British debutant impresses in his first weekend of FIM CEV Repsol competition, leading the Junior Talent Team charge
Tom Booth-Amos made it a first weekend of the season to remember at the Circuito do Estoril, taking second on the grid to begin his Junior Talent Team journey on the front row. He leads the charge and will start directly in front of P5 qualifier Yuki Kunii, but it’s incredibly close and the two were only a tenth apart despite starting on different rows.
It was a difficult day for qualifying at Estoril, with the wind playing a big role and adding an extra challenge. In addition, late showers also interrupted track action for some, but the Moto3™ grid were largely unaffected. For Sunday, however, that could play a bigger role – with the weather forecast looking mixed on race day.
But behind the two Junior Talent Team riders on the front two rows, Somkiat Chantra begins his sophomore campaign from the third row after setting the ninth quickest time of the day – a rider who could welcome the rain if it were to fall on race day. Behind the Thai rider, Ai Ogura qualified in twelfth on Row 4, and the 2017 Jerez winner will be looking to fight back through to the front. Gerry Salim is also looking to move forward after qualifying was a more difficult day for the Indonesian. He starts 27th, but with an incredibly packed Moto3™ grid, that makes it midfield – and he’ll have his eye on scoring points as he continues gaining experience.
“It was a difficult day because track conditions weren’t so good,” explained Talent Promotion Director Alberto Puig. “It’s cold and windy, but that’s also the same for everyone. In Tom’s case, he had a lot of crashes, so we were happy and surprised he managed to take second – it shows he really wants to push and he’s here to try and get a result. It’s very early to think about possibilities because there are many fast riders, but for now we must be happy. And fortunately he wasn’t hurt, and his bike’s in one piece so tomorrow he has a chance to have a good race. The others also had some crashes, but as a group we’re more or less there. The guy that is a little out of range is Gerry Salim, but he’s a less experienced rider and for him all this is new. So let’s see if he can catch up a little tomorrow.”
There’s one Moto3™ race to begin the 2018 FIM CEV Repsol season, and the stage is the Circuito do Estoril as action kicks off in Portugal. Lights out is at 13:00 (GMT +1).