Americas Moto2: Raul Fernandez in control at COTA as Gardner crashes

Raul Fernandez dominated the Grand Prix of the Americas to boost his Moto2 championship hopes after Ajo team-mate and points leader Remy Gardner crashed.

Americas Moto2: Raul Fernandez in control at COTA as Gardner crashes

Breakout rookie Fernandez led all 18 laps of Sunday’s Moto2 race at the Circuit of the Americas and is now just nine points from the championship lead, after Gardner fell on lap six while trying to chase down the Spaniard.

Home hero Cameron Beaubier briefly snatched the lead from a season-best fifth on the grid, but ran wide at the opening corner and allowed Fernandez and Gardner through.

Beaubier, Gresini’s Fabio Di Giannantonio and Gardner began to engage over second spot, which gifted Fernandez a lead of a second by the second tour.

That advantage began to swell as that trio – soon joined by VR46 rider Marco Bezzecchi – battled hard over second.

Gardner eventually found a way through into second on lap four and quickly pulled away from the pack behind as he set about hunting down his Ajo team-mate.

But Gardner blew open the championship battle with Fernandez when he crashed at Turn 15 on the sixth tour – surrendering a comfortable points advantage of 34 coming into Austin race.

The Australian’s tumble allowed Fernandez to open up a lead of over two seconds at the front of the field, with Di Giannantonio now the one chasing him down.

Fabio di Giannantonio, Federal Oil Gresini Moto2

Fabio di Giannantonio, Federal Oil Gresini Moto2

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

While the gap at the front would come down to 1.5s at one stage as the race moved into its second half, Fernandez responded in the latter stages to grew that again to over two seconds.

Fernandez’s rhythm settled across the final tours, and he eased to the chequered flag to claim his seventh win of the season and third in succession.

That tally of seven wins equals that of Marc Marquez from his rookie Moto2 season back in 2011.

Di Giannantonio claimed a comfortable second, the Gresini rider marking his first podium since he was victorious at Jerez back in May.

Bezzecchi rounded out the podium in third, with Augusto Fernandez the sole Marc VDS Kalex at the finish in fourth after team-mate Sam Lowes retired with an electrical issues.

Beaubier (American Racing) held onto fifth for the best result of his rookie Moto2 campaign, with fellow debutants Tony Arbolino (Intact GP) and Honda Team Asia’s Ai Ogura trailing him.

Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta), the sister American Racing Kalex of Marcos Ramirez and Vierge’s team-mate Jake Dixon completed the top 10.

Americas Moto2 race results - 18 laps

Cla Rider Bike Time
1 Spain Raúl Fernández Kalex -
2 Italy Fabio Di Giannantonio Kalex 1.734
3 Italy Marco Bezzecchi Kalex 3.100
4 Spain Augusto Fernandez Kalex 4.061
5 United States Cameron Beaubier Kalex 5.381
6 Italy Tony Arbolino Kalex 7.577
7 Japan Ai Ogura Kalex 11.087
8 Spain Xavi Vierge Kalex 14.949
9 Spain Marcos Ramirez Kalex 16.051
10 United Kingdom Jake Dixon Kalex 18.278
11 Spain Arón Canet Boscoscuro B-21 20.679
12 Spain Jorge Navarro Boscoscuro B-21 22.738
13 Italy Simone Corsi MV Agusta 22.913
14 Thailand Somkiat Chantra Kalex 23.247
15 Netherlands Bo Bendsneyder Kalex 23.108
16 Japan Tetsuta Nagashima Kalex 27.006
17 Belgium Barry Baltus NTS 28.086
18 United States Joe Roberts Kalex 32.719
19 Italy Stefano Manzi Kalex 37.542
20 Malaysia Hafizh Syahrin NTS 39.658
21 Fermín Aldeguer Boscoscuro B-21 40.685
22 Italy Lorenzo Baldassarri MV Agusta 47.168
  Italy Celestino Vietti Ramus Kalex  
  Germany Marcel Schrotter Kalex  
  Spain Albert Arenas Boscoscuro B-21  
  Spain Hector Garzo Kalex  
  United Kingdom Sam Lowes Kalex  
  Australia Remy Gardner Kalex  
  Switzerland Thomas Luthi Kalex  
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