The 2021 Moto2 World Championship got off to a thrilling start last weekend, with Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) dominating the race.
The 30-year British rider is aiming to become the first Briton to win the intermediate championship since Phil Read took the 250cc title in 1971, exactly half a century ago.
Lowes is aiming to repeat his dominance this weekend, building an important points advantage before the paddock returns to Europe for the first European GP in Portugal on April 18. That event is followed two weeks later by the Spanish GP.
Of course, although Lowes was unbeatable in round one, the riders who joined him on the podium – Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex)
22-year-old Italian – will be working hard to nullify his advantage this Sunday.
Di Giannantonio took third place by one hundredth of a second from Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex).
Fifth-place finisher Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex) was arguably the stand-out performer because this was his first race in the class after graduating from Moto3 for the 2021 season. The 20-year-old Spaniard is still at the very start of his learning curve in the class, so much will be expected from him as the season goes on.
Fernandez is one of half a dozen Moto3 graduates in Moto2 this year – each of them climbing the ladder towards the premier MotoGP category.
Also making the step up to Moto2 this year is Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex), who finished second in the 2020 Moto3 World Championship.
The 20-year-old from Tokyo also made a promising debut last Sunday, finishing the race just two places outside the points, and aims to put everything he learned into producing an even stronger race this weekend. During his first race on the Moto2 bike he got faster and faster, which fills him with confidence for his next outings.
Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) aims to join his team-mate in the points on Sunday after a promising ride in the season-opening race. The 22-year-old Thai rider was on course for a top-ten result last time out, until he made a mistake and then fell trying to make up for lost time. He is sure he has the pace to make the top ten if he has a little luck.