After last weekend’s curtain raiser in Portugal, the MotoGP circus heads to the Americas for the second round of the 2023 season.
The Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo, located in northern Argentina, will host what promises to be an exciting weekend of two-wheeled action. The 4.8km circuit will demand nothing but the the best from the riders. The circuit is seldom used outside of MotoGP and is expected to be extremely dirty. With teams still adapting to the new weekend schedule, the tricky conditions will only add to the unpredictability.
After cruising to victory in the first round, Pedro Acosta is being tipped by almost everyone to top the podium again. The former Moto3 champion has hit the ground running and will be looking to make amends after missing multiple races last season through injury. The 18-year-old threw down the gauntlet with a dominating ride in Portugal, he will be the man to beat this weekend.
Aron Canet was the only rider capable of matching Acosta’s pace in Portimão. The Spaniard finished 2nd for the 10th time in Moto2 and remains in search of his first win in the intermediate class. After finishing 4th in Argentina last season, it is certainly worth keeping an eye on him this weekend.
Last year’s winner, Celestino Vietti, will be hoping to replicate his success on Sunday. After a promising start to his 2022 campaign, the Italian rider had a tough time keeping his VR46 machinery upright. He crashed out of a number of races and his hopes of winning the Moto2 Championship faded quickly. After joining the newly formed Fantic Racing during the offseason, the 21-year-old will be hoping to build on his solid points finish last weekend in Portimão.
Vietti was joined on the podium last season by the Honda Team Asia duo of Somkiat Chantra and Ai Ogura. The latter missed the opening round in Portugal after injuring his wrist during the winter. The Japanese rider has been declared fit and will kickstart his campaign this weekend.
Another rider who impressed last time out in Argentina is 17-year-old Fermin Aldeguer. He stunned the field in qualifying, taking his maiden pole position at just 16 years of age. Unfortunately, the Spaniard crashed out whilst challenging Vietti for the lead, so there’s no doubt he’ll be chomping at the bit to get out on track.
The hopes of British fans will once again rest on the shoulders of Jake Dixon and Sam Lowes. The pair finished 6th and 7th respectively last weekend and both finished inside the top 10 on their last visit to Argentina.
According to the forecast, weather could play a key role throughout the weekend. Rain is likely to be a factor on Friday which will keep teams on their toes with showers a possibility on Sunday. Temperature’s are expected to be in the low-to-mid-20s. The race is scheduled to start at 12:15pm local time (4:15pm GMT).
Pedro Acosta, labelled by many as the favourite to become the 2023 Moto2 World Champion, vindicated those predictions with a flawless ride in the Algarve.
The Red Bull KTM Team Ajo rider barely broke a sweat enroute to the first of what is likely to be many race wins this season.
After a solid performance on Saturday, Czech rider Filip Salac earned his first pole position in Moto2. He was joined on the front row by Aron Canet, starting 2nd, and the aforementioned Acosta, starting 3rd.
It was Canet who led the field down to turn one on the back of a great launch, with Salac hot on his heels. The polesitter briefly recovered the lead at the start of lap two, before he was shuffled backwards by Canet and Acosta.
There were frantic scenes behind the leaders too, as Bo Bendsneyder was taken out by Alonso Lopez. The Spaniard was given a long lap penalty for his troubles. Moments later Acosta assumed the lead of the race – He would now hold it until the chequered flag was waved.
After joining the newly formed Fantic Racing over the winter, Celestino Vietti made some early progress before serving his double long lap penalty which was carried over from last season’s final race in Valencia.
With the lead pair pulling away from the rest of the field, Marc VDS rider Tony Arbolino muscled his way into third. He then set about the impossible task of reeling in both Acosta and Canet.
After a disappointing qualifying session, Britain’s Jake Dixon had made steady progress through the field. At the halfway stage he was enjoying a good battle with Moto2 rookie, Darryn Binder. The pair exchanged positions before leapfrogging Jeremy Alcoba. Moments later, a mistake from Binder caused him to slide off the asphalt. The South African was able to re-join the race.
Despite Canet’s best efforts, he wasn’t able to challenge Acosta and by the end of the race, the gap between the two was well over a second. The former Moto3 champion looked unstoppable, kickstarting his campaign in style with a flawless ride.
Canet, still in search of his first Moto2 win, finished 2nd for the tenth time in the intermediate class. It was an impressive performance from Arbolino who brought his Kalex home in 3rd.
The British riders had a good day. Dixon managed to claim 6th after making good progress from the fourth row on the grid. Sam Lowes finished just behind him in 7th. Rory Skinner built on his wildcard appearances last season. The Scotsman, now a fulltime rider in the class, finished in 22nd.
After his lap 15 fall, Binder recovered to finish 16th, just missing out on the points in his first Moto2 start. Moto3 graduates Sergio Garcia and Dennis Foggia looked impressive, finishing 15th and 18th respectively.
Augusto Fernandez has taken back-to-back wins after taking victory in Assen. Ai Ogura enjoyed a phenomenal race as he fought his way back from 16th to 2nd. The final podium position was taken by our pole sitter, Jake Dixon, enjoying only his second ever Moto2 podium.
This year’s Dutch GP in Assen was a true spectacle with 24 laps full of action. For much of the race, we had a 7-way battle for the lead with no idea who would cross the line in the podium positions.
Augusto Fernandez eventually came out on top, enjoying back-to-back wins for only the second time in his career. With a clinical performance and well-timed moves, he took the lead on lap 17 and never looked back.
Second place went to Ai Ogura who was, arguably, the rider of the day. He faced two scary moments in the opening stages of the race, causing him to drop back to 16th.
It was a difficult day for Marcel Schrotter and Albert Arenas who had been part of the leading pack for most of the race. On lap 12, Schrotter crashed out from the lead, missing the opportunity for his maiden Moto2 win. Two laps before the checkered flag fell, Arenas also crashed out, missing out on his maiden Moto2 podium.
Despite starting on the front row, Sam Lowes also faced a difficult race. He was forced out wide on the first corner of the first lap, meaning he tumbled down to the back of the grid, before then crashing on lap 4.
Our championship leader Celestino Vietti, having started the race in 11th, was able to capitalise on these misfortunes to come home in 4th. He brought with him the home hero, Bo Bendsneyder, who crossed the line in with a career-best 5th.
Alonso Lopez, after flying off the line at the start of the race and enjoying a strong battle with the leading pack, slipped back down the grid in the latter stages of the race and ended the day in 6th.
Rounding out the top 10 was Tony Arbolino, Joe Roberts, Manuel Gonzalez and Filip Salac who all enjoyed a relatively quiet race in comparison to the leading group.
The weekend’s action was missing Aron Canet, who is still struggling with consistent nose bleeds after a car crash a few weeks ago, and Pedro Acosta, who is recovering from surgery after a training crash a few days ago.
As the lights went out, Dixon and Lowes got a brilliant start, flying off the line. Lowes came up alongside Arenas and looked set to steal 2nd from him. However, as Lopez switched to the inside of Turn 1, he pushed Lowes wide and sent him tumbling down the order. It was a late and aggressive move from Lopez which saw Lowes sent to the back of the grid. A few corners later and Lopez was back at it again, making another aggressive move past Arenas to take 2nd.
Dixon, who had maintained the lead after his pole position start, was next on Lopez’s list. In a move that seemed to come from nowhere, Lopez snatched the lead away from the Brit rider and was leading the pack for the first time in his Moto2 career. As the grid crosses the line for the first time, Lopez was 1st, ahead of the Aspar duo of Dixon in 2nd and Arenas in 3rd. Schrotter was just behind in 4th, having started in 10th, with Ogura in 5th.
On the second lap, Ogura faced the first of two scary moments which forced him up and out of his seat as the bike wobbled beneath him. He dropped down to 9th before a similar issue on the following lap then caused him to drop further down to 16th. It appeared that his tires were not quite where he needed them to be.
On lap three, British rider Sam Lowes went down from the back of the grid to end a terrible race in the worst possible way. He will be undeniably disappointed after his strong qualifying performance.
Meanwhile, at the front of the grid, Schrotter was closing in on Lopez and looking like he wanted to challenge for the lead. On the following lap, Arenas made a move past his team mate, taking 3rd from Dixon. On lap nine, Dixon then loses 4th place to Fernandez. He thinks about fighting back and eventually makes a move a few corners later, only to move too late and almost lose 5th place to Bendsneyder. Dixon quickly swaps to defence mode and is able to remain in 5th.
On the following lap, Arenas makes a move past Lopez to take second place. Shortly after, Fernandez is also past Lopez, as the Spanish rider loses two places in as many corners.
At this point in the race, with 10 laps completed, the top five places were held by Schrotter in 1st, Arenas and Fernandez in 2nd and 3rd, followed by Lopez and Dixon in 4th and 5th. Just behind them, home hero Bendsneyder was able to squeeze past Arbolino in the final sector to take 6th. All this fighting allowed our championship leader, Vietti who was back in 8th, to catch up to the leading pack of seven and join in the fun. In the space of one lap, the gap ahead of Vietti dropped by half a second.
On lap 11, Schrotter crashed out of the lead, losing the opportunity to claim his maiden win. He went wide at Turn 5 which put him off the racing line. As he tried to correct the error, the bike dropped from underneath him. Meanwhile, Lopez and Fernandez were battling hard for second place, which they had inherited from Schrotter’s crash. The pair were swapping positions for most of lap 12 before Lopez came out on top.
Ss they started lap 13, it was Arenas in the lead, ahead of Lopez in 2nd and Fernandez in 3rd. Dixon was just behind in 4th with home hero Bendsneyder in 5th. Vietti was still in 8th with Ogura, his nearest championship rival, quickly catching up to him in 9th.
The battle for 8th was quickly hotting up with Vietti and Ogura swapping positions at every corner. Eventually, it is Ogura who comes out on top. Lopez’s struggles continue as he was forced to sit up at turn 1 of lap 16, sending him tumbling down the grid from 2nd to 6th. He is soon caught by Ogura whose pace was rapid.
On lap 17, we had another change at the front of the grid as Fernandez takes the lead from Arenas. With numerous battles going on behind them, the leading pair quickly find themselves with a 0.9-second lead.
With just four laps remaining, and plenty of on-track action going on, Fernandez is still leading the race, with Dixon now up to 2nd and Ogura in 3rd. Arenas had now slipped back to 4th but was still fighting for his maiden podium finish. Vietti was up to 5th, just ahead of Bendsneyder and Lopez. On the following lap, Ogura makes it past Dixon and into 2nd. The battle gifted Fernandez a 0.4-second, and a seemingly unbeatable, lead.
With just two laps remaining, Arenas cracks under the pressure and crashes at Turn 9. That first podium finish remains elusive for the Spaniard.
On the final lap, Fernandez had a 0.5-second lead ahead of Ogura and Dixon. With Vietti now in 4th, he made a late lunge, attempting to steal 3rd from Dixon. The pair met the checkered flag side-by-side but it was Dixon who came out on top.
Brit rider Jake Dixon has taken a fantastic pole ahead of tomorrow’s Dutch GP. He is joined on the front row by his teammate, Albert Arenas, and fellow Brit, Sam Lowes.
Tomorrow’s Dutch GP will see an Aspar 1-2 for the start of the race. Brit rider, Jake Dixon, secured pole with a time of 1.36.736 – his final lap of the session. His team mate, Albert Arenas, was just 0.01-seconds off the pace and will start tomorrow’s race from second.
A second Brit will also be on the front row, as Sam Lowes takes third for tomorrow’s face start. Just behind Lowes with be Ai Ogura in 4th and Alonso Lopez in a brilliant 5th. Home hero, Bo Bendsneyder will start the race from a strong 8th.
Further down the grid, Celestino Vietti, our championship leader, faced a challenging day. He crashed out during Q2 and was forced to settle with 11th for tomorrow’s race.
As the session started, Fermin Aldguer quickly faced an issue and was forced to head back to the pits. Having enjoyed a strong weekend so far, it was clear he was keen to get back on to the track as soon as possible.
As the first flying laps were completed, it was Jorge Navarro who topped the timing sheets with a 1.37.670. Manuel Gonzalez, Marcos Ramirez and Lorenzo Dalla Porta slotted in behind him, taking the provisional Q2-progression places. However, it should have been Barry Baltus at the top of the timing sheets – after taking a shortcut at the end of his outlap, his first flying lap was cancelled due to track limits. He cut the final chicane as a shortcut to give him extra speed at the start of the next lap.
With just less than 10 minutes left on the clock, Navarro improves, staying at the top of the timing sheets, with a 1.37.285. Ramirez jumped up to second and Dalla Porta leapt up to third, meaning that Gonzalez was shuffled down to fourth. Baltus, who was able to keep his next lap time on the board, was only able to slot in to 12th.
Aldeguer was back on the track and clearly pushing the bike to its very limits – the machine was twitching underneath him at the end of Sector 2. It took him a good few laps to get back on the pace, with his first lap only putting him in ninth.
With just over seven minutes to go, Dalla Porta improved on his time again. However, it wasn’t quite enough and he was soon shuffled down by Alessandro Zaccone, Gonzalez and Baltus who put themselves in 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively.
With 5 minutes left on the clock, Aldeguer temporarily leaps up to 2nd, only to have his lap time deleted for a track limits violation. He is clearly pushing as hard as he can after the mishap he faced at the start of the session. He keeps pushing and, with just over 3 minutes left of the session, he is able to jump to 2nd again – and this time it sticks! He pushes Baltus out of the top 4. Dalla Porta is the next to improve, jumping up to 3rd and pushing Gonzalez out of the top 4.
As the session draws to a close, Gonzalez makes up time in the final sector to jump up to 3rd. This pushes Aldeguer down to 5th with no opportunity left to improve. Finally, Baltus is able to steal 4th away from Dalla Porta in the final moments of the session.
Those progressing to Q2 are Navarro, Zaccone, Gonzalez and Baltus.
As the session starts, Baltus is the first out on track, clearly feeling in good form after his Q1 performance.
Bo Bendsneyder was also feeling in good form as he quickly went up to 2nd, with a 1.36.986. He sat just 0.1-seconds behind our early leader, Navarro. Dixon then slots in to third with his fastest lap of the weekend so far.
With 8 minutes left on the clock, championship leader Celestino Vietti crashes at turn 3. He locked the front, spun around and ended up in the kitty litter. He briefly considered getting back on the bike but the damage ended his session early. When his session ends, he is currently set for a second row start in tomorrow’s race. But just 1 minute later, he is shuffled back to the third row, leaving Vietti with a nervous wait in his pit box.
5 minutes are left on the clock when Joe Roberts leaps up to 2nd. Moments later, he is shuffled down to 3rd when Lowes takes provisional pole with a 1.36.767.
Augusto Fernandez then makes a risky move as he comes into the pits to change his tires with just 4 minutes remaining. With such little time on the board, he may struggle to get the tires up to temperature and into their sweet spot.
As the session draws to a close, Arenas takes pole away from Lowes, despite hitting traffic at the end of his lap. Ogura slots in to provisional third before Dixon crosses the line to leapfrog them all and snatch pole. Fernandez and his new tires are unable to secure a spot higher than 8th.
Vietti took a stunning win at the Catalan GP after he fought his way back from a poor start to beat the rest of the field. Despite leading for much of the second half of the race, Canet was forced to settle for second as his first Moto2 win still eludes him. Fernandez made a late move on the final lap to claim the final podium place.
Celestino Vietti has given his championship hopes another boost today, taking his third win of the 2022 season in Catalunya. Despite starting on pole, he was forced to fight his way through the field as he dropped to fifth on the first lap. A well-timed move allowed him to take the lead from Spanish rider, Aron Canet, in the dying moments of the race.
The final podium spot was filled by Augusto Fernandez, despite Jake Dixon sitting within the top three for the entire race. He made a brilliant last-corner lunge to steal third from the Brit.
Despite a brilliant start and leading the first half of the race, today will be a day to forget for Joe Roberts who crashed out of the race, leaving him unable to repeat the success he enjoyed in Portugal.
As It Happened
As the lights went out and the race started, Dixon and Roberts enjoyed a strong start as they leapt up to first and second respectively. Canet slotted in behind them in third whilst Vietti dropped from pole down to fifth. Sam Lowes also struggled at the start of the race, dropping from sixth to 11th. Marcel Schrotter, trying a different strategy on harder tyres, moved up from ninth to seventh.
A few corners into the race and Roberts made a move on Dixon, taking the lead and he shot down the inside of the British rider. By the time the grid started their third lap, Roberts had a 0.4s lead on Dixon, whilst Canet set the fastest lap time just behind them. These fast times allowed Canet to quickly get himself up to second, just ahead of Dixon.
Further down the pack, our top two championship contenders were battling for fifth – Vietti was just ahead of Ai Ogura, with the pair jostling and swapping position with every lap.
On lap three, we had our first crash of the race as Alex Toledo went down at Turn 10. This was not the end he had been hoping for as he entered his first Moto2 race to replace the injured Gabriel Rodrigo. The following lap saw Filip Salac end up in the kitty litter, as he crashed out from 13th whilst trying to follow Pedro Acosta. Three laps later and it was Cameron Beaubier who went down, suffering a fast crash at Turn 14.
Meanwhile, Vietti and Ogura were still battling, with Vietti only just ahead in fifth. Ogura then made an uncharacteristic mistake as the front started to slide from under him – he managed to keep the bike upright but, in doing so, he dropped down to seventh. He then lost another place to Schrotter, who stole seventh place from him on lap nine. Ogura was simply unable to fight back and failed to make any other significant moves during the race.
Lap ten saw Roberts enjoying a 2.4s lead as Dixon makes a move on Canet for second. He bumped in to the side of the Spanish rider and stole second place. However, disaster struck just one lap later when Roberts suffered a crash at Turn 5. Late in the corner, the bike slid from under him and he found himself stuck in the kitty litter.
This meant that we now had Dixon leading the way, just ahead of Canet in second and Albert Arenas in third. This also promoted Vietti up to fourth whilst Ogura was still stuck in seventh.
At this point in the race, Vietti seemed to come alive and started making his way through the field. He quickly took third from Arenas and started to reduce the gap to the leading pair ahead. At the same time, Canet, who was the fastest rider on the track, made a move on Dixon to lead the race for the first time. Dixon shortly found himself under yet more pressure as Vietti quickly closed the gap and, on lap 15, he made a move to take second away from the Brit.
As we approached the final lap, everything was hotting up – Fernandez and Schrotter both came past Arenas whilst Lowes was battling with Ogura.
On lap 17, with just four laps remaining, Vietti finally made his move for the lead. However, he wasn’t able to keep this for long and, on lap 18, Canet found the slipstream on the start-finish straight and regained the lead.
The final lap started with Canet in first, Vietti in second with Dixon third and Fernandez fourth. The top four were incredibly close, with barely a hair’s width between them. In the final sector, Vietti and Canet bumped into each other as Vietti made an aggressive, but successful, move for the lead. Just behind, Dixon lost his podium place to Fernandez as he made a perfectly timed lunge at the final corner.
As the only rider to win multiple Moto2 races this year, Vietti remains at the top of the championship standings with 133 points.
In second place is still Ogura, but the gap has now been extended to 16 points after he was unable to make waves in today’s race.
Third in the standings belongs to Canet on 109 points, just ahead of Fernandez and Tony Arbolino in fourth and fifth.
Cameron Beaubier stuns home crowds to take his maiden pole position in Moto2. He will be joined on the front row by championship leader, Celestino Vietti in second and Aron Canet in third.
American track, American rider and American team – today’s qualifying ticked all the boxes for the fans in the grandstands. Cameron Beaubier is the first American rider to secure a pole position at home since 2010.
He will be joined on the front row for tomorrow’s race by Celestino Vietti who, despite leading the championship after a strong start to the season, was forced to make his way through Q1. It was Vietti who set the early pace in Q2 but was eventually forced to settle for second.
Aron Canet was able to take third, despite a late crash for the Spanish rider. He fell at turn 17 as the front end folded underneath him and left him in the kitty litter.
Canet wasn’t the only rider to crash as the riders seemed to fight with the COTA track – Augusto Fernandez crashed at turn 17 and, as a result, wasn’t able to set a lap time in Q2. Tony Arbolino crashed at turn 8 but was able to get back up, dust himself down, and set a time that was good enough for fourth. Similarly, Ai Ogura crashed at turn 11 whilst sitting in third. He was eventually shuffled down to 11th.
The various yellow flags caused by these crashes left a lot of riders needing to abandon their laps. However, no one was able to get close to Beaubier’s time of 2:08.751.
Albert Arenas and his GASGAS Aspar teammate, Jake Dixon, set the fifth and sixth fastest times respectively. Jorge Navarro, who has already been slapped with a long lap penalty for tomorrow’s race after crashing under yellow flags during FP3, will start tomorrow’s race in seventh.
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 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.
The second race of the 2022 Moto2 season was won in dominant fashion by Somkiat Chantra. He was joined on the podium by Celestino Vietti and Aron Canet, who took second and third respectively.
History has been made at the Indonesian GP with Somkiat Chantra taking his first race win, as well as the first race win for his country, Thailand. He took the lead at the first corner and never looked back, leading every lap of the race from there on. This dominant performance came despite the changeable weather conditions that faced the Moto2 grid.
The final podium spots were taken by our championship leader and winner last time out, Celestino Vietti, and Aron Canet in third. Canet has now taken two podiums in as many races. All three men will be pleased with how their seasons have begun but all eyes were well and truly on Chantra today.
Before the lights went out, it was confirmed that the race distance would be reduced to just 16 laps (two-thirds of the normal race) in an attempt to avoid the excessively high temperatures that were on the horizon. The weather continued to play a part in the race as spots of rain were felt, on and off, throughout.
When the race started, Chantra flew off the line, from fourth on the grid, and by the time he had reached the first corner he found himself in the lead of the race. Jake Dixon, our pole-sitter, then slipped back further as Sam Lowes quickly came past him to take second. Meanwhile, Vietti battled with his compatriot, Simone Corsi, for fourth. This played into Canet’s hands as he was able to make his way past both of them and start hunting down Dixon and Lowes.
On lap six, Dixon made a move on Lowes for second but it resulted in the bike falling from underneath him and he crashed at turn ten. This chaos soon led to Canet overtaking Lowes for second place. Lowes then dropped back even further as he lost third place to Vietti.
By this point, Chantra was 2.2s down the road and setting fastest laps to boot. Eventually, with two laps remaining, Chantra had increased the gap to 3s, allowing him to bring home the win with ease. Having never finished higher than fifth before today, Chantra was naturally emotional as he celebrated the win with his team.
This large gap was partly due to Vietti spending too long trying to overtake Canet. He was eventually able to make a move that stuck and, it was Vietti who came out on top as he secured second place. Canet was then able to keep hold of the final podium position, taking third.
Lowes crossed the line in fourth, having spent much of the race without anyone for company. It seemed he simply wasn’t able to keep up with the front runners today.
Augusto Fernandez was able to keep Ai Ogura behind him as they took fifth and sixth place respectively. Fermin Aldeguer came home in seventh with Tony Arbolino in eighth.
Pedro Acosta took the best rookie crown on Sunday as he came home in ninth. He was set back by a long lap penalty which left him in a hot battle with tenth place finisher, Albert Arenas.
With two races under his belt, Vietti remains at the top of the championship standings with Canet nine points behind him. The grid will be in action again in Argentina on the 1st – 3rd of April.
The first race of the 2022 season was entirely dominated by Celestino Vietti on the VR46 Racing machine, there have been plenty of talking points. Below are a few key thoughts from the riders.
The start of a new season is always rife with speculation, anticipation and excitement. Thankfully, the first race lived up to that with some dominant performances from those on the podium and mixed fortunes for others further back in down the grid.
You can read our full race report here. Below are some key thoughts from the riders as they reflect on the weekend’s actions. The grid will be back in action on the 18th to the 20th of March in Indonesia.
P1 = Celestino Vietti, Mooney VR46 Racing Team
Vietti cruised to a maiden Moto2 win, having secured pole the previous day. He led every lap and came home more than six seconds ahead of his competitors.
“It was very unexpected because [during qualifying] we were fast, but we didn’t have this race pace. We didn’t plan on doing a race like this, but during [Sunday] morning we made some adjustments to better manage the tire and assure a better consistency. The bike worked well and the team did a good job, so this result is for them.
We have to remain calm and continue to work in this way. It is a good way to start the year, but we know that we have very good rivals and it will certainly be a difficult year. We’re going to have to fight hard, so we have to stay focused and work well.”
P3 = Sam Lowes, Elf Marc VDS Racing Team
Lowes was plagued with tendonitis during pre-season testing, which saw him missing out on a lot of track time. However, he enjoyed a race-long battle with Ogura, Fernandez and teammate Arbolino on his way to a podium finish. After winning both races in Qatar in 2021, he will have been keen to start 2022 in an equally positive way.
“It’s been a difficult couple of weeks. But we had a good qualifying [on Saturday] and a podium [on Sunday]! The race was difficult. There were a couple of guys that were stronger than me, but it was a nice battle even though I couldn’t ride how I wanted to ride. So, to get some points on the board is good and to get the podium at the end is fantastic.”
P4 = Augusto Fernandez, Red Bull KTM Ajo
Fernandez spent much of his race, like Lowes, battling for the final podium place, which he was on track to secure before Ogura knocked in him a few laps from the end. He will have, undoubtedly, been disappointed to miss out on his first podium with the KTM team.
“We end the weekend with a bittersweet taste in our mouths. However, we must be happy to have finished, since, after the setback on the last lap, it could have been worse. Besides this, I’m satisfied with how I felt on the bike. During the weekend we showed that we had the pace to be up at the front and we gave our all to win the battle in the chasing group. Finally, the podium got away from us due to that incident, but we were lucky enough to be able to cross the finish line.”
P11 = Jake Dixon, GASGAS Aspar Team
Dixon had a fairly solid day on Saturday, qualifying in seventh, but an issue on the first corner of the first lap sent him tumbling down the order. This forced him to spend much of the race recovering and trying to salvage as many points as possible.
“Turn 1 and 2 was a disaster! Being that far back – outside the top twenty – on the first lap meant it was so hard to try and come back. I had to pass 10 or 11 riders and it took a long time. I think I lost ten seconds and if you take that away from the final race time then we would have been battling for the podium. So, we had the pace but the first lap held me back. It’s a long season and this is just the start.”
P12 = Pedro Acosta, Red Bull KTM Ajo
After laying down the gauntlet in pre-season testing, Acosta crashed out of his first Moto2 qualifying and started the race in tenth. He then faced a similar issue to Dixon after a first corner incident sent him backwards early in the race. Many will have been expecting to see more from the young prodigy during his first Moto2 outing.
“Today we accumulated kilometres and very important experience. The important thing is that we had a very consistent race and that our pace was enough to be fighting with the riders in front. The start of the contest didn’t go as expected, but this can happen in your first Grand Prix in a class.”
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.