Ogura Scores Epic Japanese GP Victory at Motegi

jpTwin Ring Motegi

Up-and-coming Japanese hero Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) scored a wonderful home-race Grand Prix victory at sunny Motegi today, after starting from 13th on the grid.

The 21-year-old from Saitama’s third win of the year was a huge delight for the Motegi fans, who cheered Ogura all the way as he worked his way through from the fifth row to take the lead on lap 13 of 22. His victory was also hugely important for the 2022 Moto2 World Championship because it moves him to within just two points of series leader Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex), who chased Ogura for the last half of the race, putting the Japanese youngster under huge pressure.

However, Ogura handled the pressure perfectly, the gap between the two changing by a few tenths lap after lap. At the finish he was 1.192 seconds in front.

And he couldn’t have chosen a better place to score the most crucial victory of his career so far, because this is the first Japanese GP since 2019, so local fans have been starved of live world-class motorcycle-racing action. Not only that, Ogura’s latest success was the first by a Japanese rider at a Japanese GP since his IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia team manager Hiroshi Aoyama won the 250cc race here in 2006!

The first few laps were frantic as pole-position man Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40 Kalex) crashed out of the lead on lap four, which put Ogura’s team-mate Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) into first place. The 23-year-old Thai rider had started from the second row and was in excellent form, leading for three laps before Alonso Lopez (Beta Tools Speed Up Boscoscuro) took over at the front.

By this stage of the race Ogura had fought his way through from fifth at the end of the first lap to also pass Chantra and move into second. Ogura chased Lopez for six laps, biding his time, before engaging in a brief duel with Lopez. On lap 14 he rode his fastest lap to leave Lopez in his wake.

But Ogura never got a moment to relax. Fernandez was also on the charge, coming through from tenth on lap one to move into second and go after his title rival. Fernandez set the fastest lap, Ogura immediately responded by raising the pace, then Fernandez bettered him again. But Ogura was unbreakable – he kept his cool and won the race to receive rapturous applause from the crowd.

Lopez took third, some distance back and just ahead of Jake Dixon (Shimoko GASGAS Aspar Team) who came on strong in the final stages, just half a second behind Lopez at the end.

Chantra settled into a battle for fifth place with Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex), which he comfortably won, boosting his morale for his home Grand Prix at the Chang International Circuit, race 17of 20.

The top ten was completed by Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex), Albert Arenas (Shimoko GASGAS Aspar Team). Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team Kalex) and Filip Salac (Gresini Racing Moto2 Kalex).

Today’s racing at Motegi followed last Sunday’s Aragon Grand Prix and precedes next weekend’s Thai round of the World Championship. MotoGP continues its eastern tour with the Australian and Malaysian GPs, before returning the Europe for the season finale at Valencia, Spain.

Ai Ogura
Ai Ogura 79

IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia

This victory has a lot of meaning, especially for Japanese fans, because since 2006, any Japanese rider hasn’t won at home. It’s fantastic to achieve this result. For sure is the most special of the victories of this season. I want to thank my team and all the people who support me. I knew I needed to push from the beginning because I started in the 13th position. Fortunately, I made a good start. After I kept a good pace, I could manage the race.

Somkiat Chantra
Somkiat Chantra 35

IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia

I’m happy to finish P5 here in Motegi. I started very well initially, leading the race for many laps. But in the second part, I began to struggle with the grip. Then I decide to control my pace to finish safely. The next race is my home race, in Buriram. There I’ll try to do it better.

23 – 25 September 2022
Grand Prix of Japan


Moto2 2022
Round 16
  • Race
  • Qualifying
  • Standings

Dry  /  23°C



 Air temperature 23°C Ground Temp 41°C
Pos. Rider Num. Team Constr. Pts Time/Gap
1 Ai OGURA 79 IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex 25 40’56.269
2 Augusto FERNANDEZ 37 Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex 20 +1.192
3 Alonso LÓPEZ 21 Beta Tools Speed Up Boscoscuro 16 +7.168
4 Jake DIXON 96 Shimoko GASGAS Aspar Team Kalex 13 +7.597
5 Somkiat CHANTRA 35 IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex 11 +12.255
6 Tony ARBOLINO 14 Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex 10 +14.189
7 Pedro ACOSTA 51 Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex 9 +14.520
8 Albert ARENAS 75 Shimoko GASGAS Aspar Team Kalex 8 +18.410
9 Bo BENDSNEYDER 64 Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team Kalex 7 +20.398
10 Filip SALAC 12 Gresini Racing Moto2 Kalex 6 +23.140
11 Cameron BEAUBIER 6 American Racing Kalex 5 +23.604
12 Joe ROBERTS 16 Italtrans Racing Team Kalex 4 +23.733
13 Marcel SCHROTTER 23 Liqui Moly Intact GP Kalex 3 +24.171
14 Barry BALTUS 7 RW Racing GP Kalex 2 +33.795
15 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA 19 Italtrans Racing Team Kalex 1 +35.548
16 Zonta VAN DEN GOORBERGH 84 RW Racing GP Kalex 0 +40.006
17 Taiga HADA 29 Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team Kalex 0 +42.496
18 Keminth KUBO 81 Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team Kalex 0 +46.492
19 Sean Dylan KELLY 4 American Racing Kalex 0 +49.126
20 Marcos RAMIREZ 42 MV Agusta Forward Racing MV Agusta 0 +1’09.754
Jeremy ALCOBA 52 Liqui Moly Intact GP Kalex 0 +1 Lap
Jorge NAVARRO 9 Flexbox HP40 Kalex 0 +2 Laps
Niccolò ANTONELLI 28 Mooney VR46 Racing Team Kalex 0 +7 Laps
Aron CANET 40 Flexbox HP40 Kalex 0 +7 Laps
Celestino VIETTI 13 Mooney VR46 Racing Team Kalex 0 +15 Laps
Simone CORSI 24 MV Agusta Forward Racing MV Agusta 0 +17 Laps
Alessandro ZACCONE 61 Gresini Racing Moto2 Kalex 0 +17 Laps
Fermín ALDEGUER 54 Beta Tools Speed Up Boscoscuro 0 +20 Laps
Manuel GONZALEZ 18 Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team Kalex 0

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