Lowes gets a glimpse of victory
MotoGP World Championship - Grand Prix of Catalunya
Race leader with three laps to go, Sam Lowes came within touching distance of his first victory of the season in Barcelona. The Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider eventually came home in second place, thereby securing back-to-back podium finishes.
“I was really close this time... There was very little in it.” As the chequered flag was waved to signal the conclusion of the ninth race of the Moto2 World Championship, Sam Lowes was torn between the satisfaction of a second successive top three finish - his first back-to-back podiums since 2016 - and the frustration of having let victory slip from his grasp with only a few kilometres to race. “To lead the race with two laps to go and finish second, you have a bit of a sour taste,” admitted the Briton. “But I’ve got more reasons to be happy than disappointed. It’s my first time on the podium in Catalunya and, more than anything, we’re improving every weekend. I made a small mistake and lost the win, but I feel like that first victory is just around the corner. I can't wait to get going in Le Mans.” It was an eventful Sunday in Catalunya for Lowes’ teammate Augusto Fernandez. Having abandoned his bike when it caught fire during the warm-up, come race time the Spaniard was in the fight for the top places before losing the front of his Kalex and crashing on the penultimate lap. “I’m obviously disappointed because I felt good on the bike,” he explained. “I was scrapping with Enea Bastianini, but unfortunately I pushed a bit hard in the braking zone.” The Red Bull KTM Tech3 team, meanwhile, had a difficult weekend. “We had a lot of trouble getting the tyres to work in the very cool temperatures,” explained Hervé Poncharal. “Miguel had a good FP3 but from the beginning of the race we knew it would be tough for him.” Having started from twelfth on the grid, the Portuguese rider crashed out while fighting to break into the top ten. “I had no slipstream, and when I was riding in clean air my front tyre cooled down a lot and I fell at the first left corner,” Oliveira said. He not the only rider to suffer that fate. Riding in his home grand prix, Iker Lecuona did manage to finish but only down in fourteenth place. “It isn’t a great result, but I’m quite happy that I finished the race and scored some points,” declared the Spaniard. In the Moto3 class, Ayumu Sasaki was the only rider to make it to the chequered flag. The Japanese rider finished seventeenth, while Deniz Öncü crashed out after being hit by another rider.
Having left Barcelona empty handed, Miguel Oliveira drops down a place in the overall standings. The Portuguese rider slips to eighth on 59 points. Iker Lecuona picked up 2 points but remains in eighteenth position in the MotoGP championship. In Moto2, Sam Lowes retains fourth place and is now only 11 points behind Italian Marco Bezzechi in third. Augusto Fernandez drops back to sixteenth position in the overall standings, tied on points with Fabio Di Giannantonio. In Moto3, Deniz Öncü loses a place, dropping back to eighteenth position, as does Ayumu Sasaki, who sits five spots back in twenty-third.