2022 Austin Moto2 Race Result: The Storm Before The Calm

A cooler and windier COTA greeted intermediate class riders on Sunday morning, complicating tyre choice on the grid and contributing to a chaotic first half of the race. Once the rodeo ride settled, Tony Arbolino rode flawlessly to his first Moto2 victory, taking the chequered flag over three seconds ahead of Ai Ogura, who secured back-to-back podiums. An emotional Jake Dixon joined them on the podium for the very first time in his intermediate class career, leading to some particularly enthusiastic gulps of cava.

All eyes were on home favourite Cameron Beaubier and his beautiful special livery as he made a solid start from pole position, but the wide approach to turn one allowed Celestino Vietti to dive in and pick up the lead. Arbolino and Aron Canet promptly followed suit to demote the poleman to fourth, while Pedro Acosta made some early moves from fourth row to climb up to fifth place and defend that position from Dixon over the opening lap. Meanwhile, Marcel Schrotter was wreaking havoc at turn one, clattering into Albert Arenas and Fermín Aldeguer, pushing both riders outside of the top 20. To make matters worse for the rookie star, disaster struck again at turn 12 and two separate incidents led to Sam Lowes, Somkiat Chantra, Gabriel Rodrigo, Zonta Van Den Goorbergh and Aldeguer dropping like bowling bins.

Back at the front, Vietti tried to extend a gap early on, but the world championship leader soon became the hunter, as Canet picked up the lead on lap three. The duo stretched an eight-tenth gap over the next lap, with Arbolino and Dixon fighting for third behind them. Acosta also made an early cameo in that battle but abandoned that fight with a tumble on lap four. Jorge Navarro wasn’t there to take advantage, as he had a long lap penalty to serve, but it only dropped him down to eighth place, because a significant gap had started forming behind him already.

The chaotic start did not look like settling any time soon, the gravel trap action continuing on lap five with Vietti losing the front at turn six and leaving Canet as the sole leader, 1.5 seconds ahead of Arbolino, Dixon and Ogura. After the early skirmish, Schrotter recovered ground and was running a solid race in fifth, albeit almost four seconds behind the podium battle, while the poleman was down to sixth, in a lonely-ish ride ahead of Navarro. Despite a poor qualifying and tricky first lap dropping him out of the top 20, Augusto Fernandez managed to climb back into eighth by lap six, holding back Joe Roberts, Bo Bendsneyder, Barry Baltus and Jeremy Alcoba. That fight was the focus of cameras at that early stage, as gaps were stretching amongst the men ahead.

Canet looked set to take the championship lead following his rival’s mistake, but that dream was short-lived, the Spaniard hitting the tarmac at turn seven of lap eight, leaving us with a very promising proposition, with the three men that inherited the lead never having won a Moto2 race. Arbolino was left in charge of proceedings, with Dixon eager to close the eight-tenth gap on the Italian and Ogura another second behind. However, Arbolino seemed to have something up his sleeve, promptly extending his advantage to over one second and holding the British rider at bay going into the second half of the race. There was no threat from behind, where Schrotter was running over six seconds back and fending off Beaubier.

While Arbolino calmly stretched his advantage to three seconds over the next couple of laps, Dixon’s mistake at turn 12 allowed Ogura to sneak past with seven laps remaining and the Aspar rider was unable to retaliate. The trio cruised to the chequered flag in that same formation, while Beaubier got past Schrotter with five laps remaining to claim fourth place – but there was late heartache in store for the American, who lost the front at turn 16 on the final lap and handed fourth place back to the German. Navarro crossed the finish line in a comfortable fifth, with Alcoba the winning party in the race-long fight for sixth place, ahead of Bendsneyder and Roberts. Fernandez lost some ground in the closing stages of the race but did well to claim ninth, having started 18th on the grid, while Baltus rounded out the top 10 positions.

The eventful first half of the race saw the lead in the championship change hands a couple times, but it serendipitously ended up back with Vietti, the Italian leading by 14 points from Ogura and 16 over Arbolino, with Canet dropping to fourth, 21 points back.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time/Diff
1 14 Tony Arbolino Kalex 39:06.5520
2 79 Ai Ogura Kalex 3.439
3 96 Jake Dixon Kalex 4.787
4 23 Marcel Schrotter Kalex 14.529
5 9 Jorge Navarro Kalex 16.347
6 52 Jeremy Alcoba Kalex 17.388
7 64 Bo Bendsneyder Kalex 17.631
8 16 Joe Roberts Kalex 19.784
9 37 Augusto Fernandez Kalex 24.595
10 7 Barry Baltus Kalex 30.291
11 75 Albert Arenas Kalex 33.475
12 42 Marcos Ramirez MV Agusta 34.785
13 18 Manuel Gonzalez Kalex 34.988
14 12 Filip Salac Kalex 37.786
15 5 Romano Fenati Boscoscuro 38.408
16 19 Lorenzo Dalla Porta Kalex 79.999
17 4 Sean Dylan Kelly Kalex 84.437
  2 Gabriel Rodrigo Kalex  
Not Classified
  51 Pedro Acosta Kalex 06:32.8210
  28 Niccolò Antonelli Kalex 27:27.0340
  40 Aron Canet Kalex 15:09.4160
  6 Cameron Beaubier Kalex 37:09.1250
  61 Alessandro Zaccone Kalex 06:48.3520
  35 Somkiat Chantra Kalex  
  22 Sam Lowes Kalex  
  13 Celestino Vietti Kalex 08:40.9720
  54 Fermín Aldeguer Boscoscuro  
  84 Zonta Van Den Goorbergh Kalex  
  24 Simone Corsi MV Agusta 04:30.1760
Round Number: 
4
2022
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Comments

Was properly pleased with pole. I hope there are more to come for Cam and better race results.

Didn't see a lot on camera but Beaubier seemed to have good pace but made several mistakes (and, obviously, a race ending mistake at the end of the last lap). Several times he would suddenly lose half a second or more while the camera was watching the top three. 

So, was he just feeling the pressure? Poor tire management? Mechanical/electronic? Look forward to our expert MM analysis.

Also, Chantra should probably miss a race for his foolish imitation of a bowling ball at T12. 

Thank you Zara for a great race recap.