Moto2 rookie Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) continued his rapid adaptation to MotoGP’s intermediate class with an excellent ninth place in qualifying.
The intermediate category is so close at Jerez that the 20-year-old from Tokyo’s fastest lap in the Q2 outing was less than six tenths of a second off pole position!
Ogura’s place on the third row of the grid should give him a good chance of a fast start tomorrow, so he can get away with a fast group, which will help him to learn more about riding a Moto2 bike over race distance at a fully competitive pace. Last year Ogura finished last year’s Jerez Moto3 race in second position.
Team-mate Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) was out of luck today. The 22-year-old Thai rider fell at speed during practice, which compromised his speed during qualifying, so he will start the race from the eighth row.
A fortnight ago at Portimao Chantra was in a points-scoring position when he fell through no fault of his own. Tomorrow he aims to be in the points-scoring positions until the chequered flag.
Moto2 pole position went to World Championship leader Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex) by the slenderest of margins. The 23-year-old Australian bettered 22-year-old Italian Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex) by 0.071 seconds, with 22-year-old Italian Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex) a further 0.015 seconds back. That makes the whole front row covered by less than nine hundredths of a second.
Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex) leads the second row of the grid, fractionally ahead of Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) and Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing Kalex).
The competition is similarly tight all the way down the grid, with the fastest 15 riders covered by 1.047 seconds.