2 days ago
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Idemitsu Honda Team Asia’s Ai Ogura has established himself as the man to beat in Moto2™ qualifying at the OR Thailand Grand Prix after topping FP3 by three tenths of a second. The Japanese rider, who closed to two points off the top of the World Championship with his victory at home six days ago, set a 1:35.556 on Saturday morning at the Chang International Circuit, with Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) taking second and Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) third. Championship leader Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) is also into Q2, in 10th position.
It was dry running in the last session before qualifying for the intermediate class, and Ogura made the most of it when he moved the weekend’s benchmark lap time to a 1:35.810 on just his second flyer. As it turned out, that would have been enough to be quickest in FP3, but the Honda Team Asia pilot further improved to a 1:35.556 next time around and was, for much of the session, more than seventh tenths of a second better than the rest. Teammate Somkiat Chantra, who has the honour of riding on home soil this time around, went second-quickest with a 1:36.125 in the final time attacks before he was pipped by Acosta’s 1:35.887 and then Arbolino’s 1:36.072.
Fourth then, for the Thai pilot Chantra, ahead of Alonso Lopez (Beta Tools Speed Up), Cameron Beaubier (American Racing), Filip Salac (Gresini Racing Moto2™), Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team), and Jeremy Alcoba (Liqui Moly Intact GP). The rider on top of the points table, Fernandez, rounded out the top 10 on a 1:36.326, while Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40) lifted himself above the Q2 cut-off with a 1:36.384 which left him 11th. Also locked into Q2 already are Albert Arenas (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team), Jorge Navarro (Flexbox HP40), and Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team).
Gonzalez snuck into the top 14 with a 1:36.652 which moved him up one position with the chequered flag out, forcing Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Italtrans Racing Team) into Q1. Joining Dalla Porta there will be Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), who was setting a lot of personal best sectors in the final minutes of FP3 but could not go any quicker than the 1:36.718 which saw him classified 16th. Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) is also going into Q1 after a crash at Turn 1 in the last 10 minutes of the final Free Practice session – rider okay.
Tune in for the fight for pole when Q1 gets underway later on Saturday at 13:30 (GMT +7)!
Moto2™ Combined Top 10
1. Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) – 1:35.556
2. Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.331
3. Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.516
4. Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) + 0.569
5. Alonso Lopez (Beta Tools Speed Up) + 0.615
6. Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) + 0.616
7. Filip Salac (Gresini Racing Moto2) + 0.721
8. Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) + 0.724
9. Jeremy Alcoba (Liqui Moly Intact GP) + 0.759
10. Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.770
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