French Moto2: Fernandez converts maiden pole to victory
Ajo KTM Moto2 rookie Raul Fernandez converted a maiden pole to victory in a tense French Grand Prix as team-mate Remy Gardner held onto his championship lead in second.
After the preceding Moto3 race was run in damp-but-drying conditions, the Le Mans circuit had dried enough for the 25-lap Moto2 contest to be declared dry.
Marco Bezzecchi jumped poleman Fernandez off the line on the run through the first corners, with Joe Roberts on the Italtrans Kalex maintaining third.
Aron Canet demoted Roberts down to third at the Musee hairpin, though the Aspar rider’s race would come to an end at the Chemin aux Boeufs esses moments later.
Bezzecchi was able to open up a lead of over seven tenths on his VR46 Kalex straight away, with Roberts moving ahead of Fernandez on the fourth lap to try and track down the Italian in front.
However, Roberts would crash out at Chemin aux Boeufs on lap five, while Fernandez nailed his run through the chicane to pull of a pass for the lead on Bezzecchi at the Blue esses.
Joe Roberts, Italtrans Racing Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Behind, championship leader Remy Gardner on the sister Ajo KTM survived contact on the opening lap and steadily worked his way into championship contention.
Gardner’s contact was with Petronas Sprinta’s Xavi Vierge, who would be wiped out by title protagonist Sam Lowes at the Garage Vert double-apex right-hander on the fifth lap.
Fernandez’s lead stayed around the one-second mark through much of the middle part of the race, though once into second team-mate Gardner began to mount some late pressure.
Gardner’s route to second was handed to him on a plate when Bezzecchi ran wide at Garage Vert on lap 19.
Despite the attentions of his team-mate, Fernandez responded emphatically in the closing laps to re-open his lead back up to close to two seconds.
Fernandez would come under no pressure on the final lap on his way to the chequered flag to register his second win of his rookie Moto2 campaign.
Gardner’s championship lead stands at one point after crossing the finish line in second, while Bezzecchi clung onto third despite late grip issues.
Intact GP rookie Tony Arbolino fought his way from 19th to claim a season-best fourth ahead of SAG Racing’s Bo Bendsneyder, while Marcel Schrotter on the other Intact Kalex completed the
top six after a late crash for American Racing’s Cameron Beuabier.
Honda Team Asia’s Ai Ogura continued the impressive rookie run, as the Japanese rider guided his Kalex to seventh ahead of Jerez winner Fabio Di Giannantonio – the Gresini rider forced to serve a long-lap penalty after contact with Pons’ Hector Garzo on lap seven.
Simone Corsi took his best result of the season in ninth on the MV Agusta, with Jorge Navarro completing the top 10 on his Speed Up machine.
Jerez Moto2: Di Giannantonio claims dominant maiden win
Italian Moto2: Gardner edges team-mate Fernandez for Mugello victory