Team-mates Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) and Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) had a challenging second day of action at the Circuit of Americas, ending 15th and 17th in qualifying.
Ogura is preparing for his first race since breaking a wrist during training in Spain in early March. The 19-year-old from Saitama returned at the Argentine GP earlier this month but didn’t race, because the slippery, rainy conditions made it too risky – another fall might have exacerbated his injuries. This weekend he feels stronger, but certainly not at his best, so his 17th place on the grid is at least a start to his comeback to full form.
Chantra, who scored top-ten results at the opening two races of 2023, in Portugal and Argentina, qualified two places in front of Ogura, after coming through Q1 to the Q2 session. The 24-year-old Thai rider has a talent for charging through the pack in the opening laps, so if he can make good progress in the early stages of tomorrow’s race he has a good chance of scoring his best result of the year so far.
COTA pole went to Celestino Vietti (Fantic Racing Kalex), who bettered Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex) by 0.020 seconds. The front row of the grid for tomorrow’s race is completed by Filip Salac (QJMotor Gresini Moto2 Kalex). Immediately behind them is row two: Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika Sag Team Kalex), Alonso Lopez (Beta Tools SpeedUp Boscoscuro) and Jake Dixon (Asterius GASGAS Aspar M2 Kalex). The top ten is completed by Jeremy Alcoba (QJMotor Gresini Moto2 Kalex).