The Moto3 World Championship is back from its ‘summer break’, three weeks after Jorge Martin took victory (again) in Sachsenring. And, of course, it is Martin who is leading the championship coming into the second half of the season, and with Brno being a circuit where the rider can make so much difference, Martin will be the favourite for this weekend.
But, can anyone challenge Martin? Well, possibly. Marco Bezzecchi has been the surprise of 2018, perhaps across all classes. From fighting for the last point last year to fighting for the title this, is some progression and although he hasn’t won since Argentina (his only career win), he is still right in this title fight. Also, in Sachsenring Bezzecchi continued his quite impressive statistic of this year which is that he has not finished a race and then not climbed the steps to the podium. The only races where he has not picked up a cup are Qatar, Le Mans and Assen all three being DNFs. He has been the best KTM rider this year, and it’s showing. Perhaps the biggest surprise now is that Moto2 teams aren’t – at least very publicly – bashing his door down and demanding his signature. Maybe now Martin is signed up for Red Bull KTM Ajo in Moto2 for next year, the attention will start to come the way of Bezzecchi.
Aron Canet is the only rider who made the podium in Brno last year to be in the Moto3 field this year, but the first half of the season has not gone to plan for the Spaniard. He was supposed to challenge for the championship, but like almost everyone else who was supposed to be fighting for the title things haven’t gone his way, and some mistakes have crept in too. Only three podiums in the first nine races of 2018 mean Canet comes into the second half of the year with much to improve upon. Thirty-eight points is not an insurmountable gap that Aron suffers to the top of the championship, but – like with Marquez in MotoGP – the critical part is that Jorge Martin is plain stronger at the moment, not just compared to Canet but compared to the whole field.
Sachsenring was a disaster for Enea Bastianini, as he crashed out and probably said goodbye to the final slither of an opportunity that he had for the championship. That said, his form has been quite good recently, and whilst his crash came in a bad moment for the championship, Bastianini could be well in the fight for the podium this weekend.
Marcos Ramirez was back on form in Sachsenring as he took fourth place, his best result since his most recent podium in Le Mans at round five. It was only seventh in the wet Czech GP last year for Marcos, but with a decent result to keep him upbeat over the summer he could be in the front fight this weekend.
John McPhee has come back to form in recent races. The first half of the season proved to be one of mixed fortune for John, as he suffered from a lack of testing preseason. He finally got to test post-race in Mugello, and since then has fought for the podium in every race, finally making it in Germany despite his crew chief being absent. It will be interesting to see whether the, albeit short, summer break will stall his momentum at all.
Last year’s Czech GP was the Grand Prix debut for Dennis Foggia, and he scored two points. Unfortunately for Dennis, things have not progressed much this year. He had several impressive wildcards last year, but the reigning Junior World Champion has struggled this season in his first full-time campaign in the World Championship. Combined with the disastrous season suffered by his teammate, Nicolo Bulega, who has only scored seven points this year, you have to wonder whether there is something happening inside the team to make both riders suffer so much, because the riders have talent and speed but right now they are not comfortable at all. Maybe the summer break has provided them with the reset they need ahead of the second half of the season.
Of course, the weather could play a part this weekend, with the forecast in Brno never being completely reliable, and the skies are usually up for a bit of a drizzle. Rain might be the only thing that can stop the race-winning train that is Jorge Martin this weekend, and with that in mind his championship rivals will be hoping the clouds prepare for the lightweight class battle on Sunday morning.
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