Contrasting fortunes in Portimao for the Asia Talent Team

28 August 2016

A hot weekend came to a mixed end for the Asia Talent Team. Toba, Atiratphuvapat and Farid collecting points while Masaki and Sasaki are taken out

From the front three rows of the grid, Kaito Toba and Ayumu Sasaki both made excellent starts and before long found themselves battling inside the top ten. Toba was immediately pushing the leaders hard, fighting with the likes of Stefano Manzi and Tony Arbolino in a furious melee at the front. He took his turn at the front but in typical Moto3 style no clear leader emerged.

Sasaki continued to make progress and before long he was battling alongside Toba, the dramatic racing at the front in turn allowing Kazuki Masaki to recover from 18th on the grid and join the pack fighting for the top ten. The trio fought as hard as they could and, despite being briefly dropped from the leading group, were always in contention.

The battle looked set to continue for the podium until Karel Hanika launched an overly aggressive move on Sasaki towards the end of the race, immediately ending the Japanese rider’s race. Unfortunately there was yet more disappointment from the incident as Masaki was also caught in the carnage, remounting to finish out of the points. Neither sustained serious injury in the accident.

Toba was fortunate not to get taken out as well, having run wide at the same corner and avoiding the tangle as a result. He rallied and fought back to take sixth place, collecting ten points and further cementing himself into third place in the championship.

While Masaki and Sasaki mourned what could have been, Andi Farid was rejoicing as he took his first FIM CEV Repsol Moto3 Junior World Championship points with 12th place. These four precious points not only demonstrate his growth as a rider, but will also help spur him on to even greater things in the coming rounds.

Nakarin Atiratphuvapat had looked set to take home a respectable top ten finish, but a late penalty for exceeding track limits saw him dropped to tenth place in the final results. Regardless, the Thai rider still managed to score points for the fourth time in 2016 and for the third race in a row. He is now 15th in the championship table and only a single point behind Jaume Masia, a rider who was fifth overall in 2015.

Unable to score after the crash, Sasaki sits sixth in the standings but retains a realistic chance of finishing fourth. Portimao marks the first time in 2016 that his compatriot Masaki has been unable to score points, but Masaki remains in the top ten overall regardless.

It’s time for another small break, the next round of the FIM CEV Repsol Moto3 Junior World Championship scheduled to take place in Jerez on the second on October. The penultimate round of the 2016 season will hold two Moto3 races

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