Honda’s hopes of achieving a fourth Moto3 Riders World Championship in five years may rest on the fitness of Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) this weekend. The World Championship leader crashed during practice at Brno, fracturing his left forearm. Martin immediately flew home to have the injury pinned and plated. The 20-year-old Spaniard hopes to be able to ride this weekend, but if he is able to make the trip to the Red Bull Ring he will have to pass a medical check-up before practice commences on Friday morning.
Martin had won five of the first nine races, proving the excellent performance of this year’s NSF250RW. Despite his non-start at Brno he currently stands just three points behind new series leader Marco Bezzechi, so his title hopes are far from over.
There are five riders who have a realistic chance of fighting for the title over the next three months, four of them riding the NSF250RW. Nineteen-year-old Italian Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) can’t wait for the Austrian round after fighting his way into title contention with a stunning first Grand Prix victory at Brno. Di Giannantonio fought a titanic battle with the Moto3 pack to beat Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) by one tenth of a second. His maiden win puts him third in the standings, only 14 points behind Bezzecchi, with 18-year-old Spaniard Canet also in the title mix, a further four points down.
Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) holds fifth place overall and is most likely the last rider in the title race. The 20-year-old Italian finished a very close fourth at Brno and is now 15 points behind Canet.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) and Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) are 11th and 12th in the standings, with 20-year-old Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) from Chiba in 14th after scoring points at three of the last four races.
The Red Bull Ring was constructed in 1969, when it was named the Osterreichring. The track has hosted motorcycle World Championship racing since the 1970s, with a round of the short-lived F750 series, and then in the 1980s, with rounds of the World Superbike Championship and the Endurance World Championship. A much-revised layout brought the Grand Prix World Championship to the track in 1996 and 1997, when Repsol Honda riders Alex Crivillé and Mick Doohan were triumphant. The circuit has been revised again since then.
Dominated by three first-gear corners followed by long straights, the Red Bull Ring works best for machines with excellent acceleration and braking. The three left-handers – a kink on the first straight and the interconnected turns six and seven – can cause grip issues if temperatures are low.