Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) rode a superb race to second place in today’s Grand Prix of the Americas, bettering his excellent third place behind team-mate Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) in Argentina three weeks ago.
The result moves the 21-year-old Japanese star from Tokyo into second overall in the chase for the 2022 Moto2 World Championship. This is only his second season in the class, following his third-place finish in the 2020 Moto3 World Championship aboard a Honda NSF250RW.
The race didn’t go so well for Chantra, who last month made history in Indonesia when he became the first Thai rider in the seven-decades history of the World Championships to win a Grand Prix. On today’s first lap the 23-year-old fell at the end of the back straight, while braking for Turn 11.
Nevertheless IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia continues to lead the prestigious Moto2 Teams World Championship, with four of 21 races done.
Ogura made an impressive charge through the pack, after starting from 11th on the grid, the result of a minor fall during yesterday’s qualifying session. He completed the first lap in seventh place, then bravely moved forward, moving up to third on lap eight and taking Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) for second four laps later.
By then Ogura wasn’t far behind leader Tony Arbolino (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) but closing that gap on this particularly bumpy circuit would have required some big risks, so Ogura sensibly decided to make sure of 20 points for second, rather than risk a zero score while making an over-optimistic push for the lead.
Of course, Ogura wanted more but he was happy to be on the podium with first-time Moto2 winner Arbolino and first-time podium finisher Dixon.
The next four riders all took the chequered flag less than three second apart, with German Marcel Schrotter (Liqui Moly Intact GP Kalex) finishing fourth, his best result since 2020, just ahead of Jorge Navarro (Flexbox HP40 Kalex 12), Jeremy Alcoba (Liqui Moly Intact GP Kalex) and Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team Kalex).
Pole-starter and local-hero Cameron Beaubier (American Racing Kalex) crashed out just a few corners from the finish while chasing Schrotter.
The COTA Moto2 top ten was completed by Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex), Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull Ajo Kalex) and Barry Baltus (RW Racing GP Kalex).
Today’s US round followed the season-opening Qatar, Indonesian and Argentine GPs. The Moto2 paddock now heads to Europe, with a long series of races that takes them all the way to September, before more flyaway rounds.