Estoril awaits the team for their first race of the season as the FIM CEV Repsol gets back on track
The first round of two-wheeled racing since the long pause of activity brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic is finally here, with the FIM CEV Repsol back on track from the 4th to the 7th of July at the iconic Circuito do Estoril. The Junior Talent Team are raring to go, with plenty to play for in the FIM Moto3™ Junior World Championship this season – and the first 25 points of the year now on the horizon.
Racing in Estoril will be Billy Van Eerde, Max Cook, Scott Ogden and Takuma Matsuyama, with Mario Aji and Tatchakorn Buasri sadly on the sidelines to due travel complications caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. But the four-strong line-up will be flying the flag, and they’ve also just completed a two-day test at the venue where the season will begin – allowing plenty of time to get back in the groove and ready to race.
All four riders covered some serious ground on Wednesday and Thursday, with all on or around the 150 mark in terms of laps completed. Of those who are racing at the venue this season, Max Cook was the top 2019 finisher at Estoril and he was very happy with the test. Focusing on putting in consistent laptimes and riding alone, he did 154 laps and is confident for the first round – aiming to better his P13 of last year by a margin. His experienced JTT teammate Van Eerde had a troubled start to 2019 after some injury woes but 2020 is a turnaround. The Australian did 155 laps at the test and is aiming to transfer his impressive form in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup last season into similar improvements in the FIM Moto3™ JWCh this season. No tall order after four months off the bike, but his aim in Round 1 is to score some points as a minimum.
Scott Ogden, meanwhile, is another aiming for points, and another with a good feeling on the bike. The Brit is somewhere between newcomer and experienced after his races in 2019, but this is his first full campaign with the Junior Talent Team and the reigning British Talent Cup Champion wants to open his points account in Estoril. 161 laps in testing should prove valuable to getting up to speed with his more experienced teammates.
Finally, Takuma Matsuyama is ready to make his debut. He did 147 laps in testing to get to grips with his new challenge in 2020 and the Japanese rider may be the man without any previous experience in the Championship, but only two small crashes over a century and a half of laps bodes well.
It’s a single race for the Moto3™ class at Estoril, with lights out at 13:00 (GMT +1) on Tuesday the 7th of July.
Don’t miss it!