Kunii just misses out at MotorLand, Aji takes first top ten in the dry

14 July 2019

Japanese rider shuffled off the podium in a tight fight to the flag, Indonesian impresses to fight nearer the front

Championship challenger Yuki Kunii was straight back in the fight at the front in the FIM CEV Repsol FIM Moto3™ Junior World Championship race at MotorLand Aragon, with the Japanese rider getting a good start from second on the grid and battling it out in the front group throughout. Kunii led the top quartet around much of the final lap too, but at the final chicane headed wide as key Championship rival Jeremy Alcoba attacked and they both lost out. On the four-wide drag to the line, the number 33 Junior Talent Team machine crossed the line in fourth but just thousandths from another podium, meaning he loses some ground in the title fight but nevertheless showed he is back in business after missing the last round.

The next man up in the JTT ranks was Mario Aji, as he was in qualifying, with the Indonesian putting in an impressive performance. In the wet season opener in Estoril Aji took a stellar fourth place, but he’s since found it tougher going to score points in the dry. Not so at MotorLand where, despite the technical challenge of the track, ‘Super Mario’ impressed to stay with the initial front group and then take his first top ten in the dry.

Max Cook, meanwhile, had a slightly tougher day at the office. He moved up from his grid position and was locked in the battle for points throughout, but the Brit lost out on them by an infinitesimal 0.054 over the line, third home in a five-rider battle for 14th. Haruki Noguchi also missed out on points at MotorLand, with the number 32 crossing the line in 20th in another incredibly tight fight. It’s still more solid experience for the Japanese rider, however, as it is for former Asia Talent Cup nemesis Bill Van Eerde despite the Australian’s crash part-way through. He continues to gain experience as he aims to get onto terms more regularly with many of his more experienced teammates.

That’s all MotorLand wrote and now the FIM CEV Repsol FIM Moto3™ Junior World Championship heads off on summer break until Jerez at the end of September. For many it’s chance to recharge, relax and heal, for others time to hone skills elsewhere before they come back guns blazing in two months. Kunii will be one aiming to hit back once we’re back in action, now fourth overall but looking for much more.

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