Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) was in stunning form at Termas De Rio Hondo today, dealing brilliantly with changeable weather conditions and finally battling for pole position in the Q2 qualifying session.
The 24-year-old Thai rider ended practice fifth fastest and then upped his pace in the all-important qualifying session to give himself the best possible chance of fighting for a podium finish in tomorrow’s second race of the 2023 Moto2 World Championship.
With one minute to go Chantra was on pole, but in the final moments of the session he was bettered by Aron Canet (Pons Wegow Los40 Kalex) and pole-sitter Fermín Aldeguer (Beta Tools SpeedUp Boscoscuro), so he will start from third.
Chantra’s team-mate Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) is making his return to Moto2 action at Termas after spending several weeks recovering from a training accident which left him with a broken left wrist. The 22-year-old from Saitama, who finished runner-up in last year’s Moto2 World Championship, isn’t at full strength yet, so he didn’t ride in this morning’s wet third practice session, only doing a practice start at the end of the 30-minute outing.
And yet he rode aggressively in the Q1 session, fighting for promotion to Q2. He ended the day 21st on the grid and faces a tough challenge in tomorrow’s 21-lap race.
The second row of the Termas Moto2 grid is Jake Dixon (Solunion GASGAS Aspar Team Kalex), Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex) and Celestino Vietti (Fantic Racing Kalex).
The Moto2 paddock’s next stop is the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, USA, venue for the Grand Prix of the Americas on 16th April.