Japanese Moto3 Grand Prix Preview

Ayumu Sasaki Japanese GP

Round 15 at Aragón had huge ramifications for the Moto3 title race. Now it’s Japan’s turn to offer more twists to the championship tale.

The wonderful Mobility Resort Motegi hosts round 16 of the 2022 season this weekend (24/25/26 September). It’s the first time MotoGP has been back to Japan since 2019, and marks the start of four flyaways in the next five weeks.

A lot has changed since the last visit to Motegi, most of the current Moto3 riders have never raced there, including championship leader Izan Guevara. After a sensational weekend in Aragón, the Spaniard has a 33 point advantage over his closest challenger, teammate Sergio Garcia.

Whilst Guevara’s lead looks insurmountable, Garcia does have a slight advantage having raced at Motegi in 2019, where he finished 5th. He wasn’t the only current Moto3 rider to finish that race in the top 10. Tatsuki Suzuki, John McPhee, Jaume Masia, and Andrea Migno also had strong finishes.

The 2019 event was a race to forget for Dennis Foggia. The Italian finished 23rd, almost 33 seconds behind the leader. He does still have a chance to take the Moto3 crown, albeit a slim one. Having shown flashes of excellence this season, the inconsistency of old has resurfaced, and the gap to Guevara now stands at 58 points with just five races remaining.

A rider desperate to impress his home crowd will be Max Racing’s Ayumu Sasaki. The 21-year-old has shown fantastic pace this season, and has established himself as one of the frontrunners in Moto3. Whilst it’s extremely unlikely he’ll win the championship at this stage, he is certainly worth keeping an eye on for the rest of the season.

Eighteen year-old Kanta Hamada is set to make his Grand Prix debut, replacing the the injured Alberto Surra for the Rivacold Snipers Team. The Japanese rider has previously competed in the Asia Talent Cup, and should be familiar with the circuit at Motegi.

There were doubts about whether or not the race would take place last week as Japan was hit by Typhoon Nanmadol. Millions were told to evacuate, but fortunately the storm has dissipated, and the Island has begun the recovery process.

Rain is forecast for the entire weekend, adding intrigue to what should be an exciting event. Fans in the UK will need to have their alarm clocks primed as the race is scheduled to start at 12:00pm local time (04:00am GMT).

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Guevara Reigns Supreme in Aragón

izan guevara aragon moto3

A dominant ride from Izan Guevara saw the Spaniard extend his championship lead to 33 points while his title rivals struggled at MotorLand Aragón.

Guevara was confident going into the weekend after taking the championship lead from his Aspar teammate Sergio Garcia in the last round at Misano. After wowing the paddock with an acrobatic handstand before securing a comfortable pole position on Saturday, the 18-year-old never looked back en route to his 4th win of the season.

Izan was joined on the front row by Ayumu Sasaki and Dani Holgado. The trio enjoyed good launches and immediately set about pulling away from the rest of the field. British youngster Josh Whatley was taken out at turn 1 in an incident involving Nicola Carraro and Lorenzo Fellon.

Following a disappointing qualifying session, Garcia was desperate to make up places from the 4th row on the grid. It was confirmed yesterday that the Spanish rider would be competing in Moto2 next season with Pons Racing, but he found himself caught in a scrap in the middle of the pack while the leaders pulled away.

After managing to get his championship challenge back on track with a win in Misano, Dennis Foggia struggled from the start at Aragón. The Leopard Honda rider couldn’t seem to find the pace he needed to challenge his rivals and quickly found himself outside the top 10.

The leading trio were in a different league to the rest, increasing the gap behind them by roughly half a second each lap. Deniz Öncü muscled his way up to 4th but despite his best efforts was unable to bridge the gap to the front group.

While the leaders pulled away, it was a typical Moto3 battle for the rest of the field. Sixteen year old rookie David Muñoz practically ran through KTM rider Adrian Fernandez, earning a long-lap penalty for his troubles.

With 3 laps to go Holgado began to drop off from the leading pair as the pace simply became too much for the young Spaniard. Sasaki was the only rider able to stick with the leader who was simply unassailable.

The result was never in question, as Guevara secured his fifth win in Moto3 and probably his best. Sasaki was an admiral runner-up and Holgado secured his first Grand Prix podium. It was a race to forget for Garcia and Foggia who finished in 13th and 14 respectively.

With his rivals struggling, Guevara’s 33 point championship lead makes him the clear favourite for the Moto3 crown, but with 5 rounds remaining, anything can happen.

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Aragon GP Moto3 Preview

motorland aragon preview

The Misano Maestro reigned supreme in San Marino, but who will be crowned the King of Spain? 

The spectacular MotorLand Aragón circuit, located in Alcañiz, Spain, will host the MotoGP circus for round 15 of the 2022 season this weekend (16/17/18 September).

All eyes will be on the Spanish duo of Izan Guevara and Sergio Garcia. The GASGAS Aspar riders have had some epic battles on track this season and with rumours of a promotion to Moto2 for whoever comes out on top, neither rider needs any more motivation.

Guevara heads to Aragón as the championship leader for the first time this season, having occupied second place in the standings for much of the 2022 campaign. He has capitalised on the misfortune of his title rivals in recent weeks, and is one of the most consistent riders on the grid this year.

On the contrary, Garcia has struggled since returning from the summer break. He was taken out at Silverstone by an over-eager Ayumu Sasaki, and was black-flagged from the Misano GP after a disastrous start to the race. The 19-year-old will be hoping to bounce back and restore his championship lead this weekend.

Elsewhere Dennis Foggia has enjoyed a return to form and is mounting a late charge to take the Moto3 crown. With 2 wins in the last 3 races, the Italian has found his feet after a disappointing start to the season. He’s now just 35 points behind Guevara in the standings. Himself and Leopard Honda teammate Tatsuki Suzuki have shown great pace since the summer break.

British fans will be pleased to learn that VisionTrack Racing Team youngsters Scott Ogden and Josh Whatley have solid records at MotorLand Aragón. Ogden has numerous point finishes in JuniorGP and the Red Bull Rookies Cup whilst Whatley had his best finish in the European Talent Cup at the circuit.

In a historic first for MotoGP, Angeluss MTA racing are entering an all-female team this weekend. María Herrera returns to the class as a wildcard entry and will be backed by a crew of exclusively female mechanics. The project aims to increase the presence of women in motorcycle racing.

The weather forecast for the weekend looks great. Warm temperatures are expected with clear skies on Friday and Saturday and some cloud cover anticipated on Sunday. The race is due to start at 11:00am local time (10:00am GMT).

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Moto3: Misano Maestro Strikes Again

dennis foggia misano san marino gp

Dennis Foggia celebrated his promotion to Moto2 in style with a confident win at the San Marino Grand Prix, retaining his crown as the King of Misano.

Buoyed by the announcement that he will be moving up to the intermediate class with Italtrans next season, the Leopard Honda rider carved his way through the field from the third row of the grid and never looked back.

It was a typically eventful start to the race, with Deniz Öncü getting a great launch from pole position. Izan Guevara was hot on the leaders tail with a flying start from row 2, but it didn’t take long for the drama to unfold.

After a dominant win in the previous race at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, Japanese rider Ayumu Sasaki was clattered from behind by Nicola Carraro, effectively ending his already slim chance of a title challenge. Elsewhere championship leader Sergio Garcia was forced wide causing him to lose ground on the leaders.

Guevara cemented his good start by snatching the lead from Öncü on lap 2, and quickly set about establishing a gap between himself and the rest of the field.

Desperate to recover from his lap 1 incident, Garcia was the fastest man on track before a 4th lap tangle with Öncü forced him to run wide again, losing more ground in the process. The nightmare continued for the Aspar man, who crashed at turn 4 on the following lap. He was able to continue, but any hope of a points finish was gone.

At the front of the race, Guevara’s lead was diminishing with Foggia, Dani Holgado and Jaume Masiá closing the gap behind him. After reeling in the Spaniard, Foggia made his move to take the lead on lap 10.

After a visit to the pits, Garcia was a lap down, yet continued to battle with the riders in midfield. After slowing down Britain’s John McPhee, the GASGAS rider was shown the black flag, ending a miserable day.

With his teammate out of the race, Guevara had a great chance to boost his title hopes. On lap 17 he briefly took the lead, but Foggia struck back allowing Masiá to snatch 2nd place from the new championship leader.

As the race neared it’s conclusion, Guevara made numerous attempts to take the lead but was unable to get the better of Foggia. He was now under pressure from Masiá and Öncü, who had caught leading trio.

On the final lap of the race Öncü lunged from 4th to 2nd, with himself, Masiá and Guevara all exchanging places. Foggia took advantage of the melee behind him, and hit his marks confidently to take his second victory of the season. Masiá finished 2nd with Guevara 3rd.

Foggia becomes the first rider to win three races at the same track in Moto3, and is just 35 points off the championship lead. It was a weekend to forget for Garcia, he is now 11 points behind teammate Guevara, who tops the championship standings with 204 points.

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Moto3: San Marino GP Preview

Moto3 fans were treated to an Austrian masterclass from Ayumu Sasaki at the Red Bull Ring. With the championship battle edging towards it’s climax, can the Japanese sensation muscle his way into title contention?

The Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in the Italian province of Rimini will host round 14 of the 2022 Moto3 season this weekend (02/03/04 September).

After winning both races in Misano last year, Leopard Honda’s Dennis Foggia heads into the weekend buoyed by the fanatical backing of the Italian supporters. The 21-year-old lost ground on his title rivals in Austria, and will be hoping to bounce back after a disappointing 12th place finish.

The duel between Spanish teammates Sergio Garcia and Izan Guevara for the Moto3 crown continues. Top 10 finishes from the GASGAS duo put even more ground between themselves and the rest of the field, with Foggia their closest threat now 49 points off the championship lead.

With just 5 points separating Garcia and Guevara, it’s hard to picture anyone else winning the championship, but after a dominant ride in the Styrian mountains, Sasaki has given himself a chance, albeit a slim one, to mount a late charge for the title.

Sasaki’s Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max teammate John McPhee will once again carry the hopes of British fans. A blunder in qualifying at the Red Bull Ring meant he started towards the back of the grid, but the Scotsman rallied to finish 9th after a strong ride through the field.

Elsewhere, Turkish rider Deniz Öncü has been in good form since returning from the summer break. The Red Bull KTM rider is still searching for his first win in Moto3. There’s no question that he has the pace to compete at the business end of the field, with 4 podium trophies in the class, the 19-year-old will be desperate to get onto the top step.

Whatever happens, the Italian crowds are in for a treat this weekend, though they’ll need to bring their waterproofs. The forecast for the weekend looks ominous, with showers anticipated on Saturday and thunderstorms expected on Sunday. The race is due to start at 11:00am local time (10:00am GMT).

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Moto3: Sasaki Dominates The Austrian GP

Moto3 Austria 2022 Ayumu Sasaki

Not even two long-lap penalties could stop Ayumu Sasaki from storming through the field en route to a dominant win in at the Red Bull Ring, his second victory in Moto3.

The Japanese rider had shown great pace all weekend, but having been handed a double long-lap penalty from the previous round at Silverstone, few expected a win from the Husqvarna man.

Sasaki capitalised on his front-row grid position and settled straight into an early tussle with fellow Japanese rider Tatsuki Suzuki and Deniz Öncü for the lead of the race. He briefly held P1 before serving his penalties, which caused him to drop down to 21st position.

As is often the case in Moto3, the lead changed hands numerous times, with multiple riders taking advantage of the tow along the start/finish straight. A bold move from David Muñoz on lap 5 saw him fly from 4th to 1st at turn 1. The leading group surged towards the new chicane, where Öncü was forced wide, causing him to drop to 9th.

The Team Aspar duo of Sergio Garcia and Izan Guevara were making progress through the pack and joined the leading group with Guevara taking the lead from Suzuki at the start of lap 6.

As predicted before the race, gaps started to appear throughout the field. Several riders set personal fastest laps to try and stay with the leaders, but none were faster than Sasaki who was carving his way towards the front.

By lap 10, he had caught up to the leading group and forced his way past Garcia, who received a track limits warning for his troubles. Nobody was able to match Sasaki’s pace, and he continued to pick off the riders ahead of him with ease.

As Guevara led the pack into lap 13, Sasaki was all-over the GASGAS riders exhaust, hurrying him through the chicane and sliding into first place at turn 3. Suzuki followed his countryman past Guevara to put his Leopard Honda into 2nd.

Sasaki looked in complete control in the lead of the race, Suzuki was keeping him honest, but was unable to get close enough to make a passing attempt as the laps continued to tick past.

On lap 17 Jaume Masiá crashed in turn 3, the Spanish rider had struggled all weekend but was able to re-join the race. Elsewhere the Aspar riders were racing each other very aggressively, with Garcia passing Guevara and forcing him wide at turn 10 in the process.

In the closing stages, Suzuki had to contend with a hard charging Öncü and was unable to attack Sasaki who rode flawlessly to take the chequered flag. Suzuki held onto 2nd with Muñoz beating Öncü to the final step on the podium.

Garcia finished 5th, increasing the gap in the championship standings over his teammate Guevara to 5 points. It was a day to forget for fellow championship rival Denis Foggia who finished 12th, the Italian is now 49 points off the championship lead. Sasaki’s win puts him 55 points behind Garcia in the standings.

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Moto3: Austrian GP Preview

The second half of the 2022 Moto3 season began in style with a thrilling British Grand Prix barely a fortnight ago. Now that the dust has settled, our attention turns to the Red Bull Ring in Austria for Round 13 of the championship this coming weekend (19/20/21 August).

Moto3 Sergio Garcia Picture courtesy of Aspar Team

The GASGAS Aspar duo of Sergio Garcia and Izan Guevara were unstoppable during the first half of the season, they sit first and second in the championship standings respectively, despite both crashing out in the latter stages at Silverstone. The chequered flag was taken by title rival Dennis Foggia, who masterfully guided his Leopard Racing Honda to victory, capitalising on the Spanish riders misfortune. The Italian is now just 42 points behind Garcia in the race for the Moto3 crown.

Perhaps the biggest talking point ahead of the Austrian GP is the new chicane which has been installed to reduce speeds on the approach to turn 3. The alteration was prompted after an incident in the 2020 MotoGP race, where Franco Morbidelli and Johann Zarco came together at high speed, nearly collecting the Yamaha duo of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales in the process.

The revised layout has divided opinions, with some riders suggesting that the new chicane itself is dangerous. How the racing will be affected remains to be seen, but the hope of course is that the changes will lead to more overtaking as well as improved safety.

Moto3 Izan Guevara Picture courtesy of Aspar Team

As is often the case in this class, there are a number of contenders for victory. Last year’s podium finishers will all be in the hunt this weekend. 2021’s race was won by the aforementioned Garcia, with 3 wins already this season, he is probably the favourite. Turkish rider Deniz Öncü is still searching for his maiden Moto3 win, he was last year’s runner up and has the added motivation of Austria being both KTM and Red Bull’s home race. Foggia, who was third, has shown steady improvements in his results of late, though he knows as well as anyone that more victories will be required if he is to win the championship.

British fan’s hopes will once again rest upon the shoulders of Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max rider, John McPhee. The Scotsman rode well at Silverstone and almost led at one stage, though a chaotic final lap saw him shuffled back to 7th place. Visiontrack Racing Team’s Scott Ogden made progress through the field after a poor showing in qualifying, finishing 12th. He and teammate Josh Whatley will be hoping for better fortunes this weekend.

Moto3 Dennis Foggia Picture courtesy of Le0pard Racing

Weather was an infamous factor at the Red Bull Ring in 2021, and the forecast suggests it will be again this year. Thunderstorms are predicted for Friday, with showers anticipated on both Saturday and Sunday. The race is scheduled to start at 11:00am local time (10:00am GMT).

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