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The Australian GP will bear witness to a host of home-grown talent competing across the upcoming race weekend, with riders representing the host nation in all three of the Championship classes.
Alongside season regulars like Townsville native Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) in the premier class and Moto2™’s Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing), there will be two other local riders to keep an eye on. Veteran rider Broc Parkes (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) is added to the MotoGP™ line up as he steps in to replace the recovering Jonas Folger, and wildcard Tom Toparis (Cube Racing) joins Moto3™ once again.
Parkes will partner Johann Zarco at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 after the Australian's success competing with the Yamaha Austria Racing Team in the Endurance World Championship. Parkes last raced in Australia for the FXSuperbike Series in 2013, where he took the title, and in 2014 when he was racing for PBM in MotoGP™.
Debuting this year in the Grand Prix at Motegi last weekend, wildcard rider Tom Toparis (Cube Racing) was recently awarded runner-up in the Australian Supersport Championship aboard the Cube Racing Kawasaki XR6R. The young gun got to the end of the race despite a lack of experience on a Moto3™ machine in the torrential conditions.
Beginning a two-wheeled racing career in motocross at the age of 9, Toparis has been on tarmac since 2016, when he joined with Cube Racing Team for the Australian 300cc Production Championship at Wakefield Park Raceway – his home circuit in Goulburn, approximately 2 hours south-west of Sydney.
By this time last year, Cube Racing Team had given Toparis the chance to step up into the Australian Supersport class – with his first race featured as a support to the Australian GP. 2017 has been throttle to the limiter for the 17-year-old New South Welshman, and with home-grown heroes right there beside him, the likes of Troy Bayliss and Ben Henry bringing him under their wing – the young 600cc rider is taking notes.
Explaining his feelings after the Wildcard decision was released, the Australian was adamant he “could never have previously imagined being at this point in my racing life after only two years on the track,” but Toparis is geared up and ready for the chance to be back out there with the world’s best.
Round 16 gets underway at Phillip Island with Moto3™ Free Practice 1 on Friday at 10:00am (GMT+11).