Matsuyama heads up the ranks for the JTT as the Japanese rider takes third on Saturday
The first qualifying day of the 2021 FIM CEV Repsol is over and the Junior Talent Team is set to start the season opener at the Circuito do Estoril from the front row. Takuma Matsuyama led the charge as he took third, the Japanese rider just over two tenths off pole and ready to fight at the front.
The first Saturday session saw the track covered with some damp patches, and consequently the grid all improved in the second as the conditions did too. Behind Matsuyama's impressive P3, the next rider up for the JTT is Mario Aji as the Indonesian lines up on Row 3 in eighth despite riding with a small fracture in his foot still healing from a pre-season test. He's ready to try and replicate his former good form at the track, which is where he's taken his best FIM Moto3™ Junior World Championship result to date: fourth.
Tatchakorn Buasri is another who started the year with some injury struggles but the Thai rider is back in action with the JTT and will head into the first race of the season from P19, looking to move forward. He's just 0.014 off the rider ahead in an incredibly tight pack, with all looking to make their way into the fight for points.
British rookie Eddie O'Shea, meanwhile, is also looking to move forward. He's qualified 34th on his debut, with dry track time significantly cut down by rain on Friday and that adding an extra challenge as he faces down Estoril with the JTT for the first time. He'll want to move forward, gain more dry track time and learn everything he can as the lights go out for the first time for him in the FIM CEV Repsol.
Saturday is done and the stage is set, with Matsuyama leading the charge and Estoril poised to deliver another showdown. Will it be sun, rain or something in between on race day? Tune in at 13:00 local time (GMT +1) to find out, with the Moto3™ class ready to race 17 laps of the classic Portuguese venue.