Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) will start the penultimate race of his rookie Moto2 World Championship season from the third row of the grid tomorrow at Algarve International Circuit.
The 20-year-old from Tokyo qualified ninth fastest, less than seven tenths of a second behind pole-position-man Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex). Nonetheless Ogura is confident he can have a good race tomorrow, so long as he gets away with the fastest riders.
Ogura’s main goal is to continue his remarkable run of fine performance, which have taken him to top-ten finishes at 12 of the 16 races so far. He currently stands eighth in the championship, with the chance of winning another position or two by the end of the season, if he has a good result here and again next Sunday at the season-ending Valencia Grand Prix.
Team-mate Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) rode really well today and was unlucky to miss promotion from the Q1 qualifier to the Q2 outing by just 0.088 seconds. The 22-year-old Thai rider will start the race from the seventh row of the grid.
The battle for the 2021 Moto2 title is reaching a crescendo, with the title fight a straight duel between team-mates Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex) and Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex) who between them have dominated this season.
Gardner currently leads the way, the 23-year-old Australian 18 points ahead of the 21-year-old Spaniard, with 50 points available from the last two races. Therefore Gardner can secure the title here if he has a much better race than Fernandez.
Gardner is the son of Honda’s 1987 500cc World Champion Wayne Gardner. If he wins the title the pair will become only the second father/son world champions in Grand prix history.
Tomorrow’s race looks likely to be unmissable, with Fernandez on pole and Gardner second, only two tenths of a second slower. The front row of the grid is completed by Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex).