The weekend in Barcelona offered so much promise for Toba but ended in difficulties and a valuable lesson for the team
All eyes were on Kaito Toba in Barcelona, the Japanese star charging to the head of the field in both races. But Toba’s ambition got the better of him and he fell in both races, doing his championship campaign some serious damage. It taught Toba and the rest of the Asia Talent Team a valuable lesson in patience.
Toba’s loss was Ayumu Sasaki’s gain as he took his debut podium of the 2016 season in Race 1. The second race saw him fourth, resulting in Sasaki’s best weekend of the season so far. It was a similarly strong weekend for Kazuki Masaki who took seventh and fifth in the two races.
It’s now onto Albacete, a circuit where they have tested at but few have raced at. Toba knows the circuit from 2015, the rest of the team performed a test at the start of 2016 there. The weekend presents the young talents with just one race to prove themselves, requiring expert focus. In 2015 Toba took ninth and needs to get back on the podium to keep his championship chances alive. He’s currently fourth in the standings but is 54 points behind Lorenzo Dalla Porta.
Both Sasaki and Masaki are also out for the podium, having grown stronger and stronger with each race weekend. The pair will need to learn the track and work without rushing. Masaki remains as the only rider from the team to score points at every round, eighth in the championship is his reward.
For Nakarin Atiratphuvapat and Andi Farid, the weekend offers a chance to again get inside the points. Atiratphuvapat has now twice finished in the points and regularly to continue ending inside the top 15 would be a huge achievement for him. Like Toba, Farid is out to remain calm in Albacete after a big crash in the first race in Barcelona.
Both Saturday and Sunday at the circuit are expected to be baking hot, ambient temperatures set to soar over 30°C, making it an important physical test for the riders as well.
The fifth round of FIM CEV Repsol with the Moto3™ World Junior Championship will begin on Thursday the 30th, with free practice sessions, the same on Friday the 1st. The two qualifying sessions will be held on Saturday, QP1 from 9:50 to 10:30 and QP2 from 13:20 to 14:00. Race will be held on Sunday at 13:00 (19 laps).