Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex) maintained his excellent run of form by notching up another top-ten finish in his first visit to the challenging Circuit of the Americas on a Moto2 machine.
The 20-year-old from Tokyo finished seventh, his eleventh top-ten finish of what has been a seriously impressive rookie campaign. Starting from eighth on the grid Ogura lost two positions on the first lap but showed his resilience and ability to get faster as the race went on to gain three places before the finish.
Apart from a small mistake, when he ran off track on lap ten, Ogura was fast and consistent at a venue which is notoriously difficult to learn. His pace was often similar to the riders who finished on the podium and his personal best lap came on lap 13 of 18, proving his ability to manage tyre life.
It was a great day for the team because Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex) also brought home valuable World Championship points for 14th place. This was the 22-year-old Thai rider’s sixth point-scoring performance of the season and represents an excellent recovery after crashing out of the previous race at Misano.
The Moto2 title fight was blown wide open when World Championship leader Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex) crashed out of second place on the sixth lap. The Australian’s first DNF of the season came at the worst time, as team-mate and title-rival Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex) rode to his third straight victory.
This was a dominant performance from Fernandez, who started from pole position and led every lap. This takes the 20-year Spaniard to within nine points of Gardner.
When the Australian crashed Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex) inherited second for his third podium of the year and his best result since the Spanish Grand Prix in May. Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) shrugged off an injury to his left knee, sustained when training a month ago, to finish third for his seventh podium finish of the year.
Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc Racing VDS Kalex) was an excellent fourth in his first visit to the track with Cameron Beaubier (American Racing Kalex) and Tony Arbolino (Liqui Moly Intact GP Kalex) finishing just ahead of Ogura.