Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) faces a big challenge at Phillip Island tomorrow, after qualifying 13th for the 18th race of this year’s Moto2 World Championship.
The 21-year-old from Saitama currently stands second in the title chase, just 1.5 points behind leader Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull Ajo Kalex), but has struggled to find front-running speed this weekend, although he is improving with every outing. There’s no doubt that Ogura is trying as hard as always – he saved a big front-end slide at the Turn Four hairpin during the Q2 session – and he will do everything in his power to race with the lead group, around a circuit that encourages close racing and overtaking.
Ogura doesn’t need to look far back in his career for inspiration – three weeks ago he qualified in the same position at his home Grand Prix at Mobility Resort Motegi and went on to win the race!
Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) will start the race one row behind his team-mate after qualifying 16th, almost exactly one second off pole. The 23-year-old Thai rider ended yesterday ninth fastest, despite a heavy fall at the high-speed Turn One during FP2, then today made it through Q1 into Q2, after another gall this morning.
Pole position went to Fermin Aldeguer (Beta Tools Speed Up Boscoscuro), the 17-year-old Italian’s second Moto2 pole and his first since April’s Argentine Grand Prix. Aldeguer will share the front row of the grid with Fernandez, who was just 0.073 seconds slower, and team-mate Alonso Lopez (Beta Tools Speed Up Boscoscuro).
The second row comprises Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex), Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40 Kalex) and Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team Kalex.
After tomorrow’s race Moto2 riders and teams head to the tropics for next weekend’s Malaysian GP at Sepang. The final race of 2022 takes place at Valencia, Spain, on 6th November.