Five intermediate class riders who you’ll want to keep your eye on in the second half of 2021
While some Moto2™ riders have already made a strong impression in this first part of the season, others are counting on the second half to make up lost ground or reassert themselves as a future star of MotoGP™ with a flurry of better results. Here are motogp.com’s ‘Ones To Watch’ in the second half of 2021 from the intermediate class:
Aron Canet (Aspar Team) – 7th, 55 points:
In 2020, Canet clinched the Rookie of the Year gong with 14th place in the standings, despite missing three races due to a broken left hand and arm pump issues. The Valencian had been impressive in several Grands Prix during his debut campaign, demonstrated by seven results inside the Top 10.
Moto2™ rostrum round up: Gardner, Canet and Bezzecchi
So far in 2021, the balance is a little more uneven. On the one hand, he has bagged two podiums at Portimao and Sachsenring but, in total, he has only finished three times inside the Top 10. Without his 4 DNFs, the Spanish rider, currently 7th overall, could be much closer to the top of the standings. Maybe his inconsistency is linked to that of the Boscuscuro machine he rides, a chassis that appears to be extremely well-matched some circuits and then struggle at others. But, with a 2022 deal in his back pocket, Canet has the capability of taking a debut win in the second half of the year.
Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) – 8th, 50 points:
Augusto Fernandez was the next big thing. Tipped for a seat in MotoGP™ following a breakthrough 2019 that saw him handed the outgoing World Champion’s seat at Marc VDS, things never really got going in 2020. But it appears the Mallorcan has rediscovered some on his 2019 magic following an impressive outing at the Dutch TT. We should’ve seen that result coming, though, because outside of the opening round of 2021 in Qatar, Fernandez is yet to finish a race outside of the top six – four in total. The issue being when he sees the chequered flag with four more DNFs thrown into his opening nine rounds too.
Moto2™ rostrum round up: R. Fernandez, Gardner, A. Fernandez
Consistency will be key for the Marc VDS man if he is to steal headlines in the intermediate class once again. A pair of solid results at the Red Bull Ring could be exactly what he needs before Moto2™ heads to Silverstone for the first time in two years. Oh, and the winner of the last British Grand Prix that took place? A certain Augusto Fernandez.
Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) – 10th, 50 points:
Joe Roberts made a big decision at the end of 2020. Move to MotoGP™ with Aprilia or remain in Moto2™ with the reigning World Champions? He opted to fill Enea Bastianini’s seat at Italtrans in the hope of bagging a bigger and better premier class seat. So far, that’s not exactly gone to plan. Aprilia are aiming to sign multiple MotoGP™ race winner Maverick Viñales with the much-improved RS-GP now an exciting premier class prospect, whilst Roberts’ campaign has yet to get properly going.
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The Californian has been knocking on the door of a podium, however, finishing fourth at both Portimao and Mugello. He was the Mr. Saturday of 2020 in the intermediate class with three pole positions, so if he can find that one-lap pace once again that will put him in the mix from the off. Plus, what more motivation will he need than fellow American Garrett Gerloff suddenly appearing to be the most likely man to be waving the stars and stripes in the premier class next year. Roberts needs podiums to keep his 2022 MotoGP™ dream alive and he definitely has some in him.
Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) – 11th, 49 points:
The Japanese rider, who was 3rd in the 2020 Moto3™ World Championship, has been one of most impressive rookies the intermediate class has seen for a very long time. Unsurprisingly, however, it’s gone mostly unnoticed due to the mind-boggling adaption we’ve seen from Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo). It’s no coincidence Ogura has found himself inside the top seven on five occasions during the opening nine rounds of the year, with a top five included at the Doha GP. More time on the bike, plus rounds at the Red Bull Ring, Misano and Valencia, at all of which he clinched Moto3™ rostrums last year, and Ogura is another likely candidate to be competing at the sharp end in the latter stages of the year.
Albert Arenas (Aspar Team) – 17th, 22 points:
For Albert Arenas, adapting to the new class has not been particularly easy. Despite scoring in three of the first six Grands Prix, his emergence into the intermediate class has not allowed him to immediately show the level that the Moto3™ World Championship brought him last year. All very understandable for a rookie, though.
Motul TT Assen: Moto2™ 7 minute race highlights
In Catalunya, he started to show signs of a significant improvement and then, at the Sachsenring, he was able to fight his way to a first top ten when he finished 8th. If he can maintain the same rate of improvement over the coming weeks and months, the Aspar rider could find himself in and around the top five and begin to lay the foundations for an exciting 2022.