Gardner on brink of world title

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Remy Gardner has won the Algarve Moto2 grand prix in Portimao to put himself on the brink of the world title.

The 23-year-old son of Australian motorcycle racing legend Wayne Gardner crashed on Friday and suffered damaged ribs. But he battled through the pain to win his fifth race of the campaign.

Gardner need only finish in the top 13 in the final race in Valencia next Sunday, and even then team-mate Raul Fernandez would have to win the race to overhaul Gardner.

The Spaniard all-but conceded when he said afterwards: "I want to say congratulations to Remy."

The Australian leads by 305 points to 282, and 13th place brings with it three points, enough to put him out of reach of Fernandez even if the latter takes the 25 points available to the winner.

"That's been one of the hardest races ever, one of the best races I've ever done, especially with all that pressure," said Gardner.

Between warm-up and the race I felt something move in my ribs, it was quite sore before I went out, so it was tough race pain-wise. I don't know how I did it."

The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider went into the race leading 21-year-old Fernandez by 18 points and qualified second fastest behind the Spaniard.

The Aussie made his move on the 11th lap, but the key decision was made beforehand when he opted for hard tyres while Fernandez chose softer ones. On a hot afternoon Fernandez was unable to maintain pace on his tyres and only just held onto second.

"I was pretty clear we were going to run the hard [tyres] and it worked out in the end," said Gardner, "but I had to stick in there first to stay with Remy because he had the soft ones."

Fernandez said: "I am very angry because I lost too much points for the championship. The decision on the tyre was the last moment, but not the best one."

Had Fernandez been caught Gardner would already be the champion, emulating father Wayne who won the premier class - then 500cc - in 1987.

If he clinches the title Gardner would be the first Aussie world champion in any of three three motorcycle grand prix classes since Casey Stoner won the second of his two in MotoGP in 2011.

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