Another tough race in a sweltering Sachsenring provided a mix of utter domination and last lap duels to decide the configuration of the podium. At the end of 28 hot laps, it became quite clear that the Red Bull KTM Ajo boys are back in business, with Augusto Fernandez running away with the victory and taking the chequered flag almost eight seconds before teammate Pedro Acosta, the rookie quickly progressing from 11th on the grid to defend second from the poleman and the home favourite. Although Sam Lowes could not cope with Fernandez’s speed to convert pole into victory, he makes a well-deserved return to the podium on his 150th GP start.
Lowes had made a solid start off the line, to keep control of the pack, while Marcel Schrotter was immediately in the mix at turn one, getting ahead of front row starters Fernandez and Albert Arenas. Having started in the middle of the fourth row, Acosta was in top 6 contention after the opening lap, ahead of Jake Dixon, Tony Arbolino and Fermín Aldeguer, while the main title contenders were pushing to join the top 10 early on.
By lap three, it seemed like Lowes and Schrotter had the early advantage, but the Red Bull KTM Ajo boys were soon picking up the pace, with Fernandez closing the small gap to the two leaders and Acosta being the quickest man on track, making progress in the top 5. Fernandez made his move on Schrotter at turn three and set off in pursuit of Lowes straight away, attacking the Brit next time around turn three to take the lead on lap six and immediately extend a half second gap at the front. Although Lowes tried to respond, the poleman soon found himself over one second behind and with Acosta reeling him in, with Schrotter and Arenas still in tow. Just under a second behind, Aron Canet and Joe Roberts were pushing to join the podium battle, while title contenders Celestino Vietti and Ai Ogura engaged in direct battle for minor point-scoring positions.
By lap 12, the race started to look like a deja-vu from an hour or so ago, with Fernandez setting a fierce pace to extend a cushy three-second gap, while Lowes was fending off Acosta in the battle for podium crumbs. Acosta did not even have to flex his muscles too much, as a moment at turn three for Lowes allowed the rookie to breeze past at the halfway point of proceedings. Home favourite Schrotter was steadily dropping out of podium contention, around one second behind the duo and keeping Arenas at bay, while Canet had company from Aldeguer two seconds down the road. Another second back, Alonso Lopez, Ogura and Tony Arbolino were still deciding the remaining top 10 positions, while Vietti was not having the time of his life down in 14th position.
The opposite was definitely true for Fernandez, the Spaniard six seconds ahead of the field with 10 laps still left of the race, although we did not get to see much of his delight, as all eyes were on the growing battle for second. Although Acosta led the pursuit, Lowes looked keen to recover the position he conceded and kept glued to the rookie’s tail, but with Schrotter keeping close behind as well. After losing touch with the German, Arenas didn’t have much breathing room, with Aldeguer immediately breathing down his neck and despite risking mild dehydration from a disconnected water bottle, the rookie made his move to join the top 5 for the final half dozen laps. While teammate Lopez had Ogura on his case, the Japanese rider was even more keen to make up ground as he was notified that rival Vietti crashed out of 12th position with seven laps remaining.
If Fernandez was enjoying clean – if a bit too warm – air at the front, teammate Acosta had a track limits warning and an aggressive Lowes to contend with. The Brit made his move at turn 12 with four laps remaining, but the rookie immediately retaliated at turn one. Copy-paste one lap later, with Acosta answering every attack and then Schrotter re-joining the party and attacking Lowes for third with two laps remaining. Lowes reclaimed third at the start of the final lap and reeled in Acosta once more, with some contact at the final corner, but the rookie crossed the finish line one tenth of a second ahead of Lowes. Schrotter missed out on a home podium by another tenth, with Aldeguer coming strong in the closing laps to almost challenge for the podium and secure fifth. Compatriot Arenas celebrated his best result in Moto2 in sixth, ahead of Lopez, with Ogura climbing into eighth and Canet holding onto ninth after a difficult few days.
Vietti’s misfortune pours some fuel over the championship fire, bringing Ogura within 8 points and allowing Fernandez to close in to 12 points, with Canet 17 points down.
|17||4||Sean Dylan Kelly||Kalex||39.217|
|18||84||Zonta Van Den Goorbergh||Kalex||46.429|
|42||Marcos Ramirez||MV Agusta||28:02.8360|
|19||Lorenzo Dalla Porta||Kalex||14:33.4940|
|24||Simone Corsi||MV Agusta||10:08.2950|