Sixth for Aji and seventh for Matsuyama as misfortune costs the JTT dear
After a day that promised so much, unfortunately the Junior Talent Team walk away Round 3 of the FIM Moto3™ Junior World Championship with just a handful of points as misfortune at key moments cost them dear. In the end, Mario Aji took sixth from the opening race, before Takuma Matsuyama claimed seventh in the second outing.
Astra Honda’s Aji started the first race of the day from pole position was in the mix for every lap of the fiercely contested race. Sadly, Matsuyama suffered a nasty highside out of Turn 10 halfway through the race, bringing to an end what had been a strong performance up to that point. JTT hopes, as a result, lay on the shoulders of Aji.
The Indonesian lead the way heading down the back straight into Turn 10 before being pushed wide and out of contention. He eventually came across the line in sixth but, after leading for so long, was no doubt frustrated at seeing a first podium slip through his fingers.
One of the performances on the race, though, went the way of Tatchakorn Buasri. The Honda Racing Thailand man started 28th on the grid, went through the Long Lap Penalty loop and still came across the line in 12th – his best result of 2021 so far.
In race two, Aji once again fired away from pole position with Matsuyama also in contention early on after starting from third. Bad luck once again struck Aji in the closing stages though, after again showcasing his pace at the front throughout the race, when Josito Garcia wiped out the Indonesian at Turn 5 in a frightening three rider crash. Fortunately, all three riders walked way unharmed.
Matsuyama was in the leading group heading into the final lap and eventually came across the line in seventh, only six tenths adrift of the race win. Buasri was unable to produce the same heroics of earlier on, crashing out at around the halfway stage. British Talent Team’s Eddie O’Shea continued his adaptation to the Junior World Championship, taking a solid 16th place finish in the final race.
Next up, the JTT head to Portimao for Round 4 with both Aji and Matsuyama holding strong positions in the title chase. The Indonesian sits fifth heading to Portugal, with the Japanese star only three points further back in seventh.