Brilliant Moto2 rookie Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) will miss the final race of his Moto2 apprenticeship season due to a small left-foot fracture (the fifth metatarsal), sustained during last Sunday’s Algarve GP.
Despite his absence from Valencia the 20-year-old from Tokyo will be able to look back at his work over the past nine months with satisfaction, because he has achieved some superb results while learning to ride a Moto2 bike.
Ogura’s combination of speed and consistency has been impressive, with 12 top-ten finishes, two front-row starts and one podium, a brilliant second place in August’s Austrian GP.
And despite his injury there is some good news for Ogura – whatever happens at Valencia on Sunday afternoon he will complete the 2021 season inside the Moto2 World Championship top ten, an important result which will give him great motivation to keep working and improving into 2022.
Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) will do his best this weekend to make up for his team-mate’s absence. The 22-year-old Thai rider scored five top-15 results earlier this season, with a best of fifth in Austria, but he has had a challenging time at the last few races, fighting to regain that earlier confidence.
The Moto2 World Championship is the only title of MotoGP’s three categories that has yet to be decided. Sunday’s race will be a straightforward duel for crown between team-mates Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex) and Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex), who have utterly dominated the 2021 season, taking 12 victories between them, seven to Fernandez, five to Gardner, who leads the chase thanks to better consistency.
Their title fight has swung this way and that, with both riders suffering crashes in the last few races. Gardner put one hand on the title at Algarve International Circuit, taking his first victory in five races, chased home by Fernandez.
The 23-year-old Australian now has a 23-point advantage over the 20-year-old Spaniard, so he only needs to finish 13th on Sunday to clinch the title, even if Fernandez wins the race.
Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) and Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) is safe in third and Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) is almost certain of fourth overall, while the contest for fifth in the championship is between Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex), Aron Canet (Aspar Team Moto2 Boscoscuro) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex).