Moto2 2022
Round 20

Ogura Goes Down Fighting For The Moto2 World Championship

es Circuit Ricardo Tormo

Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) went into today’s Moto2 season finale holding second place in the World Championship with a real chance of taking the title at his second attempt.

Ogura Goes Down Fighting For The Moto2 World Championship

The 21-year-old from Saitama, winner of this year’s Moto2 races in Spain, Austria and Japan, lined up this afternoon determined to overcome the 9.5-point deficit he had to series leader Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex).

Ogura started from fifth on the grid and immediately went on the attack, fighting his way into second place on the second lap, then battling hard to retain that position. At one-quarter distance the live championship situation put him just half a point behind Fernandez, so he needed to keep moving forward. And he did.

After briefly losing second place to Fernandez’s team-mate Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex) he was duelling with the former Moto3 World Champion and closing on race leader Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) when he lost the front while attacking Turn Eight, ending his title challenge.

Ogura was hugely disappointed of course, but he went down fighting, doing everything he could to better Fernandez. After the race he announced that he is proud of what the Idemitsu Honda Team Asia has done for him this year and there is no doubt that his team is also proud of him. His runner-up World Championship position was his best ever, one better than his third place in the 2020 Moto3 series.

Team-mate Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex), who started from 12th on the grid also had a great first few laps, working his way up to eighth, then seventh, then sixth. His excellent run ended on lap 15 of 25, when the 23-year-old Thai rider slid off. This was a sad end to a mostly strong season, which saw him take his first Grand Prix victory in Indonesia in March.

Chantra’s brilliant tenth place in the World Championship bettered his previous best, 18th last year, by a very significant eight positions, once again confirming the excellent work done by his IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia crew.

Acosta went on to win the race, the third success of his rookie season in the intermediate class, with Fernandez second, to give his team double cause for celebration. The podium was completed by Arbolino.

Fourth place went to Fermin Aldeguer (Beta Tools Speed Up Boscoscuro), after Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40 Kalex) crashed out, with Albert Arenas (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) five seconds away in fifth.

Official Moto2 testing starts at Jerez, Spain, and Algarve International Circuit in March, before the 21-round season blasts into action at the Portuguese GP on 26th March.

Ai Ogura
Ai Ogura 79
IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia
It's a shame how I finished the season; it's not what we wanted. In my situation in the standings, winning was my only chance to get the title. I went for it, but unfortunately I crashed. I wasn't under pressure because I was chasing. I never felt good at this circuit, but we made a big step ahead this weekend. I was surprised about my performance during the race. That's one good starting point for next season. We tried until the end, in an excellent season, with victories and many podiums. I've been fighting for the title until the end. Finally, I lost, but I learned a lot. Next season we will try it again.

Somkiat Chantra
Somkiat Chantra 35
IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia
Starting from P12 I made a good start, winning five positions in just two corners. I felt confident with the bike. My pace was fantastic and I was catching the front riders. But I crashed; I made a mistake braking harder than the laps before. But overall, this was my best weekend here in Valencia. Next year I will try to do it even better.

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