Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) will start tomorrow’s Moto2 season finale from the second row of the grid, just behind title leader and championship rival Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull Ajo Kalex).
Ogura has staged an impressive title assault this year, winning three races, including September’s Japanese GP, to go into the last race second overall, 9.5 points behind series leader Fernandez. The 21-year-old from Saitama will therefore need to score at least ten more points than the 25-year-old Spaniard to win his first World Championship. In 2020 Ogura finished second in the Moto3 series, riding a Honda NSF250RW.
He ended qualifying less than four tenths of a second behind pole position, so he knows he has the speed to put up a great challenge in this last race.
Team-mate Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) was fifth fastest at the end of yesterday’s two free practice sessions but couldn’t recreate that speed in qualifying. The 23-year-old Thai rider will therefore start the race from the fourth row in 12th.
Pole position went to mightily impressive rookie Alonso Lopez (Beta Tools Speed Up Boscoscuro), winner of the recent San Marino and Australian Moto2 races. The 20-year-old Spaniard will share the front row with 2021 Moto3 world champion Pedro Acosta (Red Bull Ajo Kalex) and Fernandez. Lopez’s best lap was just 0.001 seconds faster than Acosta’s best.
The second row will be Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex), Ogura and Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex).
Moto2’s next official engagements will be 2023 pre-season testing at Jerez, Spain, and Portimao, Portugal. The 2023 MotoGP World Championship will start in Portugal on 26th March.