Idemitsu Honda Team Asia’s Ai Ogura claimed his second Moto2 pole position of 2022 at the Red Bull Ring on Saturday.
Defending from a confident CAG Speed Up’s Alonso Lopez, the championship challenger set a 1’33.933 to take the session by half a tenth with title rival Augusto Fernandez completing the front row at the Red Bull KTM Ajo’s home track. Zinia GasGas Aspar’s Jake Dixon denied the Parc Fermé celebrations by a mere 0.003s.
A trio of Americans faced Q1 as the intermediate class took to the track for qualifying. Italtrans’ Joe Roberts joining Cameron Beaubier and Sean Dylan Kelly in the fight for the top four alongside the third American Racing rider for the Austrian weekend, Rory Skinner, in the Scotsman’s second wildcard showing.
Beaubier set the initial pace from Pertamina SAG’s Bo Bendsneyder before Liqui Moly Intact GP’s Marcel Schrotter took over in second. Speed Up’s Fermin Aldeguer securing the final promotion place ahead of the struggling Roberts with Intact’s Jeremy Alcoba demoting the American further as the session concluded.
The final qualifying action of the weekend saw Schrotter battling Lopez for provisional pole as the action began. Aldeguer taking over on the second Boscoscuro with Aspar’s Albert Arenas and Jake Dixon sitting second and third before Lopez returned to the top with a 1’33.981.
Ogura was the next to shine on his way to second. Championship rival Fernandez joining him in the top three with Dixon, Schrotter and Beaubier circulating fourth to sixth before the Brit struck for third at the halfway stage.
A crash for Beaubier prevented further progress for the 29-year-old as the final four minutes fired up with Aron Canet losing the Flexbox at turn one a minute later. Somkiat Chantra matching his teammate for pace as he claimed second by 0.08s to drop Dixon off the front row.
The front-runners continued to fight as the clock counted down with Dixon briefly up to second before Ogura knocked him back to third. 0.001s splitting the Aspar rider from Chantra behind with Arenas completing the pattern in fifth.
Ogura bettered again, this time for pole as the flag prepared, 1’33.933 the final target with no further challenges registering on the timing screens. Fernandez denied Dixon a front row start in the final seconds as KTM teammate Pedro Acosta struck for sixth to complete row two with Mooney VR46’s Celestino Vietti demoted to seventh at the close with Schrotter and Arenas for company.