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Bastianini and Antonelli: a role reversal in the Junior Team?

Bastianini and Antonelli: a role reversal in the Junior Team?

There have been surprises aplenty in Moto3™ so far this year, not least in Junior Team GO&FUN Moto3 where Niccolo Antonelli and newcomer Enea Bastianini have created a number of headlines over the opening six races.

The duo have certainly had their moments, both good and bad. It all started in pre-season testing, when 18-year-old Antonelli posted a string of seemingly rapid lap times which on paper shot him into the shop window as a potential title candidate. By contrast, rookie team-mate Bastianini quietly entered the World Championship scene: a whole new environment yet to be discovered by the younger of the two Italians.

Just two months later and it seems as though the tables have turned. Despite a fantastic front row starting position in Jerez, it has been Antonelli who has suffered the lack of luck and a number of crashes; despite his experience in the class, the fact is that he has so far scored only in one race (the Qatar season-opener). He’s proven to be fast but fragile. On the other hand, just across the other side of the team ‘box’ is 16-year-old, Rimini-born debutant Bastianini. He may be the youngest rider on the lightweight class grid, but continues to demonstrate flashes of brilliance.

It is true that Bastianini has committed some unforced errors, however he appears to be learning from them and not repeating the faux pas. Mugello was his finest performance yet, running in the leading group and challenging for victory until being taken out of action in a final lap incident. It was a Grand Prix described by the man himself as ‘the race of my life’.

It may still be too soon for his first win, but teenager Enea Bastianini continues to lead the way for the new riders in Moto3™ - which includes edging out Karel Hanika, the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Champion - and to demonstrate that he is capable of picking up a podium finish, possibly before his more experienced team-mate. However, two thirds of the season still remain and the balance could still swing back in the favour of Antonelli; the Junior Team duel promises to be enticing…

Moto3, 2014

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