#VALENCIAGP – MOTO2, Fernandez The Champion as Acosta wins in Valencia
Augusto Fernandez is the 2022 Moto2™ World Champion! The Spaniard finished second to Red Bull KTM Ajo teammate Pedro Acosta in the final race of the season, the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, but the title was already his by the time he took the chequered flag after Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) crashed out of second place on Lap 8. Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) led for much of the 25-lap race and would eventually complete the podium at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo.
Half a point in it as Lopez gets his elbows out
Alonso Lopez (Beta Tools Speed Up) took the early lead from pole position, ahead of Acosta, Arbolino, and Ogura, who started the weekend trying to overhaul a 9.5-point deficit in the Championship. Fernandez took up fifth initially but lost the spot when Fermin Aldeguer (Beta Tools Speed Up) made an aggressive move at Turn 5 – and that was certainly not the only aggression in the opening stages.
Acosta passed Lopez as they started the second lap, but the pole-sitter dived straight back at him at Turn 2, making contact as he took both well wide. Lopez would be handed a conduct warning for that but the bigger implications were Arbolino assuming the lead and Ogura second place, from the Speed Up man, Acosta, and Fernandez – meaning the latter led the Championship, as live, by just half a point.
The race becomes even more treacherous
The stoush between Lopez and Acosta continued until the former ran well wide on Lap 4 at Turn 8 and dropped to fifth. He had no chance to recover when he ran wide again just three corners later and crashed out of the race. All of that meant that Fernandez’s live lead over Ogura was up to 2.5 points, until Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) passed the Spaniard into Turn 1 on Lap 6.
At the end of that lap, however, Ogura barely stopped himself from clattering into leader Arbolino at Turn 14, and Beaubier was indeed on the floor and out of the race, giving Fernandez some breathing space again. The Championship leader trailed third-placed Acosta by about one full second on the road, and the 2021 Moto3™ Champ looked to do his teammate a favour as he tried to pass Ogura on Lap 8.
Ogura crashes out
The Japanese rider was either able to re-pass immediately if not resist Acosta completely, until the knockout blow came moments later at Turn 8. Ogura crashed under brakes and his hopes were dashed, meaning Fernandez was able to cruise to the chequered flag if he wanted to. Not cruising was Acosta, who overtook Arbolino for the lead into Turn 1 on Lap 12, and then the Champion-elect passed ‘Tiger Tony’ for second spot on Lap 13 at Turn 6.
At that point, almost three seconds separated the podium places from the rider who had risen to fourth position, Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40). He continued to make up ground and had almost caught up to Arbolino before crashing with just over five laps to go at Turn 4, and that essentially settled the podium.
Glory for Fernandez, Ajo
Acosta scored the third victory of his rookie intermediate class season, by a margin of 1.232 seconds, but the biggest celebrations were saved for Fernandez, who heads up to MotoGP™ and Tech3 GASGAS Factory Racing as the newest Moto2™ World Champion. Arbolino got home an ultimately lonely third, ahead of Aldeguer, Albert Arenas (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team), Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team), Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team), and Jeremy Alcoba (Liqui Moly Intact GP), despite the latter having to serve a Long Lap Penalty late in the piece.
Senna Agius (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) finished ninth as injury replacement for Sam Lowes and Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) took a top 10 in his final Moto2™ race. Mattia Pasini (RW Racing GP) might have finished in the top 10 himself until the clash with Alcoba on Lap 19 at Turn 4 which put him on the floor and out of the race, while Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) was also among the DNFs after a virtually identical crash to teammate Ogura, and Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) eventually retired after a spill of his own.
Moto2™ Race Top 10:
1. Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
2. Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 1.232
3. Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 10.163
4. Fermin Aldeguer (Beta Tools Speed Up) + 14.407
5. Albert Arenas (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) + 18.904
6. Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team) + 20.554
7. Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) + 21.244
8. Jeremy Alcoba (Liqui Moly Intact GP) + 25.868
9. Senna Agius (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 33.763
10. Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) + 35.117
“It was incredible. I want to thank the whole team, my father, my family and the entire team behind us who have made us such a fantastic group. It has been a very nice year, and also a hard one with ups and downs, but with the group that we have created, we always believed in the title. Even at times when we were very far behind, we still believed. We did an amazing job. Thank you very much to everyone: To Aki, to KTM, to Red Bull, my father and my mother.”
Augusto Fernandez P2
“It was tough: I’m happy to have finished the race, because in reality I thought I couldn’t do it. It was not the result with which I wanted to greet the boys, but I could not do more. I thank the whole team for these 3 years of working together: unfortunately, due to my physical condition and some other problems along the way, we were unable to take advantage of the opportunities and achieve the results we wanted. I’m happy to have worked with all of them ”.
Lorenzo dalla Porta P14
“I am really sorry to end the season like this for me and the whole team. We never got into gear during the weekend, the two crashes on Friday really penalized us. Today I tried to take a small step forward to make some overtaking and finish the race. Unfortunately in an attempt to recover from Ramirez I made a mistake at three and crashed. A not easy 2022 ends, but I still want to thank the team, they have always given their best.”
Niccolò Antonelli NC
Click the button below to find out all the images of the #KytCrew during the weekend in Valencia.