Moto2 2022
Round 17

Ogura Holds Nerve In Rain To Gain Further Ground In Title Fight

th Chang International Circuit

Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) reduced the deficit to the top of the 2022 Moto2 World Championship to just 1.5 points, thanks to the sixth place he scored at Chang today in the most challenging of conditions.

Ogura Holds Nerve In Rain To Gain Further Ground In Title Fight

The wet-weather riding skills of the 20-year-old from Tokyo came to the fore after a tropical downpour hit the circuit a few minutes before the scheduled start. Apart from a handful of wet laps during FP1, Ogura and the rest of the grid had to adapt to the soaking track as quickly as possible after the start, which was delayed by ten minutes.

But the three-times Moto2 race winner was up to the task and didn’t take any unnecessary risks in the tricky conditions. He spent much of the race, reduced from 24 to 16 laps, skilfully managing the gap to his chief championship rival Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull Ajo Kalex) who finished seventh.

Eventually the race was red-flagged due to the torrential rain and a re-start planned, but this was abandoned when conditions deteriorated further. The results were therefore declared from the red-flagged race, with half points awarded.

That gave Ogura five crucial points for his title challenge and further intensifies the pressure on overall leader Fernandez, who finished four seconds behind his Japanese rival, leaving the pair with 1.5 points between them, with 75 points to race for at the final three races

The soaking home-race weather wasn’t kind to home hero Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex), who yesterday became the first Thai rider to score a pole position in Grand Prix history. The brilliant 23-year-old enjoyed a great start, cheered all the way by the very vocal home crowd of almost 77,000.

Chantra led from pole, so he was the first rider to find the intensifying rain when he arrived at Turn Four on lap two. His bike slid sideways and he fell, the huge home crowd letting out a loud groan of disappointment. It was a sad end to a brilliant weekend from the popular youngster, who will try again at the Australia GP a fortnight from now

The race was won by 22-year-old Italian Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex), who bettered 20-year-old Czech Filip Salac (Gresini Racing Moto2 Kalex) by a fraction of a second. This was Salac’s first Moto2 podium. Third place went to Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40 Kalex), the 22-year-old Spaniard claiming his eighth podium of the year.

Moto2 riders and teams now have one weekend off before the championship convenes for a double-header in Australia and Malaysia on 16th and 23rd October.

Ai Ogura
Ai Ogura 79
IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia
I expected a dry race, but unfortunately, before the start, the rain came. It was raining cats and dogs. I struggled just to be on the bike before the red flag. Before the re-start another red flag prevented us from completing the race. It’s a shame, but I’m happy to finish under these conditions, getting some points. Now it’s time to think about Philip Island.

Somkiat Chantra
Somkiat Chantra 35
IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia
This weekend I worked hard every day, leading qualifying and even today leading warm-up. The rain before to start led to a quick change of settings. I tried to push hard from the beginning but on the second lap maybe I pushed too much and I crashed. Of course, I’m disappointed not to finish a magic weekend, but overall, I’m happy and want to thank all the support I’ve received this weekend.

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