Fabio Quartararo holds a 34-point advantage over Aleix Espargaro at the halfway mark of the MotoGP 2022 season in the senior class with Celestino Vietti ahead of Ai Ogura by only six in Moto 2.
In sixth, Joe Roberts is the highest-ranked American rider in Moto 2 with Cameron Beaubier in 15th and Sean Dylan Kelly 29th.
Quartararo got off to a slow start in 2022 with only one podium finish, a second in the Indonesian Grand Prix, in the first four races. Following the United States GP, Quartararo was mired fifth in the standings, but his win in Portugal the following round, second-place finishes in Spain and Italy, and back-to-back victories in Catalunya and Germany gives him a substantial lead through 10 of 20 rounds.
Espargaro owes his second-place position in the standings to consistency. He won the Argentinian GP and finished third in four consecutive races from Portugal through Italy. A fifth-place finish at Catalunya and fourth at Germany in the last two rounds account for a big part of the lost ground to Quartararo.
Meanwhile, third-place Johann Zarco is in danger of completely losing contact with the leader. Zarco is 61 behind Quartararo and in a series that awards 25 points to the winner, that means he trails by more than two full races with 10 rounds remaining.
The race is much tighter in Moto 2.
Vietti has three wins and podium finishes in half of his starts this year. Four of these strong runs came in the first five rounds, however, and he has slowly been losing his advantage with only one top-five finish since. The good news is that he won at Catalunya as his closest competitor in the championship standings, Ai Ogura finished seventh.
Ogura has one win on the season. His victory in the Spanish GP is one of four podiums finishes in 2022. His last two races have not been very productive, however, with that seventh at Catalunya being followed by an eighth in Germany.
Augusto Fernandez is only 11 points behind Vietti in third. Most of his gains have come in the final four rounds as he failed to podium in the first six. Victories in France and Germany, added to a third-place finish in Catalunya, makes him the hottest rider in Moto 2 as the series heads to the TT Assen circuit this weekend.
Five points further back, Aron Canet also has a chance to catch the leaders.
Joe Roberts may be deeper in the standings than he wants, but he has a career-first win at Portugal that provides hope for the second half of the season. Two weeks after that victory, he finished second in the Italian GP, but he is going to need for the riders ahead of him to stumble to get all the way to the top of the chart.