Vietti took a stunning win at the Catalan GP after he fought his way back from a poor start to beat the rest of the field. Despite leading for much of the second half of the race, Canet was forced to settle for second as his first Moto2 win still eludes him. Fernandez made a late move on the final lap to claim the final podium place.
Celestino Vietti has given his championship hopes another boost today, taking his third win of the 2022 season in Catalunya. Despite starting on pole, he was forced to fight his way through the field as he dropped to fifth on the first lap. A well-timed move allowed him to take the lead from Spanish rider, Aron Canet, in the dying moments of the race.
The final podium spot was filled by Augusto Fernandez, despite Jake Dixon sitting within the top three for the entire race. He made a brilliant last-corner lunge to steal third from the Brit.
Despite a brilliant start and leading the first half of the race, today will be a day to forget for Joe Roberts who crashed out of the race, leaving him unable to repeat the success he enjoyed in Portugal.
AS IT HAPPENED
As the lights went out and the race started, Dixon and Roberts enjoyed a strong start as they leapt up to first and second respectively. Canet slotted in behind them in third whilst Vietti dropped from pole down to fifth. Sam Lowes also struggled at the start of the race, dropping from sixth to 11th. Marcel Schrotter, trying a different strategy on harder tyres, moved up from ninth to seventh.
A few corners into the race and Roberts made a move on Dixon, taking the lead and he shot down the inside of the British rider. By the time the grid started their third lap, Roberts had a 0.4s lead on Dixon, whilst Canet set the fastest lap time just behind them. These fast times allowed Canet to quickly get himself up to second, just ahead of Dixon.
Further down the pack, our top two championship contenders were battling for fifth – Vietti was just ahead of Ai Ogura, with the pair jostling and swapping position with every lap.
On lap three, we had our first crash of the race as Alex Toledo went down at Turn 10. This was not the end he had been hoping for as he entered his first Moto2 race to replace the injured Gabriel Rodrigo. The following lap saw Filip Salac end up in the kitty litter, as he crashed out from 13th whilst trying to follow Pedro Acosta. Three laps later and it was Cameron Beaubier who went down, suffering a fast crash at Turn 14.
Meanwhile, Vietti and Ogura were still battling, with Vietti only just ahead in fifth. Ogura then made an uncharacteristic mistake as the front started to slide from under him – he managed to keep the bike upright but, in doing so, he dropped down to seventh. He then lost another place to Schrotter, who stole seventh place from him on lap nine. Ogura was simply unable to fight back and failed to make any other significant moves during the race.
Lap ten saw Roberts enjoying a 2.4s lead as Dixon makes a move on Canet for second. He bumped in to the side of the Spanish rider and stole second place. However, disaster struck just one lap later when Roberts suffered a crash at Turn 5. Late in the corner, the bike slid from under him and he found himself stuck in the kitty litter.
This meant that we now had Dixon leading the way, just ahead of Canet in second and Albert Arenas in third. This also promoted Vietti up to fourth whilst Ogura was still stuck in seventh.
At this point in the race, Vietti seemed to come alive and started making his way through the field. He quickly took third from Arenas and started to reduce the gap to the leading pair ahead. At the same time, Canet, who was the fastest rider on the track, made a move on Dixon to lead the race for the first time. Dixon shortly found himself under yet more pressure as Vietti quickly closed the gap and, on lap 15, he made a move to take second away from the Brit.
As we approached the final lap, everything was hotting up – Fernandez and Schrotter both came past Arenas whilst Lowes was battling with Ogura.
On lap 17, with just four laps remaining, Vietti finally made his move for the lead. However, he wasn’t able to keep this for long and, on lap 18, Canet found the slipstream on the start-finish straight and regained the lead.
The final lap started with Canet in first, Vietti in second with Dixon third and Fernandez fourth. The top four were incredibly close, with barely a hair’s width between them. In the final sector, Vietti and Canet bumped into each other as Vietti made an aggressive, but successful, move for the lead. Just behind, Dixon lost his podium place to Fernandez as he made a perfectly timed lunge at the final corner.
As the only rider to win multiple Moto2 races this year, Vietti remains at the top of the championship standings with 133 points.
In second place is still Ogura, but the gap has now been extended to 16 points after he was unable to make waves in today’s race.
Third in the standings belongs to Canet on 109 points, just ahead of Fernandez and Tony Arbolino in fourth and fifth.
Feature Image Credit: MotoGP
Posted on 5th June, 2022 for The PitCrew Online
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