The 20-year-old from Tokyo had a hugeStellar rookie Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) made a superb comeback in today’s Emilia-Romagna Moto2 race following a tricky qualifying day. In cold and damp conditions he qualified 18th, his worst grid slot since his Moto2 race debut at the first race of the year in Qatar, where he started from 19th.
task ahead of him after he finished the first lap in 19th position, but he kept his cool, found a great rhythm and started moving remorselessly forward, getting the better of his rivals wherever he could.
By lap six of 25 Ogura was still only 18th, but he warmed to his task, moving into the points on lap nine and into the top ten on lap 17. His final victim was Marcos Ramirez (American Racing Kalex), who he overtook three laps before the chequered flag was waved.
Ogura’s 12th top-ten result from his first 16 Moto2 races keeps him eighth in the World Championship, with two rounds remaining.
Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) seemed set for his best-ever Grand Prix result, the 22-year-old Thai rider making a stunningly good start to hold fifth place for the opening three laps. Chantra was riding superbly and although he lost a couple of positions was still running with some of the category’s strongest riders, an important way to learn from the best.
However, on lap seven he was attacking the Turn 14 hairpin, when World Championship leader Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex) made contact, knocking him off. The 23-year-old Australian, who was fighting through from a lowly grid position, was punished with a long-lap penalty.
Gardner went into the race with a nine-point advantage over team-mate Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex), after crashing out of the last race, the Grand Prix of the Americas. His punishment seemed to have caused him more problems, because Fernandez was leading the race. But then Fernandez crashed out, returning the title advantage to Gardner, who finished the race in seventh place, giving him an 18-point advantage going into the final two races.
The race was won by Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex), his first victory since taking dominant wins at the season-opening Qatar and Doha races. The 31-year-old took the lead from Aron Canet (Aspar Team Moto2) and team-mate Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) on the fourth lap.
Lowes then had Fernandez come past, and Canet, but took control of the race in the final stages. His team-mate gave Elf Marc Racing VDS a one-two, with Canet completing the podium.
The 2021 Moto2 World Championship will reach its climax with next month’s back-to-back races, the Algarve and Valencia GPs.