Chantra Takes Motegi Second Row, Ogura On Row Five
The worst of today’s horrible weather conditions – heavy rain, thunder and lightning – arrived during the Moto2 Q2 session, bringing out the red flags before a one-hour delay while Race Direction waited for the surface water to subside from the track.
When track action resumed Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) was immediately back to his best. The 23-year-old Thai rider, who was second quickest when the original session was red-flagged, revelling in the tricky conditions, ended the second outing fifth fastest. This was his best qualifying position since August’s Austrian GP, which he finished on the podium.
World Championship challenger and local hero Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) didn’t excel in the conditions like his team-mate, ending the outing in 13th. The 21-year-old from Saitama currently stands second in the title chase, only seven points behind series leader Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull Ajo Kalex), who ended today 11th quickest. The 21-year-old from Saitama will therefore start his home Grand Prix from the fifth row of the grid tomorrow, when conditions are forecast to be fully dry, so he will need to make a strong start and deploy his excellent overtaking skills to move closer to the front
When Q2 was restarted Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40 Kalex) dominated the session to take his third pole position of the year. The 22-year-old Spaniard will share the front row of the grid with 17-year-old countryman Fermin Aldeguer (Beta Tools Speed Up Boscoscuro) and 26-year-old Briton Jake Dixon (Shimoko GASGAS Aspar Team)
The second row is Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex), Chantra and Filip Salac (Gresini Racing Moto2 Kalex). The top ten is completed by Jorge Navarro (Flexbox HP40 Kalex 12), Cameron Beaubier (American Racing Kalex), Keminth KUBO (Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team Kalex) and Barry Baltus (RW Racing GP Kalex).
After tomorrow’s racing the Moto2 grid heads to Thailand for next Sunday’s Thai GP, the third race in three weekends. The last three races of the 20-race 2022 season take place in Australia, Malaysia and Spain, at Valencia, on 6 November.