Despite pretty dark cloud cover and spots of rain falling on the camera during the warm-up lap, Misano was kind on the intermediate class and kept things dry throughout the 25 laps. Raul Fernandez might not agree about the kind part but whatever pain he showed in parc ferme did not show on track, as the rookie of the year scored a sixth victory of the season and got closer to threatening Marquez’s decade-long rookie race win tally. The Spaniard fended off teammate Remy Gardner, who limited the damage in the championship with second place ahead of an impressive Aron Canet.
Fernandez might have started from pole but lost the lead to Sam Lowes by the end of lap 1, the duo closely followed by Canet and Xavi Vierge, while the early exchanges between Gardner and Marco Bezzecchi dropped them half a second back. Augusto Fernandez also kept them company after the front row starter lost ground in a touchy turn 2 incident. However, second row starter Jorge Navarro had an even tougher start, dropping to 16th by lap 2 and then getting penalised with a long lap penalty for irresponsible riding.
Back at the front, Lowes pushed to open a gap of around half a second, helped by Canet making a move on Fernandez on lap 4. While the Spaniards were trying to reel in the Brit, Vierge started fading and soon joined the next group, one second down the road, including Gardner, Bezzecchi and Augusto Fernandez. Lowes had close company by lap 8 and the moves started coming that same lap, with Canet picking up the lead at turn 14, after Lowes went a touch wide. The mistake proved particularly costly, as it encouraged Raul Fernandez to attack soon after, Lowes dropping to third and continuing to look a bit unsettled, which then dropped him into the clutches of the Gardner group.
Canet and Raul Fernandez maintained a half second gap to Lowes and Gardner by lap 11 but the Marc VDS rider seemed to have settled after a scrappy few laps and the victory battle soon turned into a four-man affair. Bezzecchi and Vierge kept each other entertained around a second and a half behind, while Augusto Fernandez was almost a second back and under attack from Ai Ogura.
The calm before the storm set in by half race distance, the four leaders biding their time, while the chasers were not making much noise either. Raul Fernandez eventually attacked Canet into turn 1 with 11 laps to go and reclaimed the lead, his teammate following his example into turn 2 a couple of laps later, taking third away from Lowes. Despite setting a lap record, Fernandez struggled to shake off Canet and Gardner over the next few laps, while Lowes dropped about half a second back but still a safe 2 seconds ahead of Bezzecchi, Vierge and Augusto Fernandez.
Raul Fernandez continued to raise the bar at the front, but his two rivals nearly matched him on lap time and the rookie also had to contend with a track limits warning for the final five laps. Regardless, the KTM man still managed to open up a seven tenths’ advantage with 3 laps remaining, leaving Canet and Gardner to seemingly decide the final podium positions, with Lowes a distant observer. Gardner made his move at turn 2 with 2 laps remaining and pushed hard to close on his teammate going into the final lap. Although the gap came down to a measly three tenths, a big moment for Gardner at turn 11 allowed Fernandez to take the chequered flag ahead of his teammate. Gardner held off Canet for second, while Lowes was best of the rest in fourth. Bezzecchi took fifth, three seconds later, ahead of Augusto Fernandez and Ai Ogura, with Vierge, Di Giannantonio and Celestino Vietti rounding out the top 10 positions.
Raul Fernandez’s painful but perfect two weekends bring him 34 points behind Gardner in the championship battle, with Bezzecchi pretty firmly out of contention on a 81 point deficit.
|9||21||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Kalex||+7.562|
|24||7||Lorenzo Baldassarri||MV Agusta||+43.861|
|35||Somkiat Chantra||Kalex||3 Laps|
|19||Lorenzo Dalla Porta||Kalex||6 Laps|
|70||Barry Baltus||NTS||13 Laps|
|5||Yari Montella||Boscoscuro||13 Laps|
|24||Simone Corsi||MV Agusta||23 Laps|