Portimao Moto2: Bastianini champion, Gardner gets first win

Enea Bastianini did enough to clinch the Moto2 title with a fifth-place finish in a tense Portimao finale, as Remy Gardner took his first-ever grand prix win from pole.

Portimao Moto2: Bastianini champion, Gardner gets first win
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Italtrans rider Bastianini, Marc VDS man Sam Lowes and VR46 pair Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi came into the final round covered by 23 points, and fifth was enough to give MotoGP-bound Bastianini the crown by nine points over second-place finisher Marini.

It was Marini who got the holeshot from second on the grid, but he lost the lead when he selected neutral at Turn 3, allowing Gardner and Bastianini to move through.

Gardner’s early charge led to him opening up his gap to over a second after a handful of laps, while the injured Lowes worked his way past Marini on lap four to move into second.

Meanwhile, Bastianini was slipping down the order behind the likes of Bezzecchi, Lowes’ Marc VDS teammate Augusto Fernandez and Ajo KTM’s Jorge Martin.

Gardner’s lead would be wiped out by lap eight, with Marini and Lowes moving ahead into Turn 1, and the VR46 rider went on to open up a lead of 1.2s out front.

Gardner overhauled Lowes on lap 13 into the first corner after the Briton made a mistake a few corners earlier as he seemingly began to struggle with his injured wrist.

Marini would start to come under pressure from Gardner in the latter stages, while Lowes somehow rallied to keep the pair ahead in sight.

Bastianini continued to fight Fernandez over fifth spot and came under immense pressure in the latter stages as Martin, Fernandez and American Racing’s Joe Roberts closed up to him.

Gardner got on terms with Marini by lap 16 and pulled off his decisive overtake on the inside of Turn 3, with the SAG rider pulling clear by a second to claim the first grand prix win for his family since his father Wayne's win at the 500cc British GP in 1992.

Marini did all he could to keep his title hopes alive, but the Valentino Rossi protégé – who will partner Bastianini at the Avintia Ducati squad in MotoGP next year – would have still fallen short of the title even if he had beaten Gardner to the win.

Lowes’ heroic effort concluded with him securing the final step of the podium and third in the standings equal on points with Marini, with Bezzecchi ultimately ending up 21 points adrift of Bastianini after finishing the race fourth.

Bastianini held off Martin in fifth, with Roberts, Fernandez, Pons rider Lorenzo Baldassarri and Petronas Sprinta’s Xavi Vierge rounding out the top 10. 

Race results:

Cla # Rider Bike Laps Gap
1 87 Australia Remy Gardner
Kalex 23
2 10 Italy Luca Marini
Kalex 23 1.609
3 22 United Kingdom Sam Lowes
Kalex 23 3.813
4 72 Italy Marco Bezzecchi
Kalex 23 8.437
5 33 Italy Enea Bastianini
Kalex 23 8.646
6 88 Spain Jorge Martin
Kalex 23 8.899
7 16 United States Joe Roberts
Kalex 23 8.956
8 37 Spain Augusto Fernandez
Kalex 23 9.568
9 7 Italy Lorenzo Baldassarri
Kalex 23 10.367
10 97 Spain Xavi Vierge
Kalex 23 11.084
11 42 Spain Marcos Ramirez
Kalex 23 11.199
12 23 Germany Marcel Schrotter
Kalex 23 16.864
13 64 Netherlands Bo Bendsneyder
NTS 23 16.998
14 45 Japan Tetsuta Nagashima
Kalex 23 18.550
15 44 Spain Arón Canet
Speed Up 23 20.169
16 12 Switzerland Thomas Luthi
Kalex 23 22.918
17 19 Italy Lorenzo Dalla Porta
Kalex 23 27.141
18 35 Thailand Somkiat Chantra
Kalex 23 27.303
19 62 Italy Stefano Manzi
MV Agusta 23 27.340
20 77 Switzerland Dominique Aegerter
NTS 23 44.924
21 55 Malaysia Hafizh Syahrin
Speed Up 23 51.163
24 Italy Simone Corsi
MV Agusta 20 3 Laps
27 Indonesia Andi Gilang
Kalex 17 6 Laps
57 Spain Edgar Pons
Kalex 12 11 Laps
99 Malaysia Kasma Daniel Kasmayudin
Kalex 10 13 Laps
9 Spain Jorge Navarro
Speed Up 5 18 Laps
40 Spain Hector Garzo
Kalex 5 18 Laps
21 Italy Fabio Di Giannantonio
Speed Up 0
11 Italy Nicolo Bulega
Kalex 0
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