Moto2 rookie Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) once again underlined the rapid forward progress he is making in the intermediate class by achieving his first front-row start in the category.
The 20-year-old from Tokyo has ridden well all weekend here at Red Bull Ring, ending free practice in seventh, lapping less than four tenths of a second slower than the fastest riders. But it was this afternoon that he really shone. He led a Moto2 qualifying session for the first time, ending the 15-minute outing second fastest, just 0.121 seconds behind World Championship leader Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex).
Ogura was delighted with his performance, which betters his previous best of fourth place on the grid at April’s Portuguese Grand Prix.
However, tomorrow looks like it will be a very different kind of day, because the latest weather forecasts predict heavy rain and even thunderstorms. This will obviously have a huge effect on proceedings. Of course, Ogura is ready to give his maximum whatever the conditions. His main target as always will be increasing his knowledge of Moto2, while also hoping to improve on his best result, a fifth place at the Doha GP.
Team-mate Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) also had a great day, equalling his best qualifying result of the year, ninth place at June’s Catalan Grand Prix. The 22-year-old Thai rider backed up that performance with a ninth-place race result, equalling his previous best of ninth places at the 2019 Thai Grand Prix and last year’s French GP.
Twenty-three-year-old Australian Gardner and Ogura will be joined on the front row by 22-year-old Italian Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex), who is still chasing his first victory of 2021.
Gardner’s team-mate and number-one championship challenger Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex) missed the front row by a fraction of a second, so the 20-year-old Spaniard will lead the second row, alongside Aron Canet (Aspar Team Moto2 Boscoscuro) and Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex).
Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex), winner of the first two races of the season, will start from seventh place, at the top of the third row.
Following tomorrow’s racing the 2021 Moto2 World Championship continues at Red Bull Ring next weekend with the Austrian Grand Prix.