Moto2: Chantra Storms to Pole in Japan!

Image Credit: MotoGP

Delight for IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia with a stunning 1-2 here at their home Grand Prix in Japan. Somkiat Chantra was on fire today in Motegi and so far this weekend has been fastest in every session in Moto2. Chantra took pole with teammate Ai Ogura 2nd, and Jake Dixon rounding off the front row in 3rd.

Disaster for Tony Arbolino today qualifying in 13th place. With championship rival Pedro Acosta heading up the second row tomorrow in 4th. Arbolino has it all to do in tomorrow’s race, to try and stop Acosta running away with the championship this year. 

Image Credit: MotoGP

AS IT HAPPENED

Qualifying 1

Jake Dixon lead the pack out of the pits onto the track for the Q1 session. Dixon a shock name in the session and had never failed so far this season to get into Q2.

As Dixon approached the end of his out lap, several riders were queuing ready to follow Dixon round the track. Dixon stating before the weekend that Motegi was one of his favourite tracks.

As the first bunch of riders posted their first flying lap times, Alonso Lopez set the benchmark for the rest of the field. Lopez having to serve a double long lap penalty this weekend after the carnage last weekend in India.

With 10mins left of the session, the top 4 currently heading into Q2 were Lopez, Bo Bensneyder, Zonta Van De Goorbergh and reigning Moto3 champion Izan Guevara.

Mattia Casadei lit up the yellow flags in sector 2, going down at turn 6. Casadei with his 3rd crash of the weekend. A tough weekend so far for the Kalex rider.

7mins of the session remained. Dixon and Binder lit up the sectors red and as they all crossed the line, Binder went quickest with a time of 1:50.294. Van De Goorbergh just +0.060 back to Binder and Dixon moved up into the top 4 in 3rd.

The riders back on the track now after a brief stop in the pits.  Lopez set a blistering lap time of 1:50.089 and moved to the top of the standings pushing Dixon down to 4th. Had Lopez set that time this morning, he’d of been 2nd quickest overall from the practice sessions.

Chequered flag out and the riders on current flying laps weren’t able to break into the top 4. The top 4 heading through to the Q2 session were Alonso, Binder, Van De Goorbergh and Dixon.

Qualifying 2

Both Beta Tools SpeedUp teammates Lopez and Fermin Aldeguer were the first to post times in the session, only to be blitzed moments later by Chantra posting a time just shy of the lap record of 1:49.977 seconds.

VD Goorbergh lit up the yellow flags in sector 1 just as Chantra broke the lap record with a time of 1:49.898. For 7 years Johann Zarco held the record, but finally broken today by Chantra and the provisional pole lap so far sat with the IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia rider.

Championship leader Pedro Acosta moved up into the 3rd after his first run, but only briefly as Dixon moved up to 2nd and Aron Canet into 4th. The front row with 6mins left in the session was Chantra, Dixon and Ogura.

Acosta and Dixon not giving up on pole went quicker with Dixon just +0.214seconds shy of Chantra’s provisional pole lap in 2nd, and Acosta in 3rd.

Tony Arbolino had a nightmare start to the session and with only a few minutes remaining was in 14th place. Arbolino’s teammate Sam Lowes was going better and up to 7th with a couple of minutes left in the session. Arbolino managed to finish 13th in the qualifying session. A disaster for Arbolino and will be looking to do all he can in the race tomorrow, to keep any championship hopes alive.

As the chequered flags waved, Ogura split Chantra and Dixon moving up to 2nd place to the delight of the team in the garage. A dream qualifying session for the IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia at their home race in Japan. Chantra quickest in every session so far this weekend! It will take a mighty effort from anyone to stop Chantra from taking the win tomorrow.

Qualifying Classification

Image Credit: MotoGP

Official Starting Grid

Image Credit: MotoGP

 

 

 

 

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