World Championship leader Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) will start tomorrow’s San Marino Grand Prix from the third row of the grid after qualifying eighth fastest this afternoon.
The 21-year-old from Saitama took the championship lead two weeks ago with a superb victory in the Austrian Grand Prix, when he was chased home by team-mate Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) for IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia’s first-ever one-two result.
Although rain had affected the earlier Moto3 and MotoGP qualifying outings, Moto2 riders had a fully dry track, allowing the fastest riders to establish their fastest laps of the weekend so far.
Ogura’s qualifying performance, considering the fact that he ended free practice in 13th, was very impressive, showing the ability of him and his team to improve themselves under pressure. In Q2 he was less than half a second off pole position but will need a strong start from the third row if he is to be in contention for a podium finish.
The former Moto3 star will start the race next to his closest champion challenger, Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull Ajo Kalex), who was ninth quickest today.
Chantra will start the race from 11th, on the third row of the grid, less than six tenths of a second off pole. The 23-year-old Thai will be out to fight his way forward for another podium result.
Pole position went to Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team Kalex), who stands a close third in the title chase. The 20-year-old Italian will share the front row of the grid with former Moto3 World Champion Albert Arenas (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) and impressive rookie Alonso Lopez (+Ego Speed Up Boscoscuro).
Row two consists of Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40 Kalex), Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) and Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex).
After tomorrow’s racing the Moto2 grid heads to Spain, for the Aragon Grand Prix on September 18 and then flies east for the Japanese, Thai, Australian and Malaysian GPs, before returning to Europe for the season finale, the Valencia GP, on November 6.