Moto3 rolls back into life this weekend with the Spanish Grand Prix. Following Romano Fenati’s victory at COTA, the front four in the championship are covered by a mere 13 points, with Joan Mir leading the way from Jorge Martin and John McPhee. However, the return to Europe always shows us who the real deal is and who is going to be in the championship hunt to the end. We have yet to see the likes of Enea Bastianini, Fabio Di Giannantonio and Nicolo Bulega up at the sharp end, promising us a frantic next few races. The question is whether or not Spain will take a win or if one of the other nations will beat them on their home territory.
Joan Mir’s 8th place at COTA was his worst finish of the year, but he maintained the championship lead, despite it shrinking to just six points. The Spaniard will be searching for a good result at home and an improvement on last year’s sixth place at Jerez.
Jorge Martin will be wanting his first race win of the year, having started with two 3rd places and a 2nd at COTA. The young Spaniard scored a 14th at Jerez back in 2015 and that remains his best result, seeing as he crashed out last year. He and Mir may end up in a Spanish showdown on who will take honours in their home race.
Of course, it may be neither of them. John McPhee has had his best ever start to a year with two 2nd places and a 7th last time out in The States. Having spoken to the young Scot at the Oulton Park BSB meeting, it may well be worth watching him, as he is confident at more familiar circuits. Britain’s Danny Kent won the Moto3 race in 2015 and a repeat performance from McPhee would do us Brits just nicely indeed.
Romano Fenati elevated himself up the leaderboard after his first win of the year at COTA. Having won their in 2016, Fenati made amends whilst those around him fell and languished. The Italian has a winning history at Jerez too, with a dominant 36 second win in 2012 in just his 2nd ever GP. Can the diminutive Italian force his Honda to work around Jerez?
There’s more Italians in behind Fenati too. In 5th, Andrea Migno has finished every race in the points so far, with a worst result of 12th coming last time around. The VR46 rider will hope his form at Jerez will change, with 11th last year being his best. He is the first KTM rider in the championship and the manufacturer scored an excellent one-two last year. Could that signify something special on race day?
Fabio Di Giannantonio took 3rd place in COTA for his first podium of the year. The young Italian whipper-snapper returning to the form we know he has after being punted off by Bulega in Argentina. He crashed out of the race last year at Jerez but will be looking for the first back to back podiums of his career and maybe even his first win, to launch his title charge properly.
Nicolo Bulega’s 2nd at Jerez last year is his best Moto3 result to date and one of only two podiums. With a return to form at COTA with 5th, Bulega will be hopeful of a shot at the podium under the Spanish sun.
Watch out for other riders such as Aron Canet, Phillip Oettl and Juanfran Guevara, with Gabriel Rodrigo, Enea Bastianini and Livio Loi also hoping for good results. Former CEV riders Kaito Toba, Nakarin Atiratphuvapat, Tony Arbolino, Ayumu Sasaki and Marcos Ramirez will also feel more at home this weekend, coming to a circuit they are familiar with.
Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko