Raul Fernandez eased ahead for his first Moto2 win after taking the lead and then pulling away as the remaining frontrunners tangled with each other in the closing stages of the Moto2 Portimao Grand Prix.

The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider echoed the performance of his Moto3 team-mate Pedro Acosta earlier in the day. A constant in the lead group, the fight for victory initially looked to be between early season favourite Marco Bezzecchi and Aron Canet.

Joe Roberts and Remy Gardner also featured in the battle at the front. Fernandez realisation that he was being dropped off saw him put in a string of personal best laps, which lead to the Spaniard being able to take advantage when Roberts ran wide at turn one moving into second.

At the start of the next lap Fernandez hit the front and never looked back, pulling out a 1.600s gap at the line on his Kalex.

The number 25 claimed his maiden Moto2 win at a track where he had shown good form in the past - Fernandez won the Moto3 race after qualifying on pole in Portimao at the end of last season.

With the front group brought back together after contact, running wide and fighting amongst themselves it was Aron Canet who kept his head and position to take second.

The Solunion Aspar rider pushed himself ( he had a track limit warning late in the race) and his Boscoscuro, ex-Speed Up to the limit to break up the Kalex dominance.

The result is Canet’s first podium appearance in Moto2.

Remy Gardner fought back to take the final rostrum spot, his late aggressive move up the inside of Roberts was enough to prevent a fightback and secure third.

Sam Lowes, who started on pole, was swamped at the first corner. The number 22 found himself on the dirty part of the track on a new tyre and was thrown from his bike, which clipped him, then landed on the Elf Marc VDS rider in the gravel. The early exit means Gardner now takes the lead in the championship standings.

Third place sees the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider lead the way for the first time in his career with a total of 56 points, while Fernandez climbs to 52 and Lowes stays on 50 with his two wins before this DNF.

A disappointed Roberts had to settle for fourth for Italtrans.

The American was clear of fifth placed Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS), his best result of the season so far.

Bezzecchi had a great start as the lights changed and lead the early stages of the race. The Sky Racing Team VR46 rider was given plenty of warnings from his bike and was continually out of his seat, leaving him to drop down the order and finish his race in sixth to ensure he finished at all.

Xavi Vierge was the last of the frontrunners to see the chequered flag in seventh for Petronas Sprinta Racing.

It was five seconds until the chasing group arrived at the chequered flag, with Hector Garzo leading them over the line in eighth for Flexbox HP 40.

Cameron Beaubier, a rookie with no experience at Portimao, got to run with the lead group early on before drifting back to ninth for American Racing.

Marcel Schrotter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) fought back to complete the top ten.

Fabio Di Giannantonio had a weekend plagued by bike issues, harming both his qualifying and warm-up. The Gresini rider gave everything he had in the race to climb to eleventh. Fellow Italian Lorenzo Dalla Porta was in pursuit all the way to the line, an eventual twelfth on the second Italtrans entry, his best ride this season.

Albert Arenas also put in a seasons best in 13th for Aspar. Lorenzo Baldassarri brought the MV Agusta home in 14th. 

Marcos Ramirez collected the final point on offer on his return from injury on the second American Racing entry.

Miquel Pons was the best of the stand-in riders in 19th. He replaces Tommaso Marcon, who was replacing the injured Simone Corsi before a positive Covid test.

Fraser Rogers is in for Barry Baltus  on the NTS and was 20th - he was the only British rider to finish with Jake Dixon also crashing out of contention.

There were two big incidents in quick succession at the start of the fifth lap - Turn one saw Yari Montella flung into the air, his bike collected an unsuspecting Stefano Manzi, with both machines catching fire in the gravel. The duo were reported to be okay following the accident. Moments later Ai Ogura collected his Idemitsu team-mate Somkiat Chantra at turn five.

Bo Bendsneyder also failed to see the finish, along with Celestino Vietti, who was clipped by Nicolo Bulega at the half way mark, with the pair arguing over who was the guilty party in the gravel.

 

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