Arbolino scores win in rain-shortened Thai Moto2 contest, Ogura beats Fernandez

FIM World Championship Grand Prix, Round 17, 29.September – 02.October 2022, Moto2, Buriram, Thailand, Tony Arbolino, Elf Marc VDS Racing Team

Tony Arbolino scored victory in a red-flagged Thailand Moto2 contest ahead of Filip Salac after the race was ended after only nine laps due to extreme weather conditions.

The race had already been reduced from the original race distance of 24 laps to 16 before it even began after a heavy rain shower coated the track and forced a brief delay, with the race getting underway in heavily wet conditions.

Several riders took turns leading during what would turn out to be a nine-tour sprint, with pole-man and home hero Somkiat Chantra crashing out from a decent lead on the second circulation, leaving Alonso Lopez at the head of the field.

Arbolino meanwhile was proving to possess an impressive level of pace as he carved through the top ten on his Marc VDS machine, the Italian moving into the rostrum positions just as Gresini’s Salac snatched the leadership away from a fast-starting Aron Canet, who went from 18th on the grid to first in less than half-a-dozen laps.

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With Arbolino swiftly dispatching of Canet, he then set sail on catching Salac – though the Czech pilot did well to hang on until finally making a critical error at the final corner on the eighth tour, allowing Arbolino through as the ninth lap began – though the race would end just seconds later as the continuing rain made the track unsafe for any further racing, facilitating a red flag.

Due to two-thirds of the new distance having not been completed the intention was to run a five-lap sprint once conditions improved, though due to time restraints this proved impossible – forcing race direction to end the race early and award half-points to the competitors.  

Arbolino therefore secured a second career Moto2 win ahead of Salac who racked up a maiden intermediate class rostrum result, though just a corner shy of recording a first victory.

The podium was completed by Canet, with GasGas racer Jake Dixon securing fourth ahead of Speed Up’s Lopez.

Ai Ogura finished as the highest-placed of the main title contenders in sixth just ahead of series leader Augusto Fernandez, the Honda Team Asia man as a result reducing his points deficit to just 1.5 with three races to run.  

Italtrans’ Joe Roberts ended up being credited with eighth ahead of VR46 Master Camp man Kemnith Kubo, while Celestino Vietti completed the top ten having passed American Racing’s Sean-Dylan Kelly for the position shortly prior to the red flag.

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