MotoGP Austria: Late podium joy for Dixon as Ogura dominates in Moto2

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Idemitsu Honda Team Asia’s Ai Ogura claimed a dramatic Moto2 victory over teammate Somkiat Chantra at the Red Bull Ring on Sunday.

The race-long leader looked to be assured the win before Chantra took his chance on the final lap, much to the surprise and concern of his Honda team, Ogura hitting back to secure the spoils and strengthen his championship challenge as the second Japanese winner of the day. Zinia GasGas Aspar’s Jake Dixon proved his own mettle with a late-race resurgence, securing his third successive podium with a last corner move for third.

Ogura headed the intermediate class grid as Moto2 prepared to do battle around the Spielberg Circuit. CAG Speed Up’s Alonso Lopez and Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Augusto Fernandez sat alongside on the front row with Dixon threatening from fourth.

As the lights released the action, Ogura claimed the holeshot with Fernandez through to second at turn one before Lopez struck back at the new chicane. Dixon into podium contention as the opening lap concluded before sChantra denied the Brit as lap two fired up.

Strong starts for Celestino Vietti and Aron Canet found the pair running sixth and seventh as Fernandez dropped back to eighth. The second KTM of Pedro Acosta through on the trio for fifth as Alessandro Zaccone crashed out heavily on the Gresini machine.

Lopez took charge for his third race in succession on lap three with teammates Ogura and Chantra behind. Dixon maintaining his grip on the podium sitters with Acosta over half a second adrift for fifth in his first race back from injury.

Ogura returned to the lead next time around after a mistake from Lopez at turn four. IntactGP’s Marcel Schrotter and the second Speed up of Fermin Aldeguer completing the top ten from Marc VDS’ Tony Arbolino, Aspar’s Albert Arenas and American Racing’s Cameron Beaubier.

Acosta and Vietti battled for fifth with six laps dispatched as Lopez dropped to third after contact with the Honda ahead. Sean Dylan Kelly crashing out at turn four one lap later as his wildcard teammate Rory Skinner circulated in 26th. Issues on track dropping Dixon to eighth from fourth as Vietti capitalised on the edge of the podium.

The VR46 man was on the wheels of Lopez as lap ten began, the two inches apart as the Italian tried to find a way through before succeeding at turn four after the Spaniard ran wide.

Tun nine claimed Gresini’s Filip Salac as Aldeguer also crashed out, this time at the chicane with 14 laps to go. Vietti picking up the pace as he looked to bridge the gap to the leaders ahead while Acosta, Canet, Fernandez and Dixon all bettered Lopez in the fight for fourth.

Vietti reeled in Chantra as Ogura pushed the pace out front. Canet and Fernandez battling for fifth before Dixon joined the fight and demoted the championship leader to seventh.

From over a second adrift to one tenth in arrears, Vietti had Chantra in his sights with nine laps to go. The progress coming to a dramatic conclusion as the Italian crashed out at turn three with Acosta promoted to a very distant podium, almost six seconds behind.

Arbolino was the next rider out of luck as the Elf Kalex hit the deck at the same corner next time around. Lorenzo Dalla Porta checking up on the Italtrans machine ahead leaving Arbolino nowhere to go with both bikes laying stricken in the middle of the track.

Ogura and Chantra circulated just two-tenths apart as the race counted down, a massive seven seconds ahead of Acosta leading Canet, Dixon and a rejuvenated Fernandez in the battle for third.

Dixon was up to fourth as Canet began to drop back, Fernandez the next to claim the Flexbox rider with two laps to go and just two-tenths separating the Aspar man from the final podium position.

Despite team orders in play, Chantra took a shot at his teammate before Ogura hit back for a dramatic victory and double Honda Team Asia celebrations. Dixon claiming his third podium in a row with a successful final corner move on the KTM rookie as teammates Acosta and Fernandez came home in fourth and fifth.

Canet headed Lopez, Schrotter, Arenas and Jeremy Alcoba in the top ten with Jorge Navarro, Barry Baltus, Beaubier, fellow American Joe Roberts and Bo Bendsneyder collected the final points. Replacement rider Senna Aguis meeting the flag for his first world championship race in 17th with Skinner completing his wildcard appearances in 21st.

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