Although Moto2 is a rider development category, created to feed up-and-coming riders into the premier MotoGP class, the current points leader is the hugely experienced Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex).
Lowes arrives in Portugal following dominant victories in the season-opening Qatar and Doha Grands Prix. This is the 30-year-old Briton’s seventh season in Moto2, so the battle for this year’s Moto2 crown looks set to be a contest between experience and youth.
Currently his closest challengers in the points chase are 23-year-old Australian Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex), 20-year-old Spaniard Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex) and 22-year-old Italian Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex).
Gardner took the first Grand Prix victory of his career at Algarve International Circuit (called Portimao by many people) last November, so he must start as favourite. Lowes finished the race in third place, riding with an injured wrist.
Eighth overall in the championship standings is impressive rookie Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex), who can’t wait to get back to riding after scoring a superb fifth place in only his second Moto2 race, in the Doha GP on April 4. He enjoyed a great ride, fighting through from eighth at the end of the first lap.
Ogura graduated to Moto2 this year after finishing runner-up in the 2020 Moto3 World Championship. Last time at Portimao the 20-year-old from Tokyo finished eighth on his NSF250RW. This time his aim is to better that result and also reduce the gap to the leader in his third Moto2 race. Ogura crossed the finish line of the Doha GP 16 seconds behind the winner, a three second improvement on the Qatar GP. Now he must work hard to continue getting closer to the podium.
Team-mate Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) had a challenging weekend at the Doha GP, struggling to find a chassis set-up that would allow him to save his tyres over race distance. The 22-year-old Thai rider finished out of the points, so his number one target for this weekend is to work on his machine to allow himself to get into the points-scoring positions on Sunday afternoon.