Sam Lowes takes superb win in the #FrenchGP – Augusto Fernandez fourth
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS celebrated its best race of the 2020 season in Le Mans today with Sam Lowes taking a stunning victory and Augusto Fernandez fighting for the podium throughout a dramatic 25-lap French Grand Prix.
Lowes and Fernandez played starring roles in cold, damp and breezy conditions this afternoon to claim season best finishes on a memorable day for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS in round 10 of this year’s Moto2 World Championship.
Briton Lowes marked his milestone 100th Moto2 appearance in sensational style to win for the first time since the Aragon round in 2016, while Fernandez mounted a brilliant surge through the field to finish close to the podium in fourth position from the fifth row.
Lowes gave himself the perfect pre-race tonic this morning when he dominated the 20-minute Warm-up session, with a best time of 1:36.859 in a 12-lap stint putting him a commanding 0.669s clear of teammate Fernandez, who made it a Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS 1-2 heading into this afternoon’s race.
Lowes quickly mastered mixed conditions and took the lead on lap two before he pulled off an incredible save in the braking zone for turn eight on lap seven, which dropped him to second behind compatriot Jake Dixon.
The 30-year-old lost three seconds when he ran wide but quickly regained his composure to begin piling the pressure back on Dixon, who crashed out of the lead at the final corner with five laps to go.
Lowes kept maximum concentration in the final stages to take his first win in 68 races by the commanding margin of 3.8s and he is now firmly in title contention having closed to within 22 points of World Championship leader Luca Marini with five races remaining.
“I want to say thanks so much to every single person involved in the team to get me back in this good way, fighting to win races. I’m really grateful for that. It’s been a great day and a great weekend. We knew that if we could keep doing good races and putting ourselves in good positions, we could win. In the last race we were close and here was one step better. It’s really nice for me after a few years off the top step. I’m really happy and really proud of myself. I’m looking forward to Aragon, a track that I love and the place I last won at before we came here. It’s great for me to win the Shark helmets French Grand Prix, a long-time sponsor of mine and I’m just really happy about the whole weekend.”
After rain disrupted the earlier MotoGP encounter, the 4.1km Bugatti Circuit had dried sufficiently for the entire Moto2 field to start the 25-lap race on Dunlop’s slick tyres, with Fernandez in confident mood after he finished second in this morning’s dry Warm-Up session.
Having come from 14th to the podium in last year’s French Grand Prix, Fernandez looked on course for another remarkable recovery with an aggressive first lap moving the 23-year-old up seven places into eighth position.
His relentless charge continued and from lap 10 onwards he was engaged in a thrilling podium battle with Marco Bezzecchi and Remy Gardner before he took the chequered flag in a fantastic fourth position.
The Spaniard’s superb podium attack moved him into 13th place in the overall standings on 49-points and his season best result helped moved Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS move into second position in the Team Championship.
“I’m happy with the result after a great comeback. I enjoyed the race a lot and I had nice moments overtaking. It was a shame at the end because I was struggling a lot with arm pump so I couldn’t fight at the end. I arrived to the group with a lot more. I had more pace and I felt really good on the bike, stronger than them. But it was a bit frustrating because I knew I could beat them but my arm wouldn’t let me. That was a shame because with Sam’s win it would have been nice to have a double podium for the team. Anyway, I’m happy with P4, with the comeback and with the race. We are strong so let’s bring these good feelings to Aragon. I really enjoy riding there, it’s one of my favourite tracks and I hope to keep on this good line.”