Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) was the star of Moto2 qualifying at Mandalika today. He fought his way through the opening Q1 session, with the fastest time, then went on to battle for a front-row start in Q2.
The 23-year-old Thai rider came within three tenths of a second of securing the second Moto2 front row of his career, finally ending Q2 fourth fastest, just behind the fastest three riders: pole-man Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team), Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull Ajo Kalex) and Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex).
Chantra’s speed is especially impressive here, considering the fact that he suffered a nasty finger injury during the Qatar GP two weeks ago. He underwent surgery in Spain immediately afterwards and is riding here in some discomfort.
Team-mate Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex), who had a brilliant ride to sixth place in the season-opening Qatar GP, had a more complicated day at Mandalika today. The 21-year-old from Tokyo led the Q1 session, but eventually didn’t have the speed to make it through to Q2, so he will start from the seventh row of the grid.
Dixon’s pole was his first since he joined the Moto2 World Championship from the British Superbike series in 2019. He bettered Fernandez by 0.102 seconds, with the entire front row covered by 0.152 seconds.
Row two for round two of the 2022 Moto2 World Championship will see Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team Kalex) and Albert Arenas (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) joining Chantra on the second row. The top ten is completed by Qatar winner Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team Kalex), Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex), Simone Corsi (MV Agusta Forward Racing) and Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex).