Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) took the lead of the 2022 Moto2 World Championship at Phillip Island today, after completing a complicated weekend in 11th place.
The 21-year-old from Saitama is locked in a duel for the title with Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull Ajo Kalex), who went into this race with a 1.5-point lead but crashed out, while in the fight for a podium finish.
Fernandez’s no score was a big gift for Ogura, who struggled to show his usual speed this weekend. The former Moto3 World Championship runner-up qualified on the fifth row of the grid and spent much of the race in the lower points-scoring positions, finally taking the chequered flag one place outside the top ten.
This afternoon’s result puts Ogura 3.5 points ahead of his Spanish rival, with just two races to go, starting with next weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.
Ogura’s team-mate Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) had a great Sunday, after a difficult Friday and Saturday, characterised by two tumbles at this high-speed circuit.
The 23-year-old Thai rider recovered superbly, fighting his way through from 16th on the grid to climb into the top ten and then close on the group battling for fourth. At the finish he was eighth, just over two seconds behind fourth-placed Fermin Aldeguer (Beta Tools Speed Up Boscoscuro).
Race victory went to Alonso Lopez (Beta Tools Speed Up Boscoscuro), who was in a class of his own. The 20-year-old Spaniard led from the front row and took a long-lap penalty, imposed for a riding infringement on Friday, without even losing the lead. He went on to take a 3.5-second victory over rookie Pedro Acosta (Red Bull Ajo Kalex)
The podium was completed by Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team), who came all the way through from 14th, after struggling to get the best out of his soft rear tyre in qualifying.
Aldeguer was chased over the line by Manuel Gonzalez (VR46 Master Camp Team Kalex), Jeremy Alcoba (Liqui Moly Intact GP Kalex) and Cameron Beaubier (American Racing Kalex).
After next Sunday’s Malaysian GP the Moto2 grid heads back to Europe for the season-ending Valencia Grand Prix in Spain on 6th November.