The conditions were hot but Kaito Toba’s pace was even hotter, the Japanese rider back on the podium and leading an Asia Talent Team top ten charge
From the start of the Moto3 Junior World Championship round in Albacete, Kaito Toba was with the leaders. He stuck inside the top six and did not yield position, not afraid to slip past World Championship riders such as Karel Hanika. As is true of almost every Moto3 Junior World Championship race, the fighting was fierce and there was no chance to rest under the blazing Albacete sun.
As the final laps began, Toba upped his paced and closed in on the podium, slotting into third and working his way ever closer to Marcos Ramirez. Try as he might, Toba’s charge up to second would end, crossing the line in third place and only 0.308s off a return to victory. Not only did Toba return to the podium after a difficult Sunday in Barcelona, he also set the fastest lap of the race, a 1’35.471.
Kazuki Masaki had another solid weekend as well, eventually crossing the line in eighth place. For the entirety of the race he was inside the top ten, battling with his Asia Talent Team teammate Ayumu Sasaki for supremacy. The pair traded positions with the likes of Tony Arbolino and came out on top; Masaki crossed the line in eighth spot and ahead of Ayumu Sasaki in ninth. A great weekend overall for the three Japanese riders, all able to show their progress in the championship.
Nakarin Atiratphuvapat leaves Albacete with two more championship points, finishing inside the top 15 for the third time in 2016. It was a hard day for the Thai rider, having to overcome a number of more experienced riders for his 14th place.
The day proved the hardest for Andi Farid, the Indonesian rider making a magnificent launch off the line. For most of the race he stayed with the leading group, just at their backs, as he looked set to take an incredible first top ten. Unfortunately he crashed before the end, unharmed but forced to ask ‘what could have been?’ Regardless of final result, Farid proved he has the pace.
The Championship will resume on the 28th of August in Portugal. Toba heads into the summer break with 80 points, third overall and the leading Honda rider. Not far off him is Ayumu Sasaki, 62 points placing the Japanese rookie in fifth overall. 55 points have Masaki sat in seventh and only three points behind championship front-runner Albert Arenas. Thanks to his two additional points, Nakarin Atiratphuvapat is 14th overall.