It has been two weeks since the Argentinian round of the 2019 Moto3 World Championship, the second round of the series, and now the paddock heads to Texas for the Grand Prix of the Americas.
After the first two rounds of the season it is Kaito Toba (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) who leads the championship on an incredibly low thirty-one points. Despite winning the opening round in Qatar, Argentina did not go quite so well for the Japanese – he was caught up in the incident with John McPhee (Petronas SRT) and Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and dropped out of the leading group, so coming away with a tenth place was quite positive for the #27. The Circuit of the Americas, however, has not been a happy hunting ground for Toba in the past, and indeed he has not managed to finish a race in Austin in either of his two attempts.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) has had a similar start to the season as Toba. The Italian finished second to Toba in Qatar, but was forced wide in turn five on the final lap in Argentina, finishing only seventh. Like Toba, Dalla Porta does not boast a fantastic record in COTA, and has never scored a point in Texas – something he will need to change this weekend after a low-scoring Argentina.
The third placed rider in Qatar, Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), also had a poor showing in Termas two weeks ago, finishing in a lowly twelfth. Now lying sixth in the championship, Canet needs a result in Texas to recover some ground in the standings. Fortunately for the Spaniard, COTA has proven to be a strong circuit for him in the past, as he dominated the 2017 Grand Prix of the Americas before a crash in the restarted race cost him what would have been his maiden win.
With all of the problems for Qatar’s podium finishers in Argentina, Jaume Masia’s (Bester Capital Dubai) victory was enough to see him rocket to third in the standings despite not scoring in Losail. Like Toba and Dalla Porta, Masia has never scored a point in Texas, finishing only twenty-sixth in his debut at the track last year.
Joining Masia on the podium in Argentina were Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power) and Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers). It was Binder’s second podium, and the first in the career of Arbolino, and both will be hoping to continue in that sort of form this weekend, on what is the most technically demanding track on the calendar.
There is only one rider in the Moto3 field who has won at Texas: Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers). The Italian won in 2016, in what was KTM’s third and latest win at the track, and then again in 2017, as he benefitted from Canet’s fall. Fenati needs a result, too. After looking very strong in preseason, the Italian has amassed just seven points from the first two races, after going 9-16 in rounds one and two.
Featured image courtesy of Gold and Goose/KTM