Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) reignited his World Championship hopes with a superb comeback to eighth place at red-hot Sachsenring today after a complicated two days of practice and qualifying.
Conditions were punishing for riders and machines, with ambient temperature at 35 degrees and track temperature at 51 degrees.
The 21-year-old from Tokyo qualified 14th quickest yesterday but soon after the race started this afternoon he started moving forward, making it into the top ten around half-distance and then making up two further positions before the chequered flag. And he finished less than a second behind the rider in front of him.
Meanwhile World Championship leader Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) crashed out in the closing stages, while running several places behind Ogura, who now stands just eight points behind the Italian youngster with ten of 20 races still remaining.
Ogura’s team-mate Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) also made something of a comeback after struggling on Friday and Saturday. The winner of this year’s Indonesian Moto2 race started from 21st on the grid, which left him deep in the midst of the pack at a circuit where overtaking is particularly complicated.
The 23-year-old Indonesian finally made it into the points in the closing stages, to take home one point to add to his World Championship tally. Chantra currently stands ninth in the championship.
The race was won by Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo), who took the lead from early pace-setter Lowes and built up and impressive seven-second advantage over Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo), who prevailed over Lowes in a great fight for the runner-up spot, the pair separated by just 0.140 seconds at the finish.
Right behind them were fourth-placed local-hero Marcel Schrotter (Liqui Moly Intact GP). Fermín Aldeguer (MB Conveyors Speed Up) finished fifth, just in front of former Moto3 World Champion, Albert Arenas (GASGAS Aspar Team), Alonso Lopez (MB Conveyors Speed Up) and Ogura.
The Moto2 paddock now heads north-west to Assen for the Dutch MotoGP round, before embarking on a five-week, mid-season summer break.