Fabulous third for Fernandez in Styrian Grand Prix
Augusto Fernandez takes a second podium in a row as the Moto2 World Championship resumes at Austria’s Red Bull Ring, while Sam Lowes claims two valuable points with 14th.
- After heavy early morning rain, the 4.3-km Red Bull Ring track had dried substantially before the Moto2 race got underway at 12.20pm local time, meaning all riders started the 25 laps on slick tyres.
- Wet patches remained, however, meaning Augusto Fernandez and Sam Lowes had to take care in the early laps. Fernandez’s excellent comeback to secure third means one of the two Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders have been on the podium at five of this year’s ten races so far.
/// AUGUSTO FERNANDEZ: 3rd, +3.260 s.
- Having qualified sixth, Augusto was left to rue the early laps of this race. He slipped to eighth on lap one and then mounted a stirring comeback toward the front.
- By the 14th lap the 23-year old was running the same pace as the leading quartet, albeit 2.2s behind. But Augusto got the result his efforts deserved when mistakes from two riders ahead saw him gain two positions in the later laps to finish third.
- His second podium of the year means Augusto stays in eighth place in the world championship standings with 66 points, just ten points back of Fabio Di Giannantonio in fifth.
“I’m looking to keep the same level next week”
“I’m happy to start the second part of the season where we finished the first! The conditions were tough at the start. I had to be careful and I lost a bit of time overtaking some riders. That’s why I lost the first group. Once I found my pace I kept pushing and kept the concentration. It was hard because the front group was lapping at the same pace as me. When they made a mistake, I was catching a bit. But maybe I made a little mistake and lost some time. I thought I would finish fifth, honestly. I wasn’t so happy with that because during the weekend in the dry we showed pace to fight even for the win. But in the end, you have to be there and keep pushing. The first mistake from Gardner came. Then Ogura had the Long Lap. I said thank you! But it wasn’t done because Gardner was behind me. I improved my lap time at the end. I’m very happy with the podium and I’m looking to keep the same level next week.”
/// SAM LOWES, 14th, + 14.536 s.
- Starting from seventh on the grid, the Briton showed plenty of aggression on the first lap to sit sixth. By lap seven, Sam was fourth and closing in on the three-rider fight for 3rd.
- But the 30-year-old started struggling around mid-race and dropped to sixth. Luck then deserted Lowes on several occasions. First, he was pushed wide at the start of lap 15 by another rider, which dropped him to tenth. A mistake on the last lap when chasing eighth saw him lose five further places.
- The result sees Lowes remain fourth in the world championship with 101 points to his name, 96 behind leader Remy Gardner.
“I really struggled in the second half and didn’t expect that”
“The conditions were hard. The first part of the race was OK. But I started to struggle a lot with a vibration that I haven’t had all weekend. I dropped back a lot with a few mistakes. I managed to feel better in the last few laps, got into P9 then I tried to get into P8 on the last lap to salvage some good points but ran a bit wide. Obviously off line was damp so when I came back on track I nearly crashed and lost a lot of positions. In the end two points is better than zero, but I really struggled in the second half and didn’t expect that. It’s something completely different to how I felt during the rest of the weekend. We have to look and understand what it was. Apart from that, it’s nice to be back racing again. This is a difficult track for me, and it’s not a nice way to start the second half of the season. But it’s two points and we’ll try and improve next week.”