Ai Ogura – GP Inside

Ten days, ten riders: During the summer holidays of 2022, GP-Inside makes you discover ten riders who could make the good days of MotoGP in the coming years. The Japanese Ai Ogura is in the spotlight today. Currently third in the Moto2 championship, the Nippon is already on the shelves of Honda to reach MotoGP.

Organic Express:
Name: Ai Ogura
Date of birth: 26/01/2001 (21 years old)
Category: Moto2
Team: Idemitsu Honda Team Asia
Number: 79

Races: 65 (37 in Moto3, 28 in Moto2)
Victories: 1 (1 in Moto2)
Podium: 14 (8 in Moto3, 6 in Moto2)
Pulse: 2 (1 in Moto3, 1 in Moto2)
Best laps: 3 (2nd in Moto3, 1st in Moto2)
Best overall ranking:
– Moto3: 3r (2020)
– Moto2: 8th (2021)

Previous course:
In 2015, young Ai Ogura made his debut in the Asia Talent Cup where he pocketed his first victories. Vice-champion of the category with three successes in 2016, the Japanese then entered the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. 2017 is an important year in his career. In addition to the Rookie Championship, the Tokyo native sees the doors of the CEV Moto3 open. Two years later, Ai Ogura made the leap to the full-time Moto3 World Championship.

In fact, the rider had four wildcards last season with the Asian Talent Team. From its first Grand Prix in Spain, it was distinguished to reach the point of fifteenth position. Within the Honda Team Asia, Ai Ogura is living a first learning season, marked by several top-10 and especially a first podium in Aragon, where he finished second. In 2020, it confirms the hopes placed in him. He ranks third in the championship with seven podiums, but never managed to win a race.

Enough performance for the Idemitsu Honda Team Asia to decide to take it to the next level, Moto2. Once again, Ai Ogura has had good results during her debut year, with a podium in Austria (second). A year to make dens before being fully efficient in 2022?

Current season: 3rd in the championship (145 points)
Ai Ogura will have to wait for his fifth year at the World Cup to finally know the taste of victory. In Jerez, the Japanese first got his first pole in Moto2 before winning the race with great skill. Aside from his retirement in Portugal, the Idemitsu Honda Team Asia rider has never been out of the top-10 so far. When he finishes the races, his worst result is an eighth place acquired in Germany, that is, the level of confidence of the third in the Moto3 2020 championship.

Although he only won one race, his other four podiums (2nd in Austin and Assen, 3rd in Argentina and Mugello) allow him to position himself very well in the title fight. Relegated to just one point from the two leaders, Celestino Vietti and Augusto Fernandez, Ai Ogura has every chance of winning the Grail at the end of the year. With his extreme regularity, the Japanese will force his opponents to stop making mistakes, if they want to advance to the championship.

Why can you claim MotoGP?
Ai Ogura is one of the great players of the Moto2 2022 World Championship. Being a candidate for the title, he is automatically a rider who could evolve quickly in the queen category. First of all, the resident of the Idemitsu Honda Team Asia has a very precise driving, with a good burst of speed and above all a rare consistency in a category as high as that of the MotoGP anteroom.

With the support of Honda from an early age, the Japanese has a very good relationship with the Japanese brand, so much so that the LCR team thinks of him as a future replacement for Takaaki Nakagami. The latter is not yet confirmed for 2023, Ai Ogura could already make the change, but the main stakeholder admits ” you are not ready yet It is probably just a postponement.

MotoGP hopefuls (1/10): Celestino Vietti

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