Moto2: Flawless Ogura Takes a Dominant Win in Jerez

Ai Ogura has won his first every Moto2 race at the Spanish GP in Jerez. He was joined on the podium by Aron Canet, who takes second despite recently having surgery, and Tony Arbolino in third.

The Angelo Nieto circuit was the setting for Ai Ogura’s stunning maiden Moto2 race win. Having taken pole position yesterday, he flew off the starting grid and lead every lap on the way to victory. This dominant victory was celebrated by the whole Honda Team Asia crew.

Joining him on the podium was home hero, Aron Canet in second. This result comes just six days after Canet underwent surgery on this broken left arm, caused by a crash last time out in Portugal. As he celebrated with the Flexbox HP40 team, the emotion and pain he felt was evident.

The final podium position was taken by Tony Arbolino on the ELF Marc VDS machine. Having battled with Canet in the early stages of the race, he soon settled in to third and was unable to make any further challenges on the top two.

A number of riders faced a far more difficult day, with many failing to see the checkered flag. The first rider to crash was Pedro Acosta, shortly followed by Romano Fenati. Sam Lowes and Somkiat Chantra were the next to crash out, after both had been running in fourth. Jake Dixon and Fermin Aldeguer collided in the middle of the race before Marcos Ramirez crashed on the following lap.

Image Credit: MotoGP
As it happened:

As the lights went out, Ogura enjoyed a brilliant start and flew off the line with ease. Behind him, the two ELF Marc VDS riders struggled and dropped places as they were swallowed by the field. At the end of lap one, the top three riders with Ogura, followed by Canet and Arbolino.

Lowes was pushing hard, clearly eager to make amends for his poor start and catch up with the leading group as quickly as possible. In a single lap, he progressed from eighth to fifth and was starting to close to gap to fourth place.

At Turn 6 on the second lap, Acosta made a move down the inside of Aldeguer which ended with the bike folding underneath him. Aldeguer was lucky to stay upright and keep racing as Acosta ended up in the kitty litter.

Back on track and Chantra was the fast man in fourth. Lowes continues to chase him down and, whilst doing so, steals the fastest lap honours from the Honda Team Asia rider.

On lap three, Arbolino is able to get past Canet whilst Ogura continues to lead. With Lowes now in touching distance of Chantra, we looked set for a five-way battle for the win.

Image Credit: MotoGP

Turn 8 on the fifth lap saw Fenati land in the kitty litter – with numerous rumours burning around the paddock about his future, this result will continue to pile the pressure on the Italian’s shoulders.

The following lap saw Canet looking to take second place back from Arbolino. He made a few moves but was unable to make them stick until they reached Turn 9. Shortly after, Lowes is able to duplicate this move and gains fourth place from Chantra at the same point on the track.

However, just one lap later, Lowes crashed out at Turn 8 – the bike tucked underneath him and there was nothing he could do but slide in to the kitty litter. This promoted Chantra to fourth – but not for long. At Turn 9 of the eighth lap, Chantra faced a similar fate as he crashed out of fourth.

Further down the grid, at Turn 13, Dixon was battling with Aldeguer. The British rider made a move down the inside was was unable to keep the bike upright. As he fell, he clattered in to Aldeguer and dragged him in to the kitty litter with him. Both riders was visible agitated as they quickly argued about who was to blamed.

At this point in the race, on lap 10, our podium positions were provisionally filled by Ogura, Canet and Arbolino. There was then a comfortable 2.5s gap to Augusto Fernandez, Celestino Vietti and Marcel Schrotter in fourth, fifth and sixth respectively. Just behind them came Bo Bendsneyder and, our winner from last time out, Joe Roberts battling for seventh. It was Robert who came out on top of this battle. On the same lap, Ramirez went down at Turn 1 to end his race prematurely.

Ogura continued to set the pace from the front of the pack as the race seemed to settled down in the latter stages. Gaps were forming between riders and chasing groups. There was 1.5s between between Ogura and Canet in second, then a further 1s gap between Canet and Arbolino in third.

As the race drew to a close, the gaps settled and no one was able to make any significant impact on the result. So as the checkered flag fell, Ogura crossed the line ahead of Canet in second and Arbolino in third. Just behind them was Fernandez, Schrotter and Viettie in fourth, fifth and sixth respectively. Bendsneyder came out on top of the battle for seventh, just ahead of Roberts. The top ten was rounded out by Albert Arenas and Jorge Navarro.

Championship standings:

A sixth place finish means that Vietti is still at the top of the standings with a round 100 points. Ogura has closed his lead down to just 19 points.

Moto2 will be back in action in France on the 13th to 15th of May. Crew on Two will have all the action and coverage for you.

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

Moto2: Ogura Takes First Moto2 Pole in Jerez

Ai Ogura will start tomorrow’s race in Jerez from pole position – the first of his Moto2 career. Joining him on the front row will be the ELF Marc VDS paining of Tony Arbolino, in second, and Sam Lowes, in third.

Ai Ogura has claimed his first Moto2 pole position ahead of tomorrow’s race at Circuito de Jerez. He set a time of 1:41.289 with ample time to spare in Q2. In fact, the end of the session was quite anticlimactic as tire performance hampered the top ten from improving on their lap time.

Joining Ogura on the front row will be both ELF Marc VDS riders. Tony Arbolino bested his team mate by just 0.032s, leaving Sam Lowes in third.

Aron Canet, who despite undergoing surgery on Monday as a result of a crash last time out in Portugal, was able to secure fourth for tomorrow’s race start.

Despite leading every session of the weekend so far, Jake Dixon was unable to find his rhythm in qualifying and was forced to settle for 11th ahead of tomorrow’s race.

Qualifying 1:

The first half of qualifying was a relatively uneventful session with Somkiat Chantra taking the lead early on in the session and remaining mostly unbeatable. His third flying lap of the session was an unbeatable 1:41.965 – the fastest lap of the weekend so far and simply unbeatable in Q1.

Despite laying down such a phenomenal time, Chantra was still pushing but was unable to beat his own time.

The session ended with Jorge Navarro in second, Albert Arenas in third and Bo Bendsneyder in fourth – all riders progressed in to Q2.

Behind them was Marcos Ramirez, Manueal Gonzalez and Alessandro Zaccone in fifth, sixth and seventh respectively. Rounding out the top ten was Filip Salac, Jeremy Alcoba and Zonta Van Den Goorbergh.

Qualifying 2:

As the pit lane lights went green, all riders were quick to head out on track. Sam Lowes was at the back of this pack, clearly eager to be the last rider on the grid to set a flying lap.

With 10 minutes left in the session, Navarro’s bike wobbled under him and he ended up in the kitty litter at Turn 1. He was almost able to save it, temporarily pushing himself back up with his knee, but as his elbow hit the floor the bike slipped from under him.

Shortly after, and having luckily missed the yellow flags, Lowes hit the top of the timing sheets with a 1:41.696. It didn’t take long for him to find his rhythm and hit the pace. It was in the following flying lap that most other riders found their pace. Canet stole provisional pole from Lowes, before quickly being bested by Arbolino as he set the fastest lap of the weekend – a 1:41.299.

During this battle for pole, Jake Dixon was stuck down in a disappointing ninth, seemingly unable to find his rhythm as he kept bailing out of his flying laps. This lack of pace was surprising after Dixon lead all previous sessions across the weekend.

With four minutes left on the clock, Ogura leapt up to provisional pole with a stunning lap of 1:41.289. Just behin him was Arbolino in second, Lowes in third and Canet in fourth.

As the session drew to a close, everyone’s tires seemed to loose performance and no one was able to challenge those top four runners. In fact, none of the top ten riders were able to improve on their lap times as the checkered flag fell.

So the session ended with Ogura claiming his mainden Moto2 pole, just 0.010s ahead of Arbolino in second and Lowes in third. The second row will be filled by Canet, who has made a miraculous recovery after his survey on Monday, Fermin Aldeguer and Celestino Vietti. The top ten was completed by Chantra, Pedro Acosta, Dixon and Arenas.

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

Moto2: Arbolino Takes Maiden Win at COTA

Tony Arbolino secures his first win in Moto2 as both Celestino Vietti and Aron Canet crash out of the lead. Ai Ogura takes second ahead of Jake Dixon who takes his maiden Moto2 podium.

Tony Arbolino laid down a cool, calm and collected performance to take his maiden win in Moto2, despite tricky weather conditions. He found himself in the lead of the race after two front runners, Celestino Vietti and Aron Canet, crash out in the early stages of the race, potentially caused by those windy conditions.

Ai Ogura came home in second, having made huge strides from his starting position of 11th. This is his second podium in as many races – the first time he has achieved this in Moto2. He was joined on the podium by British rider, Jake Dixon, who enjoyed his first podium in Grand Prix racing.

Pole sitter and home hero, Cameron Beaubier had a difficult day – he was shuffled back in the early stages of the race and, despite making up ground, crashed out in the dying moments of the race.

As it happened

As the lights went out, Beaubier had an initial good start but was quickly shuffled back to fourth. Vietti flew off to take first, just ahead of Canet in second and Arbolino in third. Dixon slipped down to seventh whilst Sam Lowes jumped up to eighth.

The early stages of the race were filled with drama as the riders got to grips with those challenging conditions. Six riders all ended up in the kitty litter at the end of the first lap. As the grid came to turn 12 on the first lap, Somkiat Chantra hit the rear wheel of Sam Lowes’ bike as he mistimed his breaking. This then created a domino effect as Zonta van der Goorbergh hit Gabriel Rodrigo and the pair collected Fermin Aldeguer. Augusto Fernandez was lucky to not fall along with this group, however he was shuffled down to 15th as a result of the drama.

Rookie Pedro Acosta then crashed out from fifth in a separate incidence on lap four – he hit the ground at turn three before sliding dangerously across the track. Whilst all riders walked away unscathed, Rodrigo and van der Goorbergh were taken to the medical centre for a precautionary check-up.

On lap three, Canet found a way around the outside of Vietti at turn six, before firmly shutting the door at turn seven. With Canet now in the lead, he was able to pull out a 0.4s gap in the space of one lap.

On lap five, Vietti then crashed out from second place as the bike fell from under him at turn six. This promoted Arbolino up to second and Dixon up to third. Ogura was in fourth with Marcel Schrotter in an impressive fifth, despite starting down in 13th.

At this point in the race, Dixon was lining up for a move on Arbolino. This battle gave Canet the opportunity to put 1.5s of free air between himself and the rest of the grid.

However, everything went south for Canet shortly after as the front tire folds underneath him at turn seven on lap eight. He was almost able to save it but sadly ended up in the kitty litter. This promotes Arbolino to first, Dixon to second and Ogura to third.

Despite an initial challenge from Dixon, Arbolino was able to pull out a comfortable lead which he held for the remainder of the race. As the checkered flag fell, he had a 4s lead over his nearest competitors.

On lap 12, Dixon lost out on second place to Ogura after going wide – it is suspected that he faced a false neutral as Ogura came at him from very far behind.

A few laps later, just behind Dixon, Schrotter goes wide which allowed Beaubier past and into fourth. However, he wouldn’t be able to hold on to this position as the checkered flag fell.

Further retirements came from Simone Corsi who crashed on lap two, Alessandro Zaccone who retired on lap three and Niccolo Antonelli who retired on lap 14.

Championship Standings

Despite a tricky weekend, Vietti remains at the top of the championship standings with 70 points, with Canet in second and Chantra in third. Today’s podium finisher, Ogura, is fourth in the title fight with Lowes and Arbolino close behind.

However, if Canet had been able to hang on to the lead of the race, he would have left America as the championship leader. It will certainly be a weekend of “what if’s” for the Spanish rider.

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

Moto2: Vietti Holds Off Chantra To Take Composed Win in Argentina

Celestino Vietti was able to hold off significant and consistent pressure from Somkiat Chantra to win in Argentina. He was joined on the podium by both Honda Team Asia riders, with Chantra in second and Ai Ogura in third.

Celestino Vietti was able to extend his lead at the top of the championship standings with a win in Argentina. The win didn’t come easily as he was forced to pass pole-sitter Fermine Aldeguer and hold off a race-long challenge from Somkiat Chantra.

Our record-breaking pole-sitter, Aldeguer endured a horrible crash as he fought with Vietti. He limped his way back to the garage, the devastation clear on his face.

Chantra was thrilled with second place as he led home a double podium for Honda Team Asia. This result comes straight after his win in Indonesia, showing just how much that result has built his confidence.

The biggest story was the battle for third, which rumbled on for most of the race. In the end, it was Ai Ogura who came out on top, ahead of Aron Canet, taking the final podium position.

As It Happened:

As the lights went out, Aldeguer enjoyed a strong start and kept his place at the front of the pack. Tony Arbolino also enjoyed a good start, jumping up from third to second.

Augusto Fernandez, starting in second, had a horrible start and was quickly swallowed by the chasing pack. As they entered turn one, he hit the back of Ogura and crashed out. At the same time, he sent Manuel Gonzalez wide and tumbling down the grid. Fernandez has now failed to win a race since 2019 and will be eager to break this streak soon.

Shortly after, on lap four, Vietti made a late move at turn one and stole the lead from Aldeguer. He quickly found his rhythm and controlled the pack from the front.

With 16 laps to go, Vietti went wide a turn 13 allowing Aldeguer to make his move. As Vietti came back on to the racing line, he came across the front of Aldeguer who was then a passenger as he tumbled in to the gravel. It was a nasty crash that saw him limping away from the track with his arm around a marshal. The stewards deemed the drama as a racing incident with no penalties for either rider.

With Aldeguer back in the garage, Chantra was promoted to second and Canet moved up to third. Chantra quickly caught up to the leader, sitting just 0.2s behind him and breathing down his neck.

With 13 laps left to race, Vietti goes wide again at turn 13, handing the lead to Chantra. However, the same thing happens on the following lap with Chantra the one going wide this time, handing the lead back to Vietti.

As a gap opens up between second and third place riders, Ogura takes that third place spot from Canet. Shortly after, on lap 15, Canet forces himself up the inside of Ogura, only to loose this place three laps later – their ongoing battle allows this gap to open up a little wider. Canet pushes hard but is unable to find a way through until the final lap of the race.

Further down the grid, Jake Dixon was chasing down Arbolino and the rest of the top five riders. Despite sitting two seconds down the road, he was setting some blistering lap times and quickly catching up to Arbolino. Dixon’s moment came on lap 21 as Arbolino seems to start struggling, heading fifth place to the Brit.

At this point in the race, Arbolino wasn’t the only rider to struggle – A number of others were also facing difficulties as Gabriel Rodrigo crashes at turn nine, followed by Jorge Navarro at turn two and Lorenzo Dalla Porta at turn five. This meant that yellow flags were being waved around the circuits, temporarily halting Canet’s attack on Ogura.

On the following lap, with just two laps remaining, Vietti threw down the gauntlet as he finds more lap time and extends the gap to Chantra. At this point, it looked like the win was pretty much in the bag for the championship leader barring any drama or mistakes.

In the dying moments of the race, Canet was still looking for a way past Ogura. On the final lap, he finally forced Ogura to make a mistake as he went wide at turn five. Canet goes on to make a similar error two corners later, however he is just able to stay ahead.

It wasn’t until the penultimate corner that Ogura was able to retake third and, as the checkered flag fell, Ogura flew down the final straight to cross the line 0.1s ahead of Canet.

Just 1.5s earlier, Vietti crossed the line to claim his second win in three races – so far this season, he has only lost five points.

Having fought hard, Dixon managed to keep Arbolino behind him as the pair crossed the line in fifth and sixth respectively. Moto3 champion, Pedro Acosta finished in seventh, enjoying a better race this weekend. The top ten was rounded out by Albert Arenas, Bo Bendsneyder and Sam Lowes.

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

Moto2: Vietti wins first race of 2022 in Qatar

Celestino Vietti led every lap on his way to winning the Qatar GP. He was joined on the podium by Aron Canet in second and Sam Lowes, who was able to snatch third place after drama on the last lap.

The first race of the season gave Celestino Vietti his first Moto2 win – and it was a very comfortable and enjoyable win for him too! After starting on pole, Vietti flew off the line, quickly put clean air between him and the rest of the field, and then went on to lead every lap.

Vietti took the chequered flag more than 6 seconds ahead of his nearest rival, Aron Canet. The Flexbox HP40 rider also enjoyed a strong start to the race – he climbed from ninth to second in only three laps. Once finding himself in second place, he faced no real challenge from the rest of the grid and took a comfortable podium finish.

Ai Ogura and Augusto Fernandez also enjoyed a positive start to their races. They each gained a place and got themselves up to fourth and fifth respectively.

Ogura leads the battle; Image Credit: MotoGP

On the first lap, Jake Dixon and Pedro Acosta both went too hot into the first corner, forcing them to sit up on the bike and go wide. This caused Dixon to fall back from seventh to 16th and Acosta to fall back from tenth to 21st. Having already crash the previous day in qualifying, this added to Acosta’s weekend woes.

Sam Lowes also faced a challenging start, dropping back from second to eighth. He quickly overtook Joe Roberts for seventh and was then gifted sixth place when Filip Salac crashed on lap three.

Having enjoyed a hugely impressive qualifying performance and starting the race as the top rookie in fourth, Salac was clearly disappointed to end have his race prematurely. He had a big highside at turn five which left him in the gravel looking a little shaken. Thankfully, he walked away unscathed but that corner has taken a number of victims this weekend, including Somkiat Chantra who broke a bone during a qualifying crash there.

Salac in the gravel; Image Credit: Gresini Racing

After this, Lowes now found himself behind his Elf Marc VDS teammate Tony Arbolino as well as Fernandez and Ogura – this quartet spent most of the remaining 18 laps jostling for the final podium position. This fighting helped Vietti and Canet to break away from the pack with such ease.

Two mistakes in the middle of the race saw Arbolino drop outside of the third place battle. Lowes quickly took Fernandez and Ogura within one lap of each other, with Ogura swiftly taking back third place honours. These battles allowed Arbolino to reduce the gap and rejoin the fight.

The battle for third; Image Credit: MotoGP

With only two laps to go, Fernandez made a very late move for fourth, throwing his bike up the inside of Lowes. He was then chasing down Ogura and made yet another late lunge. However, as Ogura fought back, he hit Fernandez, sliding in to him and sending himself wide.

Lowes capitalised on this drama to easily snatch third place from the pair of them. Fernandez managed to keep hold of fourth, narrowly missing out on his first podium with the KTM team. Arbolino crossed the line in fifth as Ogura dropped back to sixth.

Eighth and ninth were taken by the American pairing of Roberts and Cameron Beaubier. Marcel Schrotter, who is still recovering from a broken hand that was inflicted during the pre-season test, rounded out the top ten. He took that position on the line, narrowly beating Dixon who managed to recover from his terrible start to finish in 11th.

Acosta on track; Image Credit: MotoGP

Acosta, who was also recovering from his terrible start, fought back to finish in 12th. The final points scoring positions were filled by Albert Arena in 13th, Jeremy Alcoba in 14th and Romano Fenati in 15th.

Joining Salac in the group of non-finishers were Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Barry Baltus who, before retiring, enjoyed a phenomenal save – he managed to stay on the bike as it slid from under him by pushing himself back up with his hand.

After such a dominant performance, all eyes are firmly on Vietti and the wider VR46 Racing Team, who also enjoyed success in Moto3 just hours earlier. After struggling with injury throughout the official test, Lowes will be pleased to be back on the podium. However, after showing such sensational pace in testing, it’s fair to say that many were expecting more from Acosta this weekend. He will surely be keen to fight back as the grid return to action on the 18th to the 20th of March in Indonesia.

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

Moto2: Chantra Fastest in Second Private Test

Thai rider Somkiat Chantra dominated the two-day private testing session in Jerez, closely followed by his team mate, Ai Ogura. Marcel Schrötter posted the third fastest overall time.

Ahead of the first and only official testing session next week, 20 Moto2 and Moto3 teams took part in a private test in Jerez. The session aimed to provide 49 rookies with much-needed time on track with their 2022 machines. In attendance were the likes of Alessandro Zaccone, Filip Salac and Jeremy Alcoba.

However, it was Somkiat Chantra who dominated the two day-long sessions. The Thai rider sat at the top of the timings sheet on day one, with a time of 1:42.213. He then found further improvements on day two, when he posted a 1:41.466.

Chantra will be eager to build on his much-improved 2021 season – his fourth and most successful season in Moto2, where his best result was a fifth at the Austrian GP.

Image Credit: Honda Racing

His Japanese teammate, Ai Ogura, was just 0.035s behind him, rounding our a truly successful testing programme for Honda Team Asia. This will be Ogura’s second year in Moto2, and his second year with the Honda team. He enjoyed an impressive rookie season, finishing the year 8th in the championship and taking his maiden Moto2 podium with a second place finish at the Austrian GP.

Marcel Schrötter and his Liqui Moly Intact machine posted the third fastest time of the session. Having not stepped onto the podium since early 2020, Schrötter will be looking to carry this promising testing performance through to his 10th full season in Moto2.

The official test for Moto2 will commence on the 19th of February 2022 and last for three days. The first race of the season will then take place less than two weeks later in Qatar, on the 6th of March.

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

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