Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) comes to Silverstone for this weekend’s British Grand Prix riding the crest of a wave after two sensational rides at Red Bull Ring earlier this month.
The 20-year-old Moto2 rookie from Tokyo fought for victory in the back-to-back Styrian and Austrian Grands Prix, denied by a track-limits penalty in the first race and completing the second race just eighth tenths of a second behind the winner.
Although Ogura was somewhat disappointed not to take his first Moto2 victory he was nevertheless delighted with his first Moto2 podium in the Austrian GP. That result follows a mightily impressive upward curve since he made his race debut in the class at Losail, Qatar, in March.
Ogura knows that this weekend will likely to be a greater challenge than the last two at Red Bull Ring, because Silverstone is a much, much more complex racetrack – 5.9 km/3.67 miles and 18 corners, instead of 4.3 km/2.68 miles and ten corners. His aim will therefore be to get into the flow of the circuit as quickly as possible, then work towards a good race pace.
This will be Ogura’s first time at Silverstone on a Moto2 bike. On his last visit in 2019 (the 2020 British Grand Prix was cancelled due to the global pandemic) he finished tenth in the Moto3 race, riding a Honda NSF250RW.
Ogura’s recent form has seen him climb the World Championship standings at a rapid rate. He currently stands eighth, but only three points behind fifth-placed Aron Canet (Aspar Team Moto2 Boscoscuro).
Team-mate Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) is also enjoying excellent form at the moment, becoming a regular top-ten scorer at recent races and taking a best-ever fifth place last time out in Austria.
The 22-year-old Thai rider therefore looks forward to continuing his impressive run of results – four points-scoring rides from the last five races, including three top tens. Chantra contested the 2019 Moto2 race at Silverstone during his rookie Grand Prix season, finishing just one place and one second outside the points. This suggests he has a great chance of another top ten on Sunday.
Current leader of the 2021 Moto2 World Championship is 23-year-old Australian Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex), son of Wayne Gardner, who won the British 500cc Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1986 and the following year’s 500cc World Championship, riding a Honda NSR500.
Gardner has won three races this season but hasn’t topped the podium since June’s German Grand Prix, so his championship advantage has narrowed to 19 points over team-mate Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex). The 20-year-old Spanish rookie won last time out in Austria, his fourth victory.
Twenty-eight points behind Fernandez is 22-year-old Italian Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex), who won his first race of 2021 at the Styrian Grand Prix. He in turn is 45 points in front of 30-year-old Britain Sam Lowes (Elf Marc Racing VDS Kalex), who won the opening two races in Qatar but hasn’t achieved another victory since then.
Following the British Grand Prix, Moto2 riders and teams return to the European mainland for the Aragon GP, in Spain, and the San Marino GP, in Italy, on 12th and 19th September.