Moto2 2021
Round 9

Rookie Ogura Secures Third Moto2 Second Row Start

nl TT Circuit Assen

Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) continued his excellent Moto2 rookie season at Assen today, qualifying on the second row of the grid for the third time since graduating from Moto3. In free practice he had been a close eighth-fastest.

Rookie Ogura Secures Third Moto2 Second Row Start

Both these performances make the 20-year-old from Tokyo confident enough to target his best-ever finish in the class in tomorrow’s race. His best Moto2 result so far is a fifth place in April’s Doha Grand Prix. Last time out in Germany he was running with the group fighting for a podium finish when he slid off during the final lap.

Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) was also super-fast in free practice, completing FP1, FP2 and FP3 in a best-ever fifth place. That gave him good reason to believe he could better his ninth place on the grid at the Catalan GP earlier this month but qualifying didn’t quite go to plan. The 22-year-old Thai rider will therefore start the race from the sixth row of the grid.

Moto2 pole position went to Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex), who out-paced his team-mate Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex) by slightly less than two tenths of a second. The 20-year-old Spaniard and the 23-year-old Australian are the dominant performers of the 2021 Moto2 championship, winning five of the first eight races between them. Gardner has won the last three to give himself a 36-point advantage over his team-mate.

The last place on the front row went to Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Kalex), who won the first two Moto2 races of 2021 but has struggled to reproduce that speed at recent races.

Joining Ogura on the second row of the grid will be Aron Canet (Aspar Team Moto2 Boscoscuro) and Hector Garzo (Flexbox Hp40 Kalex), who were fourth and fifth quickest this afternoon.

Tomorrow’s Moto2 race will be the ninth of the 19-round season. It’s followed by a five-week mid-season break, with racing resuming at Red Bull Ring, Austria, in August.

Ai Ogura
Ai Ogura 79
IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia
This morning in FP3 we did a big step ahead. I felt good and the lap time was closer to the top. In Q2 I was struggling in some parts of the track, but we managed to do one good lap. I'm very happy for this second row, and the goal for tomorrow is just like always, trying to be with the fast riders. I have to learn trying to go with them.

Somkiat Chantra
Somkiat Chantra 35
IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia
In Q2 the bike was perfect but I made many mistakes managing the session. I tried to push alone and that's complicated. I have the pace to fight in the race – I only missed to do one fast lap time to start tomorrow closer to the front.

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