Team-mates Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) and Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) had high hopes of backing up their historic double podium at last Sunday’s Argentine GP with a great Saturday at the Grand Prix of Americas.
During this afternoon’s QP qualifying session both riders looked super-strong – Chantra going fastest with nine minutes remaining, then a few moments later Ogura bettered him!
However, the end of the session was less kind to the pair. Ogura was riding hard to secure a front-row start with five minutes to go when he lost the rear end exiting the Turn 11 hairpin. The 21-year-old from Chiba took a tumble and although unhurt was unable to better his earlier time. He ended up 11th fastest, so he will start the race from the fourth row of the grid.
Chantra completed the high-pressure 15-minute outing 17th quickest, putting the 23-year-old Thai rider on the sixth row for tomorrow’s race, the fourth round of the 21-round 2022 Moto2 season.
Chantra currently stands third overall in the points chase, thanks to his first victory in Indonesia and his second place in Argentina. Ogura is fourth on points.
Pole position went to Cameron Beaubier (American Racing), a first pole position for the 29-year-old American, who came to Grand Prix racing last year after dominating the US Superbikes series for several years.
Beaubier will be joined on the front row by World Championship leader Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) and second-overall Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40), who was going for pole in the final moments of Q2 when he slid off.
The second row is Tony Arbolino (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team), Albert Arenas (Autosolar GASGAS Aspar Team) and Jake Dixon (Autosolar GASGAS Aspar Team).
The top ten is completed by Jorge Navarro (Flexbox HP40), Fermín Aldeguer (MB Conveyors Speed Up), Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team).