The long summer break has finally come to a close and quintuplet of riders is set to hit the track once again.
Back in July, Albacete hosted round five of the FIM Repsol CEV Moto3 Junior World Championship, the series now resuming almost two months later. In Albacete Kaito Toba managed to return to the podium with a third place finish, holding him third in the championship standings. Meanwhile his teammate, Ayumu Sasaki, scored for the fifth race in a row and with 62 points is still a threat for the top three.
During the summer break both riders have stayed in shape and in form by racing in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, Sasaki in particular showing very well. Races in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic have seen the duo compete in all kinds of weather conditions, teaching them yet more valuable skills for the remainder of the Junior World Championship. Thanks to nine podium finishes, Sasaki returns to the Asia Talent Team as the Red Bull Rookies title favourite while Toba holds fifth overall.
Sasaki and Toba may have taken much of the limelight so far, but Kazuki Masaki should not go unnoticed. The Japanese rider has scored in every single round and is sitting pretty in seventh with 55 well earned points. His ability to stay calm while under pressure will be put to the test in Portugal as racing resumes.
In 2015 the circuit of Portimao was not kind to the Asia Talent Team, Toba collecting just a single point. But with a year’s worth of experience for the riders and team, the 4.692km long circuit is sure to bear more fruit in 2016. Toba is the only rider of the five to have ridden the circuit before, but all have proven to be quick studies at the previous rounds.
Of all the riders Andi Faird is perhaps the most excited to get back out on track, the Indonesian talent keen to pick up where he left off after securing a debut front row in Albacete. His one-lap pace is certainly there; can he make another step around the 17 corners of the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve?
Nakarin Atiratphuvapat is also looking to learn the circuit and build of the flashes of brilliance he has shown on his way to three point scoring finishes. Consistency will be key for the Thai rider in the closing five races of the 2016 season, remaining in the top 15 would be a major achievement.
Two Qualifying sessions will take place on Saturday the 27th of August at 09:50 Local Time and 13:20 Local Time to decide the grid for Sunday’s single Moto3 Junior World Championship race. The race (16 laps) is scheduled to begin at 13:00 Local Time on Sunday the 28th of August.
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