Races of two halves for the Junior Talent Team in Barcelona

10 June 2018

Ogura leads the charge in Race 1, before Kunii takes the top finish in Race 2

Ai Ogura who took the team’s best finish of the day in Round 4 of the FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Junior World Championship as he finished seventh in Race 1, before heartbreak for the Japanese rider in Race 2 as he crashed out of podium contention late on.

Ogura made great starts in both races, gaining places up from a more difficult qualifying and making even more progress as the laps ticked down, getting himself well up into podium contention. In the first race the Japanese rider put up good fight until just losing touch with that battle for the rostrum, taking P7. In the second, much shortened race, Ogura sadly crashed out when fighting for the same.

Somkiat Chantra, who was the highest qualifier for the JTT on Row 3, took a solid P12 in Race 1 to score good points – just not able to stay with the front group. In Race 2, the Thai former Asia Talent Cup Champion took more points in the six-lap sprint as he finished 14th. With Ogura out of that late on, it was Yuki Kunii who took up the baton of first JTT finisher.

Kunii, fresh from his Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup win at Mugello, suffered a DNF in Race 1, but bounced back in style in the second outing of the day. The Japanese rider got back in the top ten after a difficult qualifying, gaining a lot of ground despite the shortened race distance and taking P9.

Gerry Salim, meanwhile, took P25 in Race 1 but was well in the fight for P22 in the more than 40-rider field. The Indonesian then improved in the afternoon in the six-lap sprint, taking P21 but a tantalising half-a-second off a points scoring finish in a big group of riders – a group led by teammate Chantra.

“The races were a bit difficult and it wasn’t so easy for the riders,” says Alberto Puig, “and unfortunately with two corners to go…Ogura was trying, but we’re happy with his performance and he showed character. It’s not the best result but we’re not upset from a racing point of view. For the rest of the guys, they were a bit further back but it was a difficult race for everyone.”

That’s it from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with the next round now seeing the paddock move to MotorLand Aragon at the end of July from the 28th to 29th.

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