Team-mates Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex) and Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex) were two of the stars of this afternoon’s Moto2 qualifying, ending the session fourth and 11th fastest.
Rookie Ogura was in remarkable form, bettering his sixth place on the grid of the Doha GP two weeks ago. The 20-year-old from Tokyo once again showed his class and his talent, missing the front row by less than five hundredths of a second. This puts the 2020 Moto3 World Championship runner-up in excellent shape for tomorrow’s race. Overtaking is particularly tricky at this extremely serpentine circuit, so a great start is an absolute necessity.
Two weeks ago Ogura better his grid position by one place in the race - from sixth to fifth - so if he can repeat that performance he will finish on the podium tomorrow!
Chantra also had a morale-boosting day. The 22-year-old Thai rider finished 19th last time out at Losail, but today he found some real speed, which helped him top the Q1 Moto2 session, putting himself in Q2 for the second time this year. Chantra ended Q2 11th fastest, which puts him on the fourth row of the grid with every chance of making a strong start that will help him to establish a good pace and take aim at his first World Championship points of 2021.
Pole position went to Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team), the 30-year-old Briton who dominated both races in Qatar to lead the series ahead of his many younger rivals. Lowes will be joined on the front row by last year’s Portimao Moto2 winner, 23-year-old Australian Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex), and third-quickest Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing Kalex).
Ogura will be joined on the second row by 22-year-old Italian Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) and 23-year-old Spaniard Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team).