go, late race pace searing him through.
The rookie pulled 0.7s clear in three laps, setting another fastest lap of the race on Lap 21 of 23, a 1:42.86, and his teammate Gardner was finding some late pace too in P4, the Australian reeling in Roberts and Canet. Three personal best laps from Gardner was mega stuff but nothing was going to stop Raul Fernandez, on the final lap his lead was up to 1.2 seconds and it seemed the job was done as attentions turned to the three-way scrap for P2 and P3.
Roberts lunged up the inside of Canet at Turn 11, but Canet then dived back at Turn 13, but both ran slightly wide to give Gardner an invitation. Roberts switched to the inside for Turn 14 but the narrow line he took saw him open a small gap for the Aussie to squeeze into, an that he did – making some contact but getting through, Roberts staying on but watching th podium fade away.
Up the road though, Raul Fernandez had rounded the final corner to win his first Moto2™ race, with Canet cementing his first intermediate class podium with a hard-earned P2, escaping the discussion on whether rubbing is racing raging just behind him. Gardner’s third, however, sees him head to Jerez as Championship leader for the first time.
Roberts was unlucky to lose out on a podium in Portimão but it was nevertheless a great ride from the American. Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) backs up his Doha P6 with P5 as the Spaniard continues to find form in 2021, and Bezzecchi was eventually forced to settle for P6 having led in the early laps. Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) was a second behind Bezzecchi in a solid P7, with Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP40) earning his first points of the season in P8. Beaubier is a top 10 Moto2™ finisher after a brilliant ride to P9 on his first visit to the Algarve International Circuit, and Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) completed the top 10.
Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Italtrans Racing Team), Albert Arenas (Solunion Aspar Team), Lorenzo Baldassarri (MV Agusta Forward Racing) and Marcos Ramirez (American Racing) were the remaining point scorers.
Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) crashed at Turn 8 unhurt, with Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) taking out compatriot Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) at Turn 1.
As we leave the Algarve, the Moto2™ Championship is shaken up after another stunner. Heading to Jerez, three points split Gardner, Raul Fernandez and Lowes – so it’s game on in the Moto2™ title race!
Raul Fernandez: “Unbelievable. I want to say thanks to my team, they brought me the best bike of the weekend for the race. Yesterday I had bad luck in qualifying with the yellow flag, but this morning in warm up I said ‘eh, I have an incredible bike for the end of the race’. I had this problem in Qatar at the end of the race, I didn’t have too much tyre. It was incredible with my team and my family, it’s incredible. I don’t have words, I want to say thanks. We will see in the next race, this is one of my best tracks and we will see in Jerez.”
More, from a press release issued by KTM Factory Racing:
BACK-TO-BACK MOTO3™ VICTORIES FOR CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER ACOSTA AS FERNANDEZ WINS MOTO2™
2021 KTM GP Academy, Round 03 of 19, Autódromo Internacional do Algarve (POR) – Race
Red Bull KTM Ajo locked out both categories for the KTM GP Academy at the Grande Premio 888 de Portugal and the third round of the 2021 world championship. Pedro Acosta won in Moto3 and Raul Fernandez in Moto2™ for the first chapter of the MotoGP™ season on European soil.
Red Bull KTM Ajo entered the Grand Prix at the spectacular and technical Autódromo Internacional do Algarve as undefeated in 2021 Moto3 thanks to the opening round victories by Jaume Masia and Pedro Acosta In Qatar. The two Spaniards were in the hunt for the top lap-times during Free Practice and Qualification that hinted at their competitiveness for the race on Sunday morning.
It was actually Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Deniz Öncü who was highest placed on the grid as the Turk lined up in 7th place but a Q2 penalty meant a pitlane start and he recovered to earn the last GP point. Acosta and Masia were joined by Ayumu Sasaki in the intense position-swapping gaggle of ten riders. Acosta was roaming at the front of the field but Masia was in close proximity until a mistake by the Spaniard entering Turn 5 on the last lap. Masia was able to remount to score 9th. Acosta snatched the lead with three corners to go and pushed the KTM RC4 to extremes of traction and power on the last Turn 15 to celebrate the win by less than a tenth of a second. The 16-year-old is the youngest rider in GP history to start his career with three podium appearances.
In total five KTM RC4s occupied spaces in the top ten. Acosta leads the championship standings by 31 points from Masia.
Pedro Acosta: “An amazing race after a difficult weekend that started in wet conditions. My team did amazing job. My race strategy was to have fun for 25 minutes and then take the trophy. It is fantastic to be here again.”
Remy Gardner made another strong statement for the Red Bull KTM Ajo team on Saturday by missing out on Pole Position by just two-hundredths of a second. The Australian lined-up in 2nd place on the grid and just eight slots ahead of rookie teammate Raul Fernandez. In the 23 laps of the Moto2 affair both were part of an unusually close and unpredictable contest.
It was Fernandez, who had won the Moto3 Grand Prix in Portimao the previous November, who excelled and found a new streak of pace in the closing laps. He pulled clear of the tussle for the podium, of which Gardner was charging. The Australian passed the flag in 3rd place less than two seconds behind his teammate. Gardner now leads the Moto2 championship by 4 points from Fernandez.
Raul Fernandez: “Unbelievable! Thanks to the team for giving me best bike of the weekend. I had bad luck with the yellow flags in qualifying but I knew I had great bike for whole race. In Qatar I didn’t have too much tire left but we managed it better today. Overall this victory is incredible, and at one of my favorite tracks! We will see now for Jerez.”
Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup
On Saturday David Alonso was a clear victor in the first date of the 2021 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. The teenager aced the race on Saturday afternoon for what is the fifteenth season of the exciting seven-round feeder series, showcasing the best young talent primed for the step to Grand Prix. On Sunday and the second outing at Portimao it was Alonso again who took the checkered flag after a thrilling last corner decider. The Red Bull MotoGP Rookies will resume at round four of MotoGP.
The Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto will stage the Gran Premio Red Bull de España in two weeks time. Free Practice will get underway on April 30th with the races set for Sunday May 2nd.
More, from a press release issued by Italtrans Racing:
Italtrans Racing Team amazing in Portugal. Fantastic fourth for Joe Roberts, Lorenzo Dalla Porta with well-deserved points
Thrilling third round of the MotoGP World Championship at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, in Portugal.
On the track where only a few months ago Italtrans Racing Team became Moto2 World Champion with Enea Bastianini, the team was once again ruler with its riders.
After ruling all the free practice sessions and finishing 8th in qualifying, Joe Roberts started from the third row of the grid and immediately pushed riding an aggressive race. Immediately fighting for the top three and leader from lap 11 to 17 after an amazing overtake on Bezzecchi and Canet, the American rider then battled for the top three with Canet and Garder, who in the last lap took the podium away after a contact. The final fourth position leaves a bittersweet taste, with the awareness of being among the ruler of this season.
Great performance also for Lorenzo Dalla Porta, author of a comeback race. Starting from the 7th row of the grid with the 21st best time set in Q1, the Tuscan rider rises through the ranks, taking a good pace and recovering positions. He finished 12th, close to the top ten: another race in the points with the aim of continuing to work to make further progress.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta
“I’m quite happy because I had a good race today close to the top ten: I made a good comeback and I didn’t give up, but I know we can do more. It’s important to work better from Friday and improve in qualifying, so we can start better on the grid and fight for the top five. Let’s treasure this good result. Now I have to be more confident and aware of my potential, because we can make good results. Thanks to the whole team for the support”.
“I’m very happy with today. A little disappointed to not get on the podium as we had the chance, especially on the last lap, but some contact in the second last corner prevented us from doing it. Anyway, it has been a super positive race, the most laps I’ve led in a Grand Prix. We must continue to work in this way, step by step. The potential is super high and I can’t wait for the next race”.
Giovanni Sandi, Technical Director
“I’m very happy because we had a good race today and the team worked well. Joe was great, taking the lead for a few laps. This is a turning point for him: from today he will certainly be more aware of his abilities and of being able to fight for the podium, which was within reach today. I’m also satisfied with Lorenzo’s performance. He had a good race, setting great lap times, similar to the top riders. He has to believe in himself, because he has all the right skills to aim high”.
More, from a press release issued by American Racing Team:
Cameron Beaubier scores top 10 finish at Portuguese Grand Prix
Marcos Ramirez returns from injury, earns championship point
PORTIMAO, Portugal (April 18, 2021) — Cameron Beaubier and Marcos Ramirez outperformed expectations in the Grand Prix of Portugal, delivering season-best performances for the American Racing Team at the third round of the FIM Moto2 World Championship.
Beaubier and Ramirez qualified 13th and 17th, in the middle of the 10-row starting grid, at the 15-turn, 2.85-mile Autódromo Internacional do Algarve. Team owner Eitan Butbul predicted a tough race for both riders.
By the fourth lap, Beaubier had worked his way to eighth. When two riders crashed in front of him, the 28-year-old Californian was relegated to 11th. Undeterred, he put on a charge to finish ninth, taking seven championship points.
MotoAmerica Supersport racer Sean Dylan Kelly traveled to Portugal as a possible stand in for Ramirez, who missed the first two rounds of the season with a shoulder injury. The 23-year-old Spaniard, however, determinedly participated in every session.
More than a quarter of the field didn’t complete all 23 laps, including prerace championship points leader Sam Lowes. Taking advantage of the attrition, Ramirez was 15th, earning one point. Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Raul Fernandez won the race, which was run in hot, dry conditions.
“I am pleased with the results today,” said Butbul. “Our goal was to be in the top 10, and Cameron managed to finish ninth.
“I also am very happy with Marcos’ finish. He suffered pain in his arm after five laps and struggled to the end of the race, but he managed a respectable 15th.”
After three of the 19 scheduled rounds, Beaubier is 12th in the championship points standings. Ramirez is 24th.
Round 4 of the FIM Moto2 World Championship, the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, is April 30-May 2.
About the American Racing Team
The American Racing Team is owned by Avner Kass and Eitan Butbul and competes in the FIM MotoGP World Championship. Based in California, the team fields two riders in the Moto2 class: American Cameron Beaubier (No. 6) and Spaniard Marcos Ramirez (No. 42). American Racing has grown under Butbul’s guidance and is a respected member of the MotoGP paddock.