Austrian Moto2: Fernandez fends off Ogura for fourth win of 2021
MotoGP-bound Raul Fernandez fended off fellow Moto2 rookie Ai Ogura to win the Austrian Grand Prix and close in on his championship leading Ajo KTM team-mate Remy Gardner.
A week after his promotion to MotoGP in 2022 with Tech3 KTM was announced – a move he wasn’t thrilled about – Fernandez boosted his title hopes at the Red Bull Ring on Sunday with the fourth win of his rookie season after Gardner was a distant seventh.
Sam Lowes converted pole position into the holeshot from Fernandez, while a multi-rider collision erupted at Turn 1 instigated by American Racing rider Cameron Beaubier – who was hit with a double long-lap penalty.
Fernandez found his way into the lead at Turn 3 on the third lap, while Ogura quickly followed suit on the Marc VDS rider two tours later.
Both Fernandez and Ogura quickly put eight tenths between themselves and the chasing pack, while the gap between the leaders hovered around three tenths.
Ai Ogura, Honda Team Asia
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Lowes was dumped out of the podium places on lap six by his Marc VDS team-mate Augusto Fernandez, but the latter could do nothing to close in on Ogura and Fernandez ahead of him.
Fernandez managed to get his lead up to half a second on lap 17, but Ogura responded in the closing stages and brought that disadvantage down again.
Despite Ogura’s best intentions, Fernandez continued to resist the pressure placed on him by his fellow Moto2 rookie, breaking open the gap to almost eight tenths of a second as they started the final lap.
Fernandez came under no threat through to the chequered flag, leading Ogura by 0.845s – the Honda Team Asia rider securing his maiden MotoGP podium in second.
Augusto Fernandez completed the podium in third ahead of Lowes – who was one of only a handful of riders to race with the harder rear tyre – and VR46 rider Celestino Vietti.
The VR46 rookie thought he was celebrating a season-best fifth, but was demoted one spot to sixth for exceeding track limits on the last lap, which promoted Honda Team Asia’s Somkiat Chantra to a career-best fifth after a last-corner clash between the pair.
Gardner’s seventh was the worst of his 2021 season so far, the Australian beating Aspar’s Aron Canet, the SAG Kalex of Tom Luthi and Styrian GP winner Marco Bezzecchi to round out the top 10.
Bezzecchi’s disappointing result means he slips further behind in the championship standings to 47 adrift of Gardner going to the British GP.
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