Moto3 Junior World Championship riders at the park ferme in Estoril. Shinzaki is second from the left, Ogura, 3rd, is on the right. They also compete in the MotoGP Rookies Cup.

-Promising young Asian riders rising to the challenge, dreaming of taking on the world-

The Moto3 Junior World Championship is one notch above the Asia Talent Cup.
It is considered the entrance to the Moto3 class in world championship racing,
and it is where the Asia Talent Team competes.
In the Portugal round, at Estoril, two Asia Talent Team riders were on the podium.

For riders excelling in the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup (IATC), the next stage is the Moto3 Junior World Championship. One year after the Asia Talent Cup started, the Asia Talent Team was formed.

The Moto3 Junior World Championship series is one class below the MotoGP Moto3 class. Outstanding riders aspiring to take on the world compete in this class, contributing to the high quality of racing in each race. That makes grand prix-level factory bikes a must to be competitive. The Asia Talent Team is supplied with Honda NSF250RW factory bikes, and with a well experienced international team, has the environment it needs to fight for the title.

The first Asia Talent Cup champion, Kaito Toba, and the second champion, Ayumu Sasaki competed in the Moto3 Junior class from the Asia Talent Team, and after a successful year, were given the chance to race in the Moto3 class starting this year.

In this season’s Moto3 Junior class, 16-year-old Japanese Kazuki Masaki, compatriot 14-year-old Yuki Kunii, 18-year-old Thai rider Somkiat Chantra, and 20-year-old Indonesian Andi Izdihar race for Asia Talent Team. As they move from Spain around Europe, they are gaining experience to race on the world stage.

Five rounds of the Moto3 Junior class have been completed. In Round 5, in Estoria, Masaki finished 2nd, and Ogura 3rd, their first time on the podium in the Moto3 Junior class. In 2016 Toba won the Moto3 Junior class, and Sasaki was on the podium, but this was the first time that two IATC graduates were on the podium in the same race. Kunii chased the front group during the race, but fell and was injured. Nonetheless, the experiences the three riders gained in the IATC undoubtedly helped them in the Moto3 Junior class.

Three rounds, comprising five races, remain in the Moto3 Junior class. All eyes are on how IATC graduate riders perform.

Round04 MalaysiaSepang International CircuitJuly 27-30

Can Öncü dominated Race 1 for his first victory. He went on to take the double. The Turkish rider now also races in the MotoGP Rookies Cup.

Can Öncü dominated Race 1 for his first victory. He went on to take the double. The Turkish rider now also races in the MotoGP Rookies Cup.

  • Can Öncü dominated Race 1 for his first victory. He went on to take the double. The Turkish rider now also races in the MotoGP Rookies Cup.

    Can Öncü dominated Race 1 for his first victory. He went on to take the double. The Turkish rider now also races in the MotoGP Rookies Cup.

  • Race 1 podium. From the left, Anuar 2nd, Can Öncü 1st, and Salim 3rd. Öncü takes his first IATC win.

    Race 1 podium. From the left, Anuar 2nd, Can Öncü 1st, and Salim 3rd. Öncü takes his first IATC win.

  • Race 2 podium. From the left, 2nd place Deniz Öncü, winner Can Öncü, and 3rd place Yamanaka. The Öncü brothers grab a 1-2 finish.

    Race 2 podium. From the left, 2nd place Deniz Öncü, winner Can Öncü, and 3rd place Yamanaka. The Öncü brothers grab a 1-2 finish.

  • Race 2 is delayed due to rain just prior to the start. To maintain equal conditions for all riders, every bike was fitted with rain tires for the restart.

    Race 2 is delayed due to rain just prior to the start. To maintain equal conditions for all riders, every bike was fitted with rain tires for the restart.

※Click on images to enlarge.

IATC Round 4, Malaysia, was raced at the Sepang International Circuit. Turkish rider Can Öncü took pole. In Race 1, Öncü won his first IATC race convincingly, 4.412 s ahead of his closest rival.

Malaysian Azroy Anuar finished 2nd, with Indonesian Gerry Salim 3rd. The following day, rain wet the track just prior to Race 2, causing all bikes to be fitted with rain tires. Can Öncü won his second race in as many days, and his twin brother, Deniz, came 2nd. Ryusei Yamanaka, 5th in Race 1, fared better finishing 3rd, on the podium in Race 2.

Haruki Noguchi managed to keep his lead in the championship. 9 points behind is Deniz Öncü, 13 points adrift is Yamanaka. Yuki Kunii did not race this round, due to injuries sustained at Estoril in the Moto3 Junior class race.

Round4 Malaysia RaceResult

Following the IATC graduates

Four IATC graduates compete this season in the MotoGP Moto3 class.

Kaito Toba, Ayumu Sasaki, and Nakarin Atiratphuvapat competed in the Asia Talent Cup’s first year, where Toba went on to win the inaugural title, and Sasaki won the following year. After racing in the Asia Dream Cup (ADC) from 2013, Atiratphuvapat came 4th overall in the 2015 Asia Talent Cup. He was ranked 17th in the 2016 Moto3 Junior class, but gained the chance to race on the world grand prix stage this year, alongside Toba and Sasaki. Toba and Atiratphuvapat race for Honda Team Asia.

Adam Norrodin, joining world grand prix racing before the others, competed in the Asia Talent Cup in 2014 and ’15. He moved to the Moto3 class in 2016, finishing the season 28th. This season, Norrodin rides with Sasaki.

Current Moto3 racing is harsh, difficult for a rookie to even finish within the points. Norrodin achieved an 8th place finish at the Austrian Grand Prix, his best grand prix result. Toba, Sasaki and Atiratphuvapat fought hard over a 15th place finish, just within the points, with Toba inching ahead to earn his second points finish of the season.

At the end of Round 11, Austria, Norrodin is ranked 19th, Sakaki 21st, Toba 22nd, Atiratphuvapat 24th, all earning points. Sasaki leads the Rookie of the Year at this time.

A nine-way battle for 15th at the Austrian Gande Prix. Toba is number 27, Sasaki is 71, and Atiratphuvapat is 41.

A nine-way battle for 15th at the Austrian Gande Prix. Toba is number 27, Sasaki is 71, and Atiratphuvapat is 41.

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