Leading Moto3 title contender Ai Ogura will follow the path to Moto2 in 2021 after being promoted within the Honda Team Asia fold.
In his second full season of Moto3 competition, Ogura has emerged as a standout performer with a campaign forged on the strength of consistency.
Indeed, though Ogura is yet to top the podium and cannot match Albert Arenas’ three victories so far this year, the Japanese rider’s seven podiums means he remains just eight points off his rival coming into the final round this weekend.
Nonetheless, Ogura’s future has already been assured with a move into Moto2 with the Honda Team Asia development programme team, joining Thai racer Somkat Chantra who retains his seat. Meanwhile, Yuki Kunii stays with the team in Moto3, where he will be joined by Andi Farid Izdihar, who swaps with Ogura inb the quarter-liter class.
“We’re pleased to continue the 2021 season in two World Championship categories,” said team manager and former MotoGP rider Hiroshi Aoyama. “In Moto3, we will have Yuki Kunii and Andi Farid Izdihar. It will be the second season for Yuki, and I think this second year will be possible for him to have chances to fight for the Championship. He can be more competitive because he has the speed and the spirit.
“About Andi, it will not be an entirely new category for him. He grew up riding small bikes in the past, going very fast, for example in the Asia Talent Cup and the FIM CEV. We believe he has good skills to ride in Moto3 and to be competitive as well.
“In Moto2 we will have Somkiat Chantra and Ai Ogura. We would like to see Chantra continuing in this category because this continuity gives him the possibility to show how competitive he can be because he has the speed, and the ability to manage these big bikes. We want to see how he can progress during the season. About Ogura, it’s going to be a new challenge for him, coming from Moto3. It’s going to be challenging for him, but we believe that he has enough speed and talent to compete in Moto2.”
The 2021 Moto2 season is set to see a large influx of riders make the passage from Moto3, including Arenas (Aspar), Tony Arbolino (Intact), Raul Fernandez (Ajo), Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing VR46) and Barry Baltus (NTS).