Moto2 2021
Round 1

Unrewarded weekend for the IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia riders

qa Losail International Circuit

Moto2 race favourite Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) didn’t put a wheel wrong on his way to victory in the first race of the 2021 Moto2 World Championship.

Unrewarded weekend for the IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia riders

The 30-year-old Briton started from pole position, took the lead at the start of the third lap and was never bettered. He finally took the chequered flag 2.260 seconds ahead of 23-year-old Australian Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex) who came through from a slow start to take second place. Gardner, son of Honda’s second 500cc World Champion Wayne Gardner, tried to hunt down Lowes but couldn’t close the gap.

The final place on the podium went to Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex), whose third place was a wonderful tribute to team owner and twice 125cc World Champion Fausto Gresini, who lost his battle with COVID-19 at the end of last month. The 22-year-old Italian took third place from 22-year-old countryman Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) with just four corners remaining to cross the line 0.013 seconds ahead of his rival.

Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex) won two of the last three Moto3 races of 2020 and this evening created a mighty impression by finishing fifth in his first Moto2 race. The 20-year-old Spaniard ran second for a while and was chased over the line by 23-year-old American Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) and 25-year-old Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing Kalex), who is still recovering from a nasty wrist injury.

Last year’s Moto3 championship runner-up Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) also made a great Moto2 debut, finishing in 17th, a mere 1.327 seconds outside the points. The 20-year-old from Tokyo got better as the race went on and he began to better understand the bike.

Team-mate Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex) had a great race, until he slid off in the closing stages. The 22-year-old Thai rider had shown great speed before he fell, running in the top ten for a while and looking sure to score points.

Ai Ogura
Ai Ogura 79
IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia
My first race in Moto2. In the first few laps I gained some positions and it was going well, but at some times I couldn’t manage the bike very well. From the middle of the race to the end I started to understand the bike. The feeling came better and I started to catch the riders in front, but it was late. I’m positive because I know what I have to improve is clear. We already know it, and we must continue in that way.

Somkiat Chantra
Somkiat Chantra 35
IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia
I’m very disappointed because, after a good weekend, I had a clear option to score points and to finish in the top ten. I felt comfortable with the bike from the start, and I was able to be with the top group. With eight laps to go I made a mistake losing a little bit of time, and when I was trying to recover I crashed on the last lap. Next weekend I will have another chance to show that I can be with the top riders here in Qatar.

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