Results and summary of the Moto2 race at Misano:
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto2 class at Misano:
Raul Fernandez has topped the final session of free practice for the Moto2 class, the KTM Ajo rider nearly two tenths faster than his ELF Marc VDS Racing namesake Augusto Fernandez. Championship leader Remy Gardner ended the session in third, while Augusto Fernandez' teammate Sam Lowes set the fourth fastest time.
Marcel Schrotter was fifth quickest, just a fraction ahead of Xavi Vierge on the Petronas Sprinta Moto2 bike. Marco Bezzecchi took sixth on the Sky VR46 machine. Just as with the Moto3 class, everyone through to Q2 improved their time on Saturday morning.
The only sunshine that the intermediate class got to enjoy on Friday in Misano was a few rays breaking through the cloud cover but making no impact on the soaking wet track surface. Rainy FP2 didn’t see many improvers compared to FP1 and Tom Luthi’s morning benchmark stood at the end of the day, with many of the same actors towards the top in both sessions. Marco Bezzecchi did manage to claim the second practice session by a tenth of a second from Augusto Fernandez, with Somkiat Chantra joining the top 3 despite a pretty big crash on his final flying lap.
The intermediate class’s first outing in Misano was well wet and the Dunlop rain tyres got some proper airtime. So did Marco Bezzecchi, the Italian thriving in the tricky conditions and enjoying an advantage of over half a second at times, but as conditions improved, he got demoted by Tom Luthi. The class veteran ended the morning almost three tenths quicker than Bezzecchi, with Nicolò Bulega a welcome addition to the top three.
The Moto2 race at Aragon may have been more sedate than the MotoGP outing, it offered up a tremendous exhibition of grit, while Moto3 threw up a number of interesting talking points.
Fernandez on another level
The standout take from Raul Fernandez’s 2021 campaign isn’t the blinding speed, or the five wins, the first Moto2 rookie to achieve as many since Marc Marquez in 2011. It’s his reaction to any form of adversity. Just as he did at Assen in June, the 20-year old bounced back from a crash in the previous race with an imperious victory at Aragon with the biggest winning margin on the year (5.4 seconds).
But this one was the most special to date. Just nine days before, Fernandez broke the fifth metacarpal bone in his right hand in a near stationary bicycle accident at his home outside Madrid. The hand was operated on two days later, and he arrived in Aragon admitting the injury was “bad news for fighting for the title.”
But aside from a moment in FP1 when he seemed to tweak the injury during a moment on the kerbs, Fernandez’s handicap never looked apparent as he confidently took control of the race from Sam Lowes on lap four. From there he never looked back, and trimmed his deficit in the title race to 39 points. Even team-mate and championship leader Remy Gardner held his hands up after the race. “I have to say, man, Raul was on another level with his pace. I couldn’t match that. He’s doing an incredible job. He’s a tough opponent.”
Red Bull KTM’s hugely successful rider programme has got other factories worried – is that a problem or not?
The tighter and more competitive MotoGP becomes the more everything matters.
MotoGP’s current technical regulations guarantee that all the bikes have similar performance. Thus the rider becomes an ever-more important part of the equation because he or she is the surest way of making that vital difference.
So how do you find the best riders? You open your wallet, of course. But what if someone else has flashed the cash before you and locked a talented youngster into a long-term deal?
Moto2 standings after the Aragon race:
Results and summary of the Moto2 race at MotorLand Aragon: