Moto2: Flawless Ogura leads home a Honda Team Asia 1-2 in Austria

Ai Ogura has won the Austrian GP, despite a last-lap attempt from his team mate Somkiat Chantra. Chantra had to settle for 2nd whilst Dixon took 3rd in the final moments of the race. Ogura now leads the championship, just 1 point ahead of Augusto Fernandez.

Ai Ogura has turned his pole position into a stunning win at the Red Bull Ring. He took the lead early in the race and never looked back. Just behind him was his Honda Team Asia team mate, Somkiat Chantra, who had to settle for second despite a last-lap attempt for the win. With just a few corners to go, Chantra made his move round the outside and was ahead of Ogura until the Japanese rider got the cut back at the final corner.

Jake Dixon was able to capitalise on the drama and action around him, keeping his nose clean throughout the race and coming home in third. Much like Chantra, he made a final lap lunge on Pedro Acosta. Unlike Chantra, he was able to make this stick to take 3rd in the final moments of the race.

Acosta, who is returning from an injury sustained before the summer break, had a positive day despite missing the chance to visit the podium. He was the fastest man on the track in the early stages of the race, setting numerous fastest laps as he enjoyed a race-long battle with Dixon.

Just behind him were the ever-battling group of Augusto Fernandez, Aron Canet and Alonso Lopez who eventually finished in 5th, 6th and 7th respectively. Lopez will be frustrated with his final position today, after leading the race in the first few laps as well as enjoying a battle for the podium with Ogura and Vietti. His biggest mistake came on Lap 9 when he was sitting in third and trying to keep Vietti behind. He overcooked it, went wide and gave away the place to the Italian rider. A few laps later, whilst battling with Fernandez and Canet, he then dropped from 4th to 8th in the space of a few corners.

Meanwhile, Celestino Vietti had a terrible day and retired a few laps after he crashed. With 9 laps to go and sitting in 3rd, he was looking to make a move on Chantra for 2nd when he pushed too hard and the bike slipped out from underneath him. He rejoined at the back of the pack but retired shortly after.

Further non-finishers included Tony Arbolino and Lorenzo Dalla Porta who have a very scary crash at Turn 3 – the two riders tangled together as they misjudged each other’s braking points, leaving them and their bikes in the middle of the track as the grid had to carefully made their way through. Thankfully, the fast work of the marshal meant we didn’t need a red flag but Arbolino and Dalla Porta were unable to rejoin the grid. This wasn’t the way Arbolino would have wanted to finish his 100th race!

Aldeguer had a similarly scary crash – on Lap 12 he fell at the entry to the newly designed Turn 2a/2b chicane and almost slid into the path of the racing pack.

Alessandro Zaccone was the first crash of the race – an enormous high-side at the reworked Turn 2 chicane ruined his bike and he was stretchered off the track by the medical team. Sean Dylan Kelly, Kemith Kubo, Manuel Gonzalez and Filip Salac also failed to finish the race.

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
Image Credit: MotoGP

After his flawless win, Ogura now leads the championship by a single point over Fernandez, who will have been disappointed with 5th today. After retiring from the race and scoring no points, Vietti has slipped back even further. He is still third in the standings but is now 26 points behind Fernandez.

Feature Image: 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: Chantra Claims Classy First Win in Indonesia

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.

Image Credit: MotoGP

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.

Image Credit: MotoGP

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.

Image Credit: MotoGP

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.

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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