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.

Joan Mir

Joan Mir 36

“This weekend we face ‘match point’ for the first time, but I think the best thing to do is to not think too much about the championship. Instead I think the best way to work is to work like we always do, because so far this season this system has worked well. Motegi will be a tough track for everyone and I expect another close race, so it’s impossible to predict if I will be champion or not on Sunday.”

Leopard Racing
Romano Fenati

Romano Fenati 5

“The triple-header of races is very demanding, but always a great experience! I’ve been training a lot to prepare for this part of the championship in the best way and now I am looking forward to getting back on track. I really like the three circuits; in particular Motegi and Phillip Island. Even Sepang is good, the only negative point there is the heat and humidity. We are ready to face the last part of the season, the morale is high and we hope to get the best possible results.”

Marinelli Rivacold Snipers
Aron Canet

Aron Canet 44

“The Japanese Grand Prix is ​​a very different race. It takes place outside Europe, with a very special circuit and a great atmosphere. The fans support the riders unconditionally at Motegi and we sign more autographs there than at any other race. It’s a very beautiful experience to engage with a culture as unique as Japan. The layout of Motegi is quite tricky because it has very tight corners and it’s difficult to stop the bike on the speed turns, but this year we have improved a lot in this respect, so hopefully this time around things will go much better. Last year the time difference affected me a lot, but now I think I’m better prepared to face the situation.”

Estrella Galicia 0,0
Motul Grand Prix of Japan

Twin Ring Motegi, Japan

Moto3 2017, Round 15

Rider Standings
Sunday, 24 Sep 2017 - Open world standings grid
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr.
1 Joan MIR 36 SPA 271 Leopard Racing Honda
2 Romano FENATI 5 ITA 191 Marinelli Rivacold Snipers Honda
3 Aron CANET 44 SPA 173 Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda
4 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO 21 ITA 137 Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda
5 Jorge MARTIN 88 SPA 134 Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda
6 John MCPHEE 17 GBR 106 British Talent Team Honda
7 Marcos RAMIREZ 42 SPA 104 Platinum Bay Real Estate KTM
8 Andrea MIGNO 16 ITA 103 SKY Racing Team VR46 KTM
9 Enea BASTIANINI 33 ITA 103 Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda
10 Philipp OETTL 65 GER 91 Schedl GP Racing KTM
11 Juanfran GUEVARA 58 SPA 75 RBA Racing Team KTM
12 Nicolò BULEGA 8 ITA 75 SKY Racing Team VR46 KTM
13 Bo BENDSNEYDER 64 NDL 48 Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM
14 Livio LOI 11 BEL 47 Leopard Racing Honda
15 Tatsuki SUZUKI 24 JPN 46 SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda
16 Gabriel RODRIGO 19 RSM 39 RBA Racing Team KTM
17 Darryn BINDER 40 RSA 35 Platinum Bay Real Estate KTM
18 Jules DANILO 95 FRA 29 Marinelli Rivacold Snipers Honda
19 Adam NORRODIN 7 MAL 29 SIC Racing Team Honda
20 Niccolò ANTONELLI 23 ITA 16 Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM
21 Ayumu SASAKI 71 JPN 16 SIC Racing Team Honda
22 Jakub KORNFEIL 84 CZE 14 Peugeot SaxoPrint RTG Peugeot
23 Albert ARENAS 75 SPA 14 Mahindra Motard Aspar Mahindra
24 Jaume MASIA 15 SPA 13 Platinum Bay Real Estate KTM
25 Nakarin ATIRATPHUVAP 41 THA 11 Honda Team Asia Honda
26 Dennis FOGGIA 10 ITA 10 Platinum Bay Real Estate KTM
27 Kaito TOBA 27 JPN 7 Honda Team Asia Honda
28 Danny KENT 52 GBR 6 Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM
29 Manuel PAGLIANI 96 ITA 6 CIP Mahindra
30 Marco BEZZECCHI 12 ITA 4 CIP Mahindra
31 Alex FABBRI 57 RSM 3 Minimoto Portomaggiore Mahindra
32 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA 48 ITA 3 Mahindra Motard Aspar Mahindra
33 Tony ARBOLINO 14 ITA 1 SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda