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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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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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.

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP


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: 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.”

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP


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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