Moto2 Qatar: VR46's Vietti dominates for maiden win

Celestino Vietti dominated the Moto2 Qatar Grand Prix for Valentino Rossi’s VR46 team to claim his first win, as Sam Lowes snatched a podium in a dramatic final corner.

Celestino Vietti, Team VR46

VR46 rider Vietti was promoted to pole at the end of qualifying on Saturday when original Q2 pacesetter Lowes was demoted to third for exceeding track limits.

The Moto2 sophomore converted pole to the holeshot at the start, as new Pons rider Aron Canet moved into second on lap two to give chase on the Italian.

However, Vietti’s lead was already at six tenths and was quickly out to over a second by the third tour of 20.

Vietti’s charge at the front carried on as his lead would soon swell to over two seconds, with Canet only able to respond for a brief phase mid-race.

But Canet could do nothing to put any pressure on Vietti, whose lead was out to over four seconds as he led the field onto the penultimate lap.

Vietti’s pace showed no signs of relenting as his gap extended to over six seconds as he comfortably took the chequered flag to make it back-to-back VR46 Academy wins following Andrea Migno’s Moto3 victory earlier in the day.

Canet held onto a lonely second to kick off his time with Pons Racing in fine fashion, while Marc VDS rider Lowes completed the podium in dramatic fashion.

Aron Canet, Pons Racing

Aron Canet, Pons Racing

Photo by: MotoGP

Lowes was embroiled in the battle for the final podium spot with former team-mate Augusto Fernandez, who has moved to Ajo KTM this year, and Honda Team Asia rider Ai Ogura.

Fernandez snatched third on the final lap but was knocked wide at the last corner when Ogura lost the front of his Kalex and clattered into the side of the Spaniard.

This stopped Ogura from crashing out, while Fernandez stayed mounted – though Lowes came through to steal third, the Britain gritting his teeth through a tendinitis issue that has dogged him this weekend.

Fernandez was fourth ahead of the sister Marc VDS bike of Tony Arbolino, who was lucky to stay on his bike after suffering a big front-end slide at Turn 4 on the final lap while he was battling for third.

Ogura completed the top six after his wild final corner moment, with the sister Pons bike of Jorge Navarro seventh ahead of Italtrans’ Joe Roberts and American Racing rider Cameron Beaubier.

Marcel Schrotter rounded out the top 10 on his Intact GP bike, with Aspar’s Jack Dixon recovering to 11th after he was nudged wide at Turn 1 on the opening lap.

Reigning Moto3 world champion and hot favourite for the Moto2 title Pedro Acosta also got forced off track at Turn 1 on the first lap and dropped down to the back of the field. The 17-year-old recovered aboard his Ajo KTM machine to end his Moto2 debut in 12th.

Moto2 Qatar Grand Prix - race results:

Cla Rider Bike Laps Time
1 Italy Celestino Vietti Ramus Kalex 20 -
2 Spain Arón Canet Kalex 20 6.154
3 United Kingdom Sam Lowes Kalex 20 10.181
4 Spain Augusto Fernandez Kalex 20 10.259
5 Italy Tony Arbolino Kalex 20 11.421
6 Japan Ai Ogura Kalex 20 12.331
7 Spain Jorge Navarro Kalex 20 14.866
8 United States Joe Roberts Kalex 20 15.371
9 United States Cameron Beaubier Kalex 20 17.368
10 Germany Marcel Schrotter Kalex 20 18.908
11 United Kingdom Jake Dixon Kalex 20 18.958
12 Spain Pedro Acosta Kalex 20 26.051
13 Spain Albert Arenas Kalex 20 26.139
14 Spain Jeremy Alcoba Kalex 20 31.755
15 Italy Romano Fenati Boscoscuro B-21 20 33.639
16 Fermín Aldeguer Boscoscuro B-21 20 34.155
17 Italy Simone Corsi MV Agusta 20 34.699
18 Spain Marcos Ramirez MV Agusta 20 36.282
19 Netherlands Bo Bendsneyder Kalex 20 40.594
20 Manuel Gonzalez Kalex 20 43.946
21 Argentina Gabriel Rodrigo Kalex 20 44.347
22 Italy Alessandro Zaccone Kalex 20 49.180
23 Keminth Kubo Kalex 20 50.203
24 Zonta Van Kalex 20 56.194
25 Sean Dylan Kalex 20 56.336
26 Italy Niccolo Antonelli Kalex 20 56.357
  Belgium Barry Baltus Kalex 19 1 lap
  Italy Lorenzo Dalla Porta Kalex 15 5 laps
  Czech Republic Filip Salač Kalex 2 18 laps

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