This was always going to be a demanding weekend for Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex).
Not only is the 2020 Moto3 World Championship runner-up contesting his first Moto2 season, so he is still getting used to his Moto2 machine, this is the first time he has ridden at Mugello, arguably the most complex track in the World Championship.
Two years ago during his rookie Moto3 season Ogura missed the Italian GP due to injury and last year the Italian GP was cancelled due to the pandemic. And to add one more complication there was some rainfall at the start of Q2.
Despite these challenges the 20-year-old from Tokyo performed brilliantly to qualify 12th fastest, which puts him on the fourth row of the grid.
Ogura has scored points at three of the last four races to put himself ninth in the points chase. Tomorrow he has an excellent chance to score more points.
Team-mate Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) is also making his debut at the track and has a good chance of following up his first points score of 2020 at the French GP two weeks ago to get more points tomorrow. The 22-year-old Thai rider qualified 18th, which should put him in the battle for a top-15 finish.
Moto2 pole position went to Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex), who bettered Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) by 0.267 seconds. The front row was completed by Jorge Navarro (MB Conveyors Speed Up Boscoscuro).
World Championship leader Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex) was fourth fastest and will share the second row with Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex) and Tony Arbolino (Liqui Moly Intact GP Kalex).
Gardner currently leads team-mate Fernandez by one point following Fernandez’s second win of the season two weeks ago. Gardner has yet to win a race this season.