Binder won’t be reigning Moto3 king for much longer. The amazing Joan Mir (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) brings an astonishing 80-point championship lead to Motegi. All the 20-year-old Spaniard needs to do to claim the 2017 Moto3 World Champion is finish Sunday’s Moto3 race with a 75-point lead.
This year no other rider across all three classes has dominated like Mir, and this despite the fact that Moto3 regularly delivers the closest racing in MotoGP, with the difference between winning and losing often no more than a few hundredths of a second.
Mir isn’t the only outstanding performer in Moto3. Honda NSF250RW’s has utterly dominated the 2017 championship, winning all bar one of the 14 races so far and currently filling the top six positions in the points standings.
Mir’s closest rival is COTA and Misano winner Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers Honda NSF250RW), who has 191 points, compared to Mir’s 271. Fenati isn’t entirely safe in his quest for the runner-up spot. The 21-year-old Italian has 17-year-old Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) just 18 points behind. Canet won his first Grand Prix at Jerez in May and has climbed to the top step of the podium twice since, at Assen and Silverstone.
Canet is well clear of Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Racing Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) and Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Racing Moto3 Honda NSF250RW), who are just three points apart in their battle for fourth overall. Both riders have been podium regulars this year, although Martin missed two midseason races through injury.
The final rider in Honda’s mighty half dozen is John McPhee (British Talent Team Honda NSF250RW), who has finished on the podium at three races this year. The Briton holds a single-point advantage over seventh-placed Marcos Ramirez (KTM).
Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) had a difficult start to 2017 but has recently turned a corner to take two podium finishes from the last three races. This weekend Bastianini believes he can take the next step to victory, because he scored his last Moto3 win at Motegi last October.
Moto3’s top Japanese rider of 2017 is Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) who has scored five top-ten results this year, with a best of three eighth-place finishes in Argentina, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. The 19-year-old from Chiba is placed 15th overall, with rookie Ayumu Sasaki (SIC Racing Team Honda NSF250RW) in 21st. The 16-year-old from Yokosuka is enjoying a promising first year in GPs, with five points-scoring finishes so far, including a best of eighth place at the Italian GP, where he finished just seven tenths of a second behind the winner!
Japan has hosted a round of the motorcycling World Championships on and off since 1963, when the Japanese GP was held at the brand-new Suzuka circuit, the country’s first roadrace venue. Honda founder Soichiro Honda built Suzuka to give his countrymen the chance to compete on a real racetrack, helping to improve Japanese riders and Japanese machinery, and to bring GP racing to Japan. Motegi staged its first World Championship race in 1999. The track is a great test for riders and machines, with braking stability and acceleration performance especially important.
MotoGP’s Asia-Pacific adventure continues next weekend in Australia and the following weekend in Malaysia. The season concludes at Valencia, Spain, on November 12th.