Moto2 2022
Round 1

Ogura Starts Second Moto2 Season From Fifth

qa Lusail International Circuit

Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) had a great Saturday at Losail today, qualifying a close fifth quickest for tomorrow’s Qatar GP, the first race of the 21-race 2022 Moto2 World Championship.

Ogura Starts Second Moto2 Season From Fifth

The 21-year-old from Tokyo ran as high as second, eventually concluding the 15-minute session in fifth, less than a tenth of a second off the front row of the grid and just 0.220 seconds slower than pole position. 

Ogura goes well at Losail. Two years ago he finished on the podium in the Moto3 race, riding a Honda NSF250RW, and last year he finished fifth in the Doha GP, only his second race in the intermediate class. 

Fifth place also equals his best grid position since last August’s Austrian GP, where he qualified third fastest and finished the race a superb second, his best Moto2 result so far. 

Much was expected of team-mate Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex), who performed so promisingly during pre-season testing. However, the 23-year-old Thai took a tumble just three laps into the session, sustaining a finger injury, which required a visit to the local hospital. He will not be able to race tomorrow. 

Pole position went to Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team Kalex), the 20-year-old Italian who made his Moto2 debut here last year. He completed the session just ahead of team-mates Tony Arbolino (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) and Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex), who won last year’s Qatar and Doha GP Moto2 races at Losail. Just 0.144 seconds covered the front row. 

The second row is Filip Salac (Gresini Racing Moto2 Kalex), Ogura and Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex). Fernandez was only 0.257 seconds off pole position and the top ten is covered by less than half a second. 

Tomorrow’s Moto2 race starts at 16:20 and will finish as dusk descends on the Losail circuit, outside the Qatari capital of Doha.

Ai Ogura
Ai Ogura 79
IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia
In FP3 we couldn’t see the real picture because the track conditions were different and the tyres were different to qualifying. Overall I’m quite happy because this time the second row was my target, so the result is not so bad but not really great. For tomorrow we will keep focusing on ourselves and do our best. We will see where we are after the chequered flag. 

Somkiat Chantra
Somkiat Chantra 35
IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia
I took a heavy fall and had to go to hospital to try to fix the small finger on my right hand. We had worked so hard in pre-season, so I am very sad not to be able to race here. 

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