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

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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


Posted on 3rd April, 2022 for The PitCrew Online

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Moto2: Amazing Aldeguer Becomes Youngest Moto2 Polesitter

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Rookie Fermin Aldeguer has become the youngest polesitter in Moto2 history, setting a 1:43.306 ahead of tomorrow’s race. Augusto Fernandez lines up in second, ahead of Tony Arbolino.

With the rules changing next year, Moto2 riders will all be 17 years of age or older. That is what makes today’s broken record so significant – it won’t be broken. Fermin Aldeguer will retain the honours of the youngest Moto2 pole-sitter for many years to come.

Even more impressive than his age is Aldeguer’s lack of experience – having skipped Moto3 and coming straight in to Moto2, Aldeguer had to spend the practice sessions learning the track which he did was remarkable ease. He topped both practice sessions before going on to secure a truly awe-inspiring pole position.

Augusto Fernandez was merely 0.15s behind, taking second place for tomorrow’s race. Tony Arbolino set some blistering sector times in Q2 but was forced to settle for third for tomorrow’s race.

QUALIFYING 1

Zonta Van Den Goorbergh set the early pace as the session began, whilst Gabriel Rodrigo was over-riding and fighting with his bike. As it stood, Rodrigo was in fifth and missing out on a place in Q2.

Cameron Beaubier then snatched the top spot on the timing sheets, laying down a time of 1:44.132. As the session progressed, this time would prove unbeatable and he eased in to Q2.

Manuel Gonzalez slotted in to second shortly after, sitting just 0.024s behind Beaubier. As the session progressed, he wouldn’t be able to improve of this time and finished as second quickest.

As the checkered flag fell, most riders were able to improve their lap times. One exception was Marcel Schrotter who, before today, held the Moto2 lap record at this circuit. He snatched fourth place by the barest of margins, pushing Lorenzo Dalla Porta down to fifth and out of the Q2 progression places.

The session ended with Beaubier at the top of the timings, followed by Gonzalez, Van Den Goorbergh and Schrotter, who all progress to Q2.

QUALIFYING 2

Thanks to a lack of track time faced by all riders, after the weekend’s schedule was reshuffled, the session was busy early on. Sam Lowes was the first out on track on the ELF Marc VDS machine.

The first flying lap of the session was set by Bo Bendsneyder. Shortly after, Somkiat Chantra slotted in to second despite a heart-in-mouth moment as he almost lost the bike in the final corners. Chantra faced a nasty crash in practice and was lucky to not be injured. However, his confidence seems to be unshaken as he fought hard in Q2.

With eight minutes left on the clock, our championship leader, Celestino Vietti shot up to the top of the timing sheets, only to be shuffled down shortly after by Augusto Fernandez. Less than a minute later, there was another change at the top with Fermin Aldeguer taking the top spot. Further down the order, positions were changing every time someone crossed the line – everyone around the grid was improving their times as the session progressed.

With five minutes to go in the session, Aldeguer was still fastest but was fighting with a bike that was drifting and shaking beneath him. He failed to improve on this lap as the session drew to a close.

He wasn’t the only one to fail to improve on his time. Despite the excitement in the middle of the session with people jumping around the timing sheets, in the final seconds of the session no one was able to make significant improvements.

So as the checkered flag fell, it was Aldeguer who took the honours of pole position, with Fernandez and Arbolino rounding out the front row.

The second row of the grid sees the two GASGAS Aspar riders, with Albert Arenas taking fourth place ahead of Jake Dixon in fifth. They are joined by Vietti who ended the day in sixth.

The top ten are rounded out by Chantra, Ai Ogura, early pace-setter Bendsneyder and Q1-progressor Gonzalez.

Lowes seemed to be lacking pace this weekend and was forced to settle for 11th. Pedro Acosta also struggled this weekend and, after his final lap time was deleted, he had to settle for 17th.

The action kicks off at 5.20pm tomorrow, local time, and Crew On Two will have all the latest updates for you.

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP


Posted on 2nd April, 2022 for The Checkered Flag

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Moto2: Chantra Claims Classy First Win in Indonesia

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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.

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP


Posted on 20th March, 2022 for The PitCrew Online

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Moto2: Dixon takes magnificent maiden pole at the Indonesian GP

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Jake Dixon and his Inde GASGAS Aspar bike are on pole for tomorrow’s race, joined on the front row by Augusto Fernandez on the Red Bull KTM Ajo bike. and Sam Lowes on the Elf Marc VDS machine.

MotoGP is back in Indonesia for the first time in over two decades and it is Jake Dixon who will start the Moto2 race from pole. Dixon and fellow Brit Sam Lowes, who continued to swap their positions at the top of the timing sheets, led much of the qualifying session. However, it was Dixon who eventually came out on top. His maiden pole position, secured with a time of 1m 35.799s, comes in his fifth Moto2 season.

In second place was Augusto Fernandez on the Red Bull KTM Ajo machine. He seemed to really find his feet towards the later stages for qualifying and ended up just 0.102s behind the polesitter.

After his battle with Dixon, Lowes eventually took the third fastest time of the day, dropping back behind his old teammate, Fernandez. Despite still being plagues with tendonitis, Lowes was on good form and will be looking to build on the podium he secured in the first race of the season.

Image Credit: MotoGP

Despite being first out on track and setting the early benchmark, Somkiat Chantra was eventually shuffled back to fourth. He is back in action this weekend, returning from a broken bone he sustained in Qatar qualifying last time out.

Bo Bendsneyder and Albert Arenas took fifth and sixth respectively, despite the latter rider suffering a crash at turn two.

He wasn’t the only rider to fall during Q2. Cameron Beaubier and Jorge Navarro both had separate incidents at turn 2 on their way to securing 11th and 17th respectively.

Our race one winner, Celestino Vietti will undoubtedly be disappointed to only secure seventh ahead of tomorrow’s race. Alongside him will be Tony Arbolino, Simone Corsi and Pedro Acosta who round out the top ten. Despite being the highest ranking rookie during qualifying, Acosta has already been handed a long lap penalty for the race after a yellow flag violation during FP2.

Moto2’s race will commence at 1.20pm (GMT+8) and you can stay up to date with all the action here at Crew On Two.

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP


Posted on 19th March, 2022 for The PitCrew Online

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Moto2: Reactions to the Qatar GP

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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.

Image Credit: MotoGP

“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.

Image Credit: MotoGP

“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.

Image Credit: MotoGP

“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.

Image Credit: MotoGP

“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.

Image Credit: MotoGP

“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.”

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Posted on 12th March, 2022 for The PitCrew Online

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Moto2: Vietti wins first race of 2022 in Qatar

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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


Posted on 6th March, 2022 for The PitCrew Online

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Moto2: Vietti claims pole for Qatar GP

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In the first qualifying session of 2022, it was Celestino Vietti who claimed his maiden pole position thanks to a track limits violation by Sam Lowes.

Celestino Vietti, on the Mooney VR46 Racing Team machine, will start the first race of the 2022 season from pole position. He set a time of 1:59.082 late in the session to claim his maiden pole. Both the Elf Marc VDS riders, Tony Arbolino and Sam Lowes, will line up behind him as they start the race in second and third respectively. The top three were covered by less than 0.15s.

Lowes will be disappointed with third after he set a time worthy of pole position, only to have it deleted shortly after due to a violation of track limits. However, after missing most of the official pre-season test due to tendonitis, the team will be pleased to see him back at the front of the grid. After winning twice in Qatar in 2021, most will be watching him closely on Sunday.

Filip Salac also enjoyed an impressive qualifying, securing a fourth place start for his maiden Moto2 race. This saw the Gresini rider taking the crown of top rookie during the session. Ai Ogura will start the race in fifth with Augusto Fernandez, who set the fastest time in both Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 2, starting in sixth.

Much like Lowes, Jake Dixon also suffered with lap time deletions. He set a time that would have been good enough for a second row start however, thanks to a yellow flag infringement, he will line up in seventh for the race.

The top ten for tomorrow’s starting grid will be completed by Fermin Aldeguer and Aron Canet in eighth and ninth respectively. They are followed by Pedro Acosta, in tenth, who crashed at the final corner to end his first Moto2 qualifying session earlier than he would have liked.

Somkiat Chantra, who had been top of the timings sheet during a private pre-season test, also crashed during the session. He was taken to the medical centre for checks but is expected to be able to race tomorrow. He will line up in 18th.

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP


Posted on 5th March, 2022 for The PitCrew Online

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