Lowes battles through pain barrier but just misses out on Moto2 title

An injured Sam Lowes can't quite overcome the margin to Enea Bastianini to secure an elusive Moto2 World Championship... but he gives it a good go!

Enea Bastianini has been crowned the 2020 Moto2 World Champion in a tense season finale at Portimao, holding off a heroic Sam Lowes who battled through the pain barrier to take the title battle right to the final laps.

Coming into the Portugal race with a 14-point margin over closest challenger Lowes, though Bastianini’s margin was fairly comfortable, mathematically he still also had Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi breathing down his neck.

With all but Bezzecchi landing a top five spot on the grid, the calculators were out making constant adjustments to the live championship order as fortunes fluctuated  between the contenders.

Indeed, Bastianini started well but would steadily get sucked into the chasing pack, losing touch with a top three that comprised Remy Gardner, Marini and Lowes. With Gardner briefly dropping back, Lowes found himself trailing leader Marini by only a few tenths knowing full well a win - with Bastianini in sixth - would be enough to take the crown.

However, minor errors began to creep into his effort, the legacy of the hand injury he suffered in Valencia beginning to make its presence felt. To his credit, after dropping back, Lowes hauled himself back into contention but an out-of-the-seat moment with five laps to go would consign him to a still remarkable third place finish.

With Bastianini settling in a tight chasing pack, he would cross the line in fifth place to secure Italtrans’ first-ever Moto2 title crown. A penultimate lap pass allowed a revitalised Gardner to secure his maiden win in the series, though second for Marini brought him level with Lowes in terms of points and allowed him to take the runners-up spot on countback.

The championship leader with three races to go after a trio of wins on the bounce, a heavy crash in Valencia last weekend resulted in the hand injury that ultimately cost him a run at the title. Despite the late disappointment,  Lowes - who revealed post-race he had in fact two broken bones in his hand - was proud of his achievements, admitting he didn’t think he’d even be close after morning warm-up.

“I didn’t expect a podium today, I didn’t say much about the hand but I have two broken bones in there, so to come to a difficult track and fight with the guys was fantastic,” he said. 

“I didn’t think I had a chance today, but I went for it. We’re third in the championship but I gave it everything this weekend and I am really proud to get this podium because after morning warm-up I didn’t think I had a chance. 

“Congratulations to Enaa, he is a worthy champion and I wish him and Luca all the best in MotoGP.”

While Bastianini, Marini and Jorge Martin progress to MotoGP next season, Lowes is set to stay in Moto2 for a renewed run at the title with Marc VDS.
 

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