Second place for Sam Lowes after brilliant Barcelona battle, DNF for Augusto Fernandez
The ninth round of the 2020 Moto2 season at the Circuit of Barcelona provided riders with a unique challenge, with the track surface of the 4.6km track offering very little grip. Tyre management played a part in deciding the 22-lap race.
In cool ambient temperatures of just 18 degrees, Sam Lowes produced his strongest ride of the season, coming within 0.98s of the race win after a thrilling battle with Luca Marini. Augusto Fernández crashed out on the penultimate lap when fighting for fifth position.
It was a dramatic start to the day for Augusto, who had to dismount his bike in warm-up due to a technical problem with the sealing of his fuel system. Thanks to the hard work of his Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS mechanics, he started the race with a perfect machine.
The recently turned 23-year old enjoyed a great start to the race and gained three places on lap one. By lap 15 he had made real progress and was sitting in sixth while having a good fight with Enea Bastianini.
Engaged in a four-rider fight for fourth place, Augusto’s race came to an unfortunate end on the penultimate lap when he lost the front of his machine at turn seven.
The fall sees Fernández drop to 16th in the World Championship with 36 points, the same number as Fabio Di Giannantonio in 15th.
“It’s a shame to finish the race like this. I enjoyed this race a lot. I did a good start from twelfth. I didn’t feel good in the first laps but I found my pace and was recovering positions, riding fast and with a good pace. I was faster than what I was expecting. At the end of the race I was a bit on the limit. I wanted to win the fight with Bastianini and we were catching Roberts in fifth. I felt stronger than them and I wanted to beat them. I pushed a bit hard in the braking zone at turn seven and just closed the front. It was a tricky Sunday for us with the fire on the bike in warm up and then a crash in the race. Overall, I think I did my best, I gave my 100 percent. We were fighting for the top five so this a good step. Good times will arrive, I’m sure of it. We just need to keep pushing.”
Despite losing four positions on the first lap, the Briton soon found his rhythm. He posted the fastest lap of the race – a 1:43.544 – on the eighth circulation as he closed in on the leading trio of Luca Marini, Fabio Di Giannantonio and Jorge Navarro.
The 30-year old shrugged off a mistake on lap seven when overtaking Di Giannantonio to then hunt down the leader Marini, 1.2s ahead. He then passed the Italian with a brilliant move at turn one on lap 16 to lead the race.
A first Moto2 victory in four years was within sight but Marini retook the lead just two laps from the checkered flag. Lowes tried to respond on the penultimate lap bit a mistake at turn seven consigned him to second.
Still, this fantastic second place was Lowes’ first back-to-back podium appearance since May, 2016. He remains in fourth place in the World Championship with 103 points to his name, 47 behind Marini in first and just 11 back of Marco Bezzecchi in third.
“Nearly! I nearly had the win! To lead the race with two laps to go and finish second, you have a bit of a sour taste. Honestly when I got to the front I tried hard and put my pace. I was really happy with my own pace but Luca stayed with me. Then in the last two laps I made a small mistake and lost the victory. I’m happy to have my second podium in a row. It’s my first time on the podium in Catalunya. It’s a really important time of the year. The races come really fast, really close together. We’re in a good direction and have some good momentum. The team have done a fantastic job. Every weekend I say it, but it’s true. The bike is always there, improving every weekend and giving me confidence. Thank you to them and I look forward to the next race!”