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.
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
Posted on 21st August, 2022 for The PitCrew Online
Ai Ogura has taken pole ahead of tomorrow’s race at the Red Bull Ring. He will be joined on the front row by Alonso Lopez and Augusto Fernandez.
Japanese rider, Ai Ogura, will start tomorrow’s Austrian GP from pole position after setting a stunning qualifying lap time of 1:33.933. Just 0.048 seconds behind him was Alonso Lopez taking 2nd place. Championship leader, Augusto Fernandez, will line up 3rd for tomorrow’s race.
The top five were covered by less than 0.2 seconds with Jake Dixon in 4th and Somkiat Chantra in 5th.
After being declared fit to race on Thursday, the returning Pedro Acosta made it to Q2 and took an impressive 6th for tomorrow’s race. Just behind him was Celestino Vietti who will be looking to make significant improvements after his recent poor performance.
Marcel Schrotter was forced to make his way through Q2 but eventually took 8th ahead of Albert Arenas and Lorenzo Dalla Porta who took 9th and 10th respectively.
After topping the time sheets in Q1, Cameron Beaubier took 11th in Q2. Fermin Aldeguer was also a Q1 progressor and, despite sitting at the top of the timing sheets in the early stages, took 12th as the session ended.
Aron Canet struggled during the session. With 3 minutes left on the clock and provisionally sitting in 11th, he crashed out of the session and was eventually shuffled back to 17th.
Tony Arbolino, who starts his 100th race this weekend, will line up in a slightly disappointing 15th. He lines up just ahead of the final Q1 progressor, Bo Bendsneyder in 16th.
Jeremy Alcoba and Joe Roberts were achingly close to a place in Q2 thanks to their final flying laps in Q1. However, they are forced to line up 19th and 20th respectively for tomorrow’s race.
All the race action will be available on Crew On Two so stay tuned for all the details!
Feature Image: MotoGP
Posted on 20th August, 2022 for The PitCrew Online
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.
Having previously never started a Moto2 race from the front row, rookie Pedro Acosta will have the honours of leading the field off the line for tomorrow’s race as he clinched his maiden pole. He will be joined on the front row by Jake Dion and Augusto Fernandez, as Sam Lowes and Ai Ogura both crash out.
Before the 2022 Moto2 season had begun, many had their sights set on rookie rider Pedro Acosta and predicted he would be a title contender. However as the season kicked off Acosta was nowhere to be seen, unable to qualify higher than 10th or finish a race higher than seventh.
With the sun shining down on the Le Mans circuit, it seemed that today would be Acosta’s day. He hit the top of the timing sheets with over three minutes remaining in Q2, with a time of 1:35.803 that no one was able to challenge.
Joining him on the front row will be Jake Dixon, who was able to put together a brilliant lap despite seeming to struggle to find his flow all weekend, and Augusto Fernandez.
Lining up in sixth for tomorrow’s race will be new boy, Alonso Lopez, who is replacing Romano Fenati. On his first step up from Moto3, he laid down an impressive performance to secure a second row start for tomorrow.
It was a much trickier day for Sam Lowes and the two Honda Team Asia riders, Ai Ogura and Somkiat Chantra, as all three riders crashed during Q2. However, thanks to some early banker laps, they will start tomorrow’s race from fourth, eighth and 11th respectively.
Our championship leader, Celestino Vietti, has struggled for pace all weekend, forcing him to join the Q1 group. These woes continued throughout the session as he failed to sit within the top three even once in the session. He was unable to progress to Q2 and will start tomorrow’s race from the lowly 19th spot on the grid.
As everyone completed their first flying laps of the session, it was Manuel Gonzalez who jumped to the top of the timing sheets first. He set an initial benchmark of 1:36.645. Behind him was Lorenzo Dalla Porta in second, Jorge Navarro third and Vietti in fourth – all had provisionally booked a place in to Q2.
With eight minutes left on the clock, Alessandro Zaccone crashed at Turn 8, bringing out yellow flags in Sector 3. Less than a minute later, Sean Dylan Kelly crashed at Turn 14 to bring out yet more yellow flags, this time in at Sector 4. The biggest looser from they yellow flags seemed to be Joe Roberts who was just appeared to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
With just less than five minutes of the session remaining, Niccolo Antonelli became the next victim of the tricky Le Mans circuit, as he crashed at Turn 8. Lucky he was unscathed as he returned to action following surgery for arm pump earlier in the week.
At this point in the session, Dalla Porta was at the top of the timing sheet with Fermin Aldeguer, Bo Bendsneyder and Navarro just behind him. There was just 0.04s covering there top four riders and everything was still to play form.
Sitting just outside the top four was Vietti who returned to tack for some final flying laps with four minutes left in the session. He had just enough time to complete three flying laps and, whilst each was an improvement on the last, he still wasn’t able to break in to that elusive leading group. Whilst his lap times were fastest that most in sectors one and two, he was loosing out considerably in sectors three and four.
The checkered flag fell and with no one able to improve on their lap times or challenge the top four, it was Dalla Porta, Aldeguer, Bendsneyder and Navarro who progressed to Q2.
The first flying lap of Q2 was set by Lowes on the Elf Marc VDS machine. He then improved on his early banker lap with a 1:36.071. In hindsight, this lap would prove vital as with nine minutes left on the clock, he suffered a horrible highside at Turn 8. The rear of the bike stepped out as he exited the corner, causing a highside which threw him down on to his shoulder before the bike hit him in the back.
Just moments before this incident, Ogura also crashed at Turn 8 – in an uncharacteristic move, the bike slid from underneath him as he touched the throttle to exit the corner. This combination of incidents resulted in yellow flags waving across both Sector 2 and 3.
As the session continued, and with just seven minute remaining, a number of riders seemed to pick up the pace – this included Acosta and Dixon who were setting flying sector times. As Acosta jumped up to third, the provisional grid was lead by Lowes, Albert Arenas and Acosta. Lopez, on his first Moto2 outing, was in provisional fourth ahead of Ogura in fifth.
With three minutes to go, Fernandez leapt to the top of the timings, only to have provisional pole snatches away moment later, as Acosta crossed the line. The next bike across the line was Dixon, who split the leading pair to take second. Lowes had now been shuffled off the front row and had no way to fight back as he sat in the garage.
As the checkered flag fell, no one looked to be able to improve on their times or challenge the leading pair. The final nail in the coffin came when Chantra suffered a fast front end crash at Turn 10 bringing out the yellow flag at sectors 3 and 4 and halting anyone from challenging Acosta.
Further down the grid, Aron Canet took seventh after a quiet and difficult weekend. Bo Bendsneyder was the best Q1 progressor in ninth, just ahead of Tony Arbolino in tenth.
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.
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.
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.
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.