Moto2 2021
Round 3

Ogura and Chantra tangle during promising Moto2 race

pt Autódromo Internacional do Algarve

Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex) and Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex) had a great Saturday at Portimao, qualifying fourth and 11th fastest, which gave the team-mates great hopes of recording the team’s best Moto2 result in today’s third round of the 2021 Moto2 series.

Ogura and Chantra tangle during promising Moto2 race

However, it was not to be. The pair were in the middle of a multi-rider battle inside the top ten when another rider touched Ogura which pushed him into Chantra. Both the 20-year-old from Tokyo and the 22-year-old Thai rider crashed out – through no fault of their own – losing the chance of achieving Idemitsu Honda Team Asia’s greatest team result. Chantra was able to remount his damaged bike and continue to the finish.

The race was won by rookie sensation Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex), who got the better of his rivals after a spectacular fight through the pack. With nine laps to go the 20-year-old Spaniard was still deep in the leading pack in sixth place, but from there he made relentless forward progress, taking the lead with four laps to go and stretching his advantage to 1.6 seconds at the finish.

The battle for the last two podium positions was intense all the way to the chequered flag, with Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team Boscoscuro) taking second place to claim his first podium in the Moto2 class. He finished less than four tenths of a second ahead of last year’s Portimao Moto2 winner Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex), who snatched third place from Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) with just two corners remaining.

Gardner, son of Wayne (who in 1987 became the second Honda rider to win the 500cc World Championship), now leads the 2021 Moto2 points chase.

The previous points leader, Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex), who won the opening two races in Qatar, crashed out at the first corner. He was uninjured in the tumble.

Somkiat Chantra
Somkiat Chantra 35
IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia
The results are not what we deserved, thinking about what we've done and my performance during the weekend. The bike was perfect, and the team helped me a lot. On the race, well, I crashed, I retook the bike, and I finished the race. I had the pace for a good result. We will try again in two weeks in Jerez.

Ai Ogura
Ai Ogura 79
IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia
About the race, it was going more or less as I expected. I didn't have enough pace to fight for top five/six, but I waited to get confidence on the bike during the race. It wasn't easy, but it was possible to stay around there. I'm disappointed about the crash, and I'm sorry for my team and my team-mate. I can think of many things about that crash, but finally, the guy who crashed is me, and the guy who hit Chantra is me. I just say sorry to them.

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