Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) will start the last race of the 2021 Moto2 World Championship from the ninth row of the grid after qualifying 25th quickest today.
The 22-year-old Thai rider currently stands 17th in the World Championship, thanks to six points-scoring results, including three top tens and a best of a fifth in August’s Austrian Grand Prix at Red Bull Ring. Chantra currently has four riders within striking distance of him, so he will need a good race tomorrow to confirm his first top-20 World Championship result. He finished 2019 in 21st and 2020 in 25th.
Rookie Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) is missing this race, after sustaining a minor fracture in his left foot when he crashed out of last Sunday’s Algarve Grand Prix at Portimao. The 20-year-old from Tokyo currently stands eighth overall in the points chase and is virtually assure of a top-ten finish in the World Championship, a significant performance during his apprenticeship season.
The Moto2 World Championship is the only title from MotoGP’s three categories that remains undecided at the final Grand Prix.
Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex) has a clear lead, 23 points ahead of team-mate Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex), so even if 20-year-old Spaniard Fernandez wins the race the 23-year-old Australian will only need to finish 13th to secure the title.
Fernandez qualified fifth today, while Gardner was eighth. Pole position went to Simone Corsi (MV Agusta Forward racing MV Agusta). The Italian veteran will be joined on the front row by Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex) and Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex), who is no relation to Raul.
If Gardner – son of Honda’s 1987 500cc World Champion Wayne Gardner – does win the crown the pair will become the sport’s second father/son champions. The others are Americans ‘King’ Kenny Roberts and Kenny Roberts Junior. Roberts Senior won the 500cc world title in 1978, 1979 and 1980. His son won the same crown in 2000.
Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex), who qualified 11th today, is already assured of third place overall, to complete the championship podium.