It’s here. The Moto3 World Championship 2017 is coming closer so it’s time for my preview ahead of the new season.
There are 31 riders from 14 different countries in the entry list ahead of the season. It can be described as Italians’ and Spaniards’ dominance. There are 10 Italian riders and 7 are from Spain! Then there are 3 racers from Japan. The other countries are represented just by one rider. These countries are Finland, Czech republic, Belgium, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Argentina, South Africa, Malaysia and Thailand.
For the AGR team there will be racing María Herrera, the only female in the field. Last year she was able to score some points 4 times which was not bad actually. It is really good that we will see at least one girl there. Hopefully she will be able to grab some points again.
Aspar Mahindra Moto3
Team Aspar has changed the riders line-up. This year there will be Lorenzo Dalla Porta – the CEV Moto3 Champion 2016 – and Albert Arenas who was also racing in CEV Moto3 last year. Both of them also tried some Moto3 races last year. I personally think that these two are very talented riders and that team Aspar can be the dark horse of the Championship.
British Talent Team
Brits are coming with their own national team. And as a rider there will be John McPhee. Hard to say what to expect from them but of course John is a good rider – Czech GP 2016 winner – so we can’t underestimate him.
Two Italians will be racing for this team. Marco Bezzecchi and Manuel Pagliani both comes from the CIV Championship. Pagliani was racing in Red Bull Rookies Cup before his CIV racing. He is double Moto3 CIV Champion. He won that in 2014 and 2016. Bezzecchi is also the Moto3 CIV Champion, he won the Championship in 2015. So two recent Italian Champions will be racing there. Some great talent is coming! Both already tried a few Moto3 races in the World Championship but this will be first ever full season for both of them.
Del Conca Gresini Racing Moto3
Team Gresini is coming to the new season with new title sponsor which changes its name a little bit. Fabio Di Giannantonio stays with the team for one more season, Jorge Martín is coming after racing in Aspar team last year. They both already have some experience of how it’s to be on the podium so we will see how they will do in the upcoming season.
Estrella Galicia 0,0
Enea Bastianini is coming from team Gresini to Estrella Galicia team and I think he is one of the title contenders. He was one of the front runners already last year but Brad Binder was unbeatable. And then Enea had even a bad injury. So this year his two main rivals Binder and Navarro are already in Moto2 so maybe a chance for him? Aron Canet stays with the team for another season and of course he has now some experience so we have to count with him as well. I expect some podium finishes.
Honda Team Asia
Asia starts to play big role there. They are so interested in racing and they produce lots of good riders. For their team they have chosen Japanese Kaito Toba and Nakarin Atiratphuvapat who is from Thailand and whose name I am finally able to pronounce. Last year Toba finished 5th in the Rookies Cup and he took 3 podium finishes from which there were 2 victories. Atiratphuvapat is coming from the Asian Talent Cup and he was also racing in Moto3 CEV. Last year he finished 17th overall with 33 points. His best result was 7th place.
Team Leopard bet on the short names. At least it’s easy to write and say it. But now seriously, Livio Loi and Joan Mir are big contenders for top places in my opinion. Joan Mir stays with this team for another season and I think that with some gained experience he can be even the title contender. Livio Loi is a newcomer in the team but he has already lots of experience from this category. So maybe his time is coming finally?
Marinelli Rivacold Snipers
This team used to have the Ongetta name. So from now on it’s Marinelli Rivacold Snipers. Remember it. Well, Jules Danilo stays there again which is good and hopefully he will get Top 10 results. Romano Fenati will be his team mate. Yes, that Fenati who was sacked from the Sky Team because of his behaving last year. Team Rivacold has saved him so let’s hope a lesson was learnt and he will be a problem-free boy. He is talented rider, we all know it. He just needs to calm down sometimes it seems.
Peugeot MC Saxoprint
You know, this is more or less like Mahindra, just with Peugeot name. But I personally hope that this team will do very well in the season because of some my interest. Well, I am a little bit biased when it comes to them and I have to admit that this year they are going to be one of my favourite teams and I plan to follow them very closely. The reason? My countryman Jakub Kornfeil is one of the riders. He is very experienced, he has got some podium finishes already too. Finland will have their rider there again as Patrik Pulkkinen will be Kornfeil’s team mate. And it’s the other reason. I have a weakness for everything which is somehow connected with Finland and I follow and support athletes from Finland a lot. So it made me so happy that Patrik was going there. Something I really didn’t expect. Last year he was racing in the Red Bull Rookies Cup but unfortunately he wasn’t very successful there. He had quite a good weekends in Austria and then in Czech republic (my home GP!) but the beginning of the season wasn’t very easy for him. Do you know what is quite funny? Jakub Kornfeil is the oldest rider on the grid while Patrik Pulkkinen is the youngest one there. Interesting. By the way, it is strange to be the oldest one when you are still just 23 years old. Which means that all riders there are now younger than me which starts to be pretty weird.
Platinum Bay Real Estate
The good news there is that the team is switching from Mahindra to KTM. And according to some of the pre-season test results it looks like the change was really needed. Both boys did good job there. The team keeps their riders’ line-up from last year which means Darryn Binder and Marcos Ramírez will be racing there.
RBA Racing Team
Also RBA team keeps the same riders from last season. Gabriel Rodrigo and Juanfran Guevara will be team mates there again. I personally really like these two and to me they seem to be pretty cool team pair. Last year there were some races where they both showed good pace but then somehow had bad luck and crashed or something. So hopefully they will be more lucky in the upcoming season and they will be in Top 10 regularly.
Red Bull KTM Ajo
This paragraph is very biased, I say it in advance to you. I love this team from the very first moment I started to follow racing I think. Really it’s been so many years already. I think I will support them forever. Now you know who I support so let’s look at the riders. Bo Bendsneyder stays with them for another season which is good for him. Last year he got some valuable experience and hopefully he will use it this year. Niccoló Antonelli is new in the team but not new in Moto3 of course. He’s already a race winner. He’s been also very unlucky with lots of crashes and unfinished races in the past. Now when he comes to one of the best teams there also a big chance comes to him to prove how talented and great rider he is. As I believe he really is talented. His time is coming.
SIC Racing Team
The Sepang International Circuit (that’s where the SIC acronym comes from) team has Asian boys there. Of course, Asian team with Asian riders. Ayumu Sasaki is the 2016 Red Bull Rookies Cup Champion. For Adam Norrodin it will be his second season there in Moto3. Last season he had some chances for good amount of points but then he threw it away with a crash or any other problem.
SIC58 Squadra Corse
Please don’t confuse this team with the previous one. As I said SIC Racing team is an acronym for Sepang International Circuit. This name – SIC58 – is a tribute to Marco Simoncelli. His father owns this team. He created it a few years ago but didn’t want to come to the world racing after his son’s fatal crash. But he’s realized that now it’s the right time. So we welcome a new team here! I think Marco would be proud. Riders of the team are Tony Arbolino and Tatsuki Suzuki. The Italian Arbolino was racing in CEV Moto3 in the last few seasons. Last year he finished 9th overall. He took two podium finishes – 2nd place in Barcelona and even victory in Jerez. Japanese Suzuki has already some experience with the World Championship. This will be already his 3rd season in Moto3. Last year his best result was 11th place from German GP.
SKY Racing Team VR46
Valentino Rossi ‘s team will be racing with two talented Italians. Both Nicoló Bulega and Andrea Migno was already riding for the team last year. So they both have some experience already and I guess that this year they can be very serious contenders there.
Südmetall Schedl GP Racing
Philipp Oettl stays in the Championship with the private team. It’s great to see him there as I think he has talent and belongs there. Last year he was so close to a podium finish a few times. It would be pretty good too see him on rostrum at least once this season. He would deserve it.
I guess this is going to be another typical Moto3 season with lots of battles on track, with lots of nerve-wrecking and unforgettable moments. There are lots of great talents in this category.
So, the season is really close as the official pre-season test in Qatar kicks off this Friday. Season 2017 starts next Thursday with the first free practise sessions also in Qatar. As usual this is going to be night race weekend.
Photo: Red Bull KTM Ajo