Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) and Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) had a great day at baking-hot Sachsenring today, putting the pair on the third and fifth rows of the grid for tomorrow’s German Grand Prix.
This is the tightest and twistiest circuit in the MotoGP World Championship, where riders have to ride at the absolute limit at every corner to be competitive. Therefore today’s results were particularly impressive for the Honda Team Asia riders, because this is Ogura’s first time at the track with a Moto2 bike and Chantra’s first visit with any motorcycle.
Ogura was eighth in free practice and repeated that result in qualifying, his best lap just 0.138 seconds off the second row. His ambition for the race is to continue his amazing rookie season in the intermediate class, which has had him claim four top-seven finishes so far to put him ninth overall in the World Championship.
Chantra learned his way around Sachsenring very quickly, allowing him to compete with riders who know the layout much better. The 22-year-old Thai rider was 11th in free practice, taking him directly into Q2 for the first time this year, and 13th in qualifying, in among an incredibly tightly bunched group of riders. His best lap was less than three tenths off the second row.
Pole position went to Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex), the 20-year-old Spaniard finishing Q2 three tenths ahead of Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex). World championship leader Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex) completed the front row just 0.25 seconds behind Di Giannantonio.
Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) leads the second row, in front of Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing Kalex) and Jorge Navarro (+Ego Speed Up Boscoscuro).
Tomorrow’s racing is followed by next weekend’s Dutch TT at Assen. After that Moto2 gets to enjoy a five-week summer break before the racing recommences with back-to-back races at Red Bull Ring during August.