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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Moto3: Garcia Snatches Pole in the Dying Moments of Qualifying in Argentina

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Sergio Garcia will start tomorrow’s Argentinian race from pole position. Ayumu Sasaki was just a tenth behind, claiming second, with Izan Guevara having to settle for third.

After a tumultuous start to the weekend which saw the schedule for the entire weekend reshuffled, Sergio Garcia was able to fend off the field and claim a stunning pole position.

As the checkered flag fell, the entire Q2 grid were on track for a final hot lap. It was Garcia on the GASGAS Aspar bike who came out on top, setting a time of 1:48.429 at the final attempt. Ayumu Sasaki was just 0.171s behind, claiming second place.

A further 0.195s behind him was Izan Guevara, who was the one to set the pace in both practice sessions. He had looked on track to secure pole but was over-riding on the final lap and had to control a twitching bike in the final corners, causing him to lose time at the worst possible moment.

QUALIFYING 1

As the session started, everyone remained in their garages for a good few minutes – it seemed no one wanted to make the first move, despite all facing a lack of track time during the reshuffled weekend.

At the halfway point of the session, only four riders had set a time and it was Mario Aji on the Honda Team Asia bike who sat at the top of the timing sheets. Despite crashing a few times in practice, British rider Scott Ogden kept his composure and was the next to set the fastest lap. He looked like a favourite to make it in to the Q2 session.

Ogden was then replaced by Ryusei Yamanaka, setting a time that was quicker by two tenths. He then improved again, with just over a minute left on the clock, setting a time of 1:49.822. This time wouldn’t be beaten for the rest of the session, despite everyone trying.

As the grid kept fighting for a place in Q2, Joshua Whatley crashed at turn two – it was his first crash of the weekend and, despite being unharmed, he was out for the rest of the session.

Riccardo Rossi set only one hot lap, crossing the line as the flag fell with a time good enough for a place in Q2, going third fastest overall. This pushed Ogden down and out of the top four, as he was forced to settle with fifth – the fastest loser spot.

The session ended with Yamanaka at the top of the timing sheets, with Stefano Nepa second, Rossi third and Joel Kelso fourth – all progressed to Q2.

Image Credit: MotoGP
QUALIFYING 2

Much like Q1, the gird took their time coming out on to the track, seeming to opt for a one-lap strategy.

Kaito Toba set the first fastest lap of the session but was soon bumped down by Kelso who set the fastest Moto3 lap of the weekend so far. It seemed he made good use of the extra track time he enjoyed during Q1.

It wasn’t until there were less than three minutes left on the clock that all riders came out on to the track, giving them time for just one flying lap. They were led out of the pitlane by Deniz Oncu who put himself in a position to avoid any mess or drama, but also forced himself to miss out on a slipstream. As a result, he ended the session in 16th.

As every rider fought it out for the honours of pole position, it was Garcia who came out on top, setting an impressive time of 1:48.429. This is only his second pole position as he enters his fourth year in Moto3.

Sasaki took the second fastest time of the day, just 0.171s behind Garcia. They are joined on the front row by Guevara was looked set for pole but struggled on his final lap.

Q1 pace-setter, Rossi, will start the race from a well-earned fourth with early Q2 pace-setter, Kelso, will start the race from an equally-impressive fifth.

Daniel Holgado had an uneventful session on his way to securing sixth. Behind him is Xavier Artigas in seven and Andrea Migno in ninth. The top ten is rounded out by Tatsuki Suzuki and Diogo Moreira.

Dennis Foggia has a very disappointing session, only able to claim 11th. Jaume Masia will also be disappointed with 12th.

The action kicks off at 4pm 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 PitCrew Online

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Moto3: Dominant Foggia Wins in Indonesia

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Dennis Foggia took a dominant win at the Indonesian GP, putting him at the top of the championship standings after two races. Izan Guevara took second with Carlos Tatay in third after Andrea Migno crashed on the final lap.

Having taken the lead on the third lap of the race, Dennis Foggia on the Leopard Racing machine enjoyed a very dominant race as he quickly put clean air between himself and the rest of the field. After taking the race win in Indonesia he has also now put himself at the top of the Moto3 championship standings.

He was joined on the podium by Gaviota GASGAS rider, Izan Guevara, in second and CFMoto rider, Carlos Tatay, in third. Tatay also enjoyed a positive day as he recovered from a long lap penalty, incurred for taking a shortcut at turn nine. Our winner in Qatar, Andrea Migno was on track for a podium finish before crashing on the final lap of the race.

Image Credit: MotoGP

Before the race started, Diogo Moreira suffered a mechanical issue that forced him to give up second place on the grid and, instead, start at the back of the field. His day went from bad to worse as he then retired on lap eight.

As the race started, Sergio Garcia and his Gaviota GASGAS bike flew from seventh place on the grid to take an early lead. He took Foggia and Migno with him, as they also enjoyed strong race starts. Soon, Garcia had the lead stolen from him by Foggia on lap three.

Foggia was now leading Migno, Garcia and Guevara, as the four broke away from the rest of the pack. By lap seven, Foggia had put a gap of 1.5s between himself and Migno in second – this then increased to a 3.2s gap by lap nine and a 5.1s gap by lap ten. This consistent increase in pace was unsurprising after the times Foggia had posted in the warm-up session.

In the latter stages of the races, Foggia had flown off in to the distance and left a large group of riders all battling hard for a second-place finish. This group included Guevara who was 0.9s ahead in second, followed by Migno, Deniz Oncu, Jaume Masia, Daniel Holgado, Ayumu Sasaki and, as he eventually found his rhythm and caught up to the pack, Garcia.

Image Credit: MotoGP

However, disaster struck as Sasaki hit Migno in to turn 10 on the final lap of the race. The pair were both down and out, whilst Tatay also struggled with last lap nerves. As a result of Tatay going wide at turn 10, and Sasaki and Migno’s crash, Garcia was temporarily gifted the final podium position. That was until the penultimate corner when Tatay struck back to reclaim third.

Next to cross the line was Oncu followed by Xavier Artigas and Masia. The top ten was completed by Elia Bartolini, Holgado and Tatsuki Suzuki, all within a few tenths of each other.

Home hero Mario Aji on the Honda Team Asia bike eventually came home in 14th and was cheered through every corner.

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.

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Posted on 19th March, 2022 for The PitCrew Online

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Moto3: Tatay secures maiden pole ahead of Indonesian GP

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Ahead of tomorrow’s race, qualifying was topped by Carlos Tatay as he clinched his maiden pole. Lining up alongside him on the front row will be Diogo Moreira and Mario Aji.

As MotoGP returns to Indonesia for the first time in 25 years, qualifying saw the uprising of the rookies with two securing a front row start for tomorrow. One of these rookies is Indonesian rider, and home hero, Mario Aji.

However the honours of the day when to Carlos Tatay, who has secured his maiden pole position in his fourth year in Moto3. It is also the first pole position for the new CFMoto Racing team. The Spanish rider set a time of 1:41.232s with six minutes left of Q2.

Just 0.083s behind Tatay was the top rookie of the day, Diogo Moreira. The Brazilian also took the top rookie award when the chequered flag fell in Qatar last weekend, finishing the race in sixth.

Rounding out the front row for the start of tomorrow’s race will be Indonesian rider and home hero, Aji. The Honda Team Asia rider came through from Q1 to set the early pace in Q2.

Mario Aji; Image Credit: MotoGP

Xavier Artigas is in fourth thanks to excellent teamwork with Tatay. Andrea Migno, who set the fastest times in FP2 and FP3, will start the race in fifth. Having won the race in Qatar, he will be looking for a similar result this weekend.

The top six riders were covered by less than half a second, with Dennis Foggia just 0.442s off the polesitter. He claimed sixth despite crashing at turn two.

Sergio Garcia also took a tumble, crashing in Q1. However, he managed to make it in to Q2 and secured seventh place. This comes a week after his podium finish in Qatar.

Garcia’s teammate took eighth with Deniz Oncu and Ayumu Sasaki rounding out the top ten.

John McPhee isn’t in action this weekend after fracturing two vertebrae in a training accident.

Moto3’s race will commence at 12pm (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: 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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