Last year’s Moto3 World Championship runner-up Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) has spent most of this season relearning circuits aboard a Moto2 bike.
This weekend will be slightly different for the 20-year-old from Tokyo, because he contested last month’s San Marino GP at Misano, so he already knows how to ride the track with a Moto2 bike.
Earlier this year Red Bull Ring also hosted two races. Second time out at the track Ogura achieved his first Moto2 podium, finishing the race in second place. Therefore the omens are good for this weekend – if Ogura has a good Friday and Saturday he will surely be in the battle for another podium finish.
Ogura currently stands eighth in the Moto2 championship standings, with three races remaining. The two riders ahead of him are within striking distance, so he could end his apprenticeship season in the intermediate class better than eighth overall, which would be an immense achievement.
Team-mate Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) had a strong ride to another points-scoring finish last time out at the Grand Prix of Americas earlier this month, so he is confident of having a better Sunday at Misano than he did in September’s San Marino GP. On that occasion the 22-year-old Thai rider was fighting for more points when he slid off in the final stages of the race.
The duel for the 2021 Moto2 World Championship is closer than it’s ever been going into the last three races, following a rare mistake by series leader Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex) at the Circuit of the Americas. The 23-year-old Australian crashed out of the race, while title rival and team-mate Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex) won his third consecutive race to move to within nine points of the championship lead.
These last three races – at Misano, Algarve International Circuit and Circuit Ricardo Tormo – will therefore be tense affairs as the pair fight for supremacy. Gardner and his 20-year-old Spanish rival have dominated the 2021 Moto2 season, winning 11 of the 15 races so far, and both will move up to MotoGP in 2022.
Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) stands third in the points chase. He still has a mathematical chance of taking the title – he is 65 points behind Gardner, with 75 available – but he’s at least very safe in third place, with fourth-overall Sam Lowes (Elf Marc Racing VDS Kalex) 66 points behind the young Italian.
Lowes needs some good results at the last three races, because his team-mate Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc Racing VDS Kalex) has closed to within nine points. Meanwhile Fernandez (no relation to title contender Raul) has Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex) and Aron Canet (Aspar Team Moto2 Boscoscuro) just three and seven points behind him.
Moto2 gets one weekend off after Sunday’s racing. The 2021 season concludes with the Portuguese and Valencia GPs on 7 and 14 November.