Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) continued his impressive Moto2 apprenticeship at Mugello today, finishing the race in sixth place, for his fourth top-seven result from the last five races.
The 20-year-old from Tokyo is taking an eminently sensible approach to his rookie season in the intermediate category – riding as fast as he can, while focusing on always finishing the race and thereby learning as much as he can from each Grand Prix weekend.
This afternoon Ogura started from 12th on the grid and after keeping that position for the first few laps he started moving forward at an amazing rate. after just six of the 21 laps he was ninth and in the final laps he got the better of former Moto3 rival Tony Arbolino (Liqui Moly Intact GP Kalex) to take sixth place.
Team-mate Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) was three places away from scoring more points after twice losing time due to the actions of other riders. The second contact put the 22-year-old Thai rider at the back of the pack, but he recovered well with an excellent pace to take the chequered flag in 18th place.
Next weekend Ogura and Chantra get to race at their European home circuit of Barcelona-Catalunya, close to the Idemitsu Honda Team Asia team base.
Today’s race was won by Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex), who extended his World Championship lead after successfully hunting down team-mate Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex). Gardner (son of Wayne Gardner, who in 1987 became Honda’s second premier-class World Champion) now leads Fernandez by six points.
Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex) finished third to move into third in the points chase, after Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) crashed out while chasing Fernandez with six laps remaining.
Bezzecchi crossed the line in fourth place, just behind Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex), but Roberts was penalised one position for exceeding track limits on the final lap.
The event was overshadowed by the passing of Jason Dupasquier, the 19-year-old Swiss rider who lost his life following an accident in yesterday’s Moto3 Q2 qualifying session. Honda sends its deepest condolences to Dupasquier’s family, team and loved ones.