The 13th round of the 2021 Moto2 World Championship saw Sam Lowes start from pole at the Grand Prix of Aragon, alongside championship contenders Remy Gardner and the injured Raul Fernandez.
It was Sam Lowes who made the holeshot, ahead of Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez. However, when they came round to complete the first lap, Lowes led from Fernandez, who had passed Gardner at turn 12.
Lowes became the next victim of Fernandez at turn one on lap two, and the Spaniard soon pulled out a one second lead.
Only Lowes could get anywhere close to Fernandez’ pace, and the two pulled away significantly from Gardner in third. On lap 13, though, the pace proved too much for Lowes, who crashed at turn seven. Fernandez, then, had a relatively straightforward run to the flag in the final eight laps, as even with his injured right hand he was able to keep teammate and championship leader Gardner at a comfortable distance.
It was perhaps Fernandez’ most impressive win of the season, and his fifth in total. On Friday he had doubts about whether he would be able to finish the Grand Prix at all, and yet two days later he won by a margin that embarrassed his competition.
On a day when more distant – and realistically already very unlikely – title contenders crashed, Remy Gardner did not. The Australian did not have the pace of Lowes or Fernandez ahead of him, but he made sure he was in position, despite some pressure from behind, to take advantage of Lowes’ mistake on lap 13. And, himself, Gardner remained free of major errors, as he has all season, and his points lead remains significant with five races to go. The 1-2 for the Red Bull KTM Ajo team also confirmed them as the 2021 Moto2 Teams’ World Champions, which is entirely unsurprising and completely deserved after a dominant season.
Augusto Fernandez’ podium hopes looked doomed after the first couple of laps when he was running in 15th. But a significant attrition rate, which saw multiple riders go down in the early laps, helped the Spaniard to find some clear space on track, and from that point he could impose his pace. In truth it was a fantastic comeback for the #37, as he recovered from the fringes of the points to secure a podium in the closing stages of the race, where he had to fight against the tyre-friendly Boscoscuro of Jorge Navarro. It also must be said that Fernandez will not have been too displeased to see the bikes of the team he will join in 2022 running once again so strongly.
For Navarro, it was another race at the front, and one which proves his change in form is related to the new tyres brought by Dunlop in recent races. His improvement is also reflected by others with the same chassis, although Aron Canet – who finished fifth in Aragon today – was the standout Boscoscuro rider when the tyres were not to the frame’s liking. Navarro will move to Sito Pons’ team for 2022, and a Kalex frame, so the remaining five races will be all the Spaniard has to achieve his first Moto2 victory with the Italian brand.
Behind fifth-placed Canet was Fabio Di Giannantonio in sixth, who crossed the line on the back wheel despite the fact he fought for the win in Aragon in 2020. The Italian was ahead of Fermin Aldeguer, who had a stunning end to the race, rising from outside the top 10 to finish seventh. The Spaniard will be on MotoE duties in Misano in a couple of weeks, but he will be much sought after by Moto2 teams for next year after his impressive displays in both the European and World Moto2 championships this season.
Ai Ogura finished eighth, ahead of Tony Arbolino and Marcel Schrotter, which for Arbolino was his best finish since he was seventh in Mugello.
Simone Corsi was 11th for MV Agusta’s best finish of the season, while Marcos Ramirez recovered from a bad start to finish 12th, ahead of Joe Roberts, Cameron Beaubier and Celestino Vietti who took the final point in 15th.
Barry Baltus just missed out on points in 16th, ahead of Lorenzo Baldassarri’s replacement, Manuel Gonzalez; while Stefano Manzi was 18th, Hafizh Syahrin 19th and John McPhee completed the top 20 on his Moto2 debut. Xavi Cardelus finished 21st and last of the classified finishers.
The attrition rate in the Moto2 race was colossal, with 11 riders crashing out, including Albert Arenas after his career best Moto2 qualifying of sixth, and Marco Bezzecchi who confirmed the end of his championship hopes.