Japanese rider tantalisingly close to the podium at MotorLand
After a second row start for the Junior Talent Team’s Ai Ogura, the Japanese rider was again a frontrunner on Sunday in Round 5 of the FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Junior World Championship – ending the single race for the class just off the podium by a tiny 0.001 margin. It was nevertheless another top finish for Ogura, who goes into the summer break up into seventh in the title fight as he continues showing off some impressive pace.
After the fight to the line, he’s still marginally behind compatriot Yuki Kunii, however. Kunii, who was coming back from injury, also made a great comeback in the race after a tougher qualifying and subsequent grid penalty. The Japanese rider sliced back through the field to 11th and took a valuable five points to keep him on 60 and equal with Aleix Viu, although Viu holds fifth overall.
Indonesian rider Gerry Salim also took a great finish and his best yet – 16th. Just outside the points but well inside the top twenty at a challenging track such as MotorLand was a top result for the rookie.
Somkiat Chantra, meanwhile, was another who, like Kunii, was demoted by a grid penalty and facing a fight back. The Thai rider made some serious progress, too, until unfortunately crashing out and proving unable to finish. The former Asia Talent Cup Champion will be aiming to bounce back at Jerez after the break.
Tom Booth-Amos had a tough return from injury. After a good start and moving up a few positions from his grid position, the British rider was then involved in an incident at Turn 5 and dropped back – making it to the flag nevertheless, but outside the top twenty. After also suffering illness throughout the weekend, the result is a box to be ticked before the Brit now focuses on a Moto3™ wildcard at the British GP and gets ready to return to the FIM CEV Repsol after the summer break.
So that’s the first half of the season done and bikes will be back on track next at the Circuito de Jerez – n when the FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Junior World Championship reconvenes in September.