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Intriguing competition in thrilling Moto3™ class

Intriguing competition in thrilling Moto3™ class

With two of the three Spanish riders who dominated the Moto3™ class last year – eventual title winner Maverick Viñales and regular race winner Luis Salom – both having graduated to Moto2™ in 2014, there are several new candidates who will be shooting for the podium at Round 1 in Qatar.

Indeed, the new season promises to produce an intriguing championship battle right from the word go. Having missed out on the title to Viñales on the last corner of the last race in an incredible season of racing in 2013, Alex Rins opted to remain in Moto3™ for another season.

Rins scored six race wins and 14 podiums in total last year so his objectives are to maintain that form and to stay in front of his rapidly improving Estrella Galicia 0,0 team-mate Alex Marquez, the younger sibling of MotoGP™ sensation Marc. After an operation on his right wrist, Rins missed some of the pre-season and he and Marquez are now on Honda Moto3™ machines, so their pace in Qatar will be interesting to see.

One of Red Bull KTM Ajo’s new recruits for 2014, Jack Miller, has been on the pace in testing – and he will be looking for a strong start at the Losail International Circuit as he looks to avoid the inconsistency and injuries which have hampered him in the past.

Miller shares a box with talented young Czech prospect Karel Hanika, who has also shown his pace in test outings and he joins the World Championship as the reigning Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup champion some new circuits to learn. Could he stun the paddock with victory in his first Grand Prix?

Hanika’s fellow countryman Jakub Kornfeil starts his fifth full GP season at perhaps his most competitive level to date, riding in the Calvo Team KTM alongside Brazilian Eric Granado and Spaniard Isaac Viñales – the three of them aspiring to reach the podium in the desert.

Another interesting project for 2014 is the arrival of Husqvarna on the World Championship scene, with the KTM-backed brand coming into Grand Prix racing to be steered to success by Englishman Danny Kent and Finn Niklas Ajo. Kent is aiming to win races again after returning from Moto2™.

Could this be the year the Italians mount a resurgence in the smaller class? Junior Team GO&FUN Moto3 and Niccolo Antonelli certainly hope so and there is also huge interest in Italy in the new Sky Racing Team By VR46 team, featuring Romano Fenati and Francesco Bagnaia. Fenati was of course on the Qatar podium in 2012 as he made his GP debut.

Also keep an eye out for Portugal’s Miguel Oliveira on the Mahindra and his new Australian colleague Arthur Sissis, as they look for a decent points haul at the first race of the year.

Moto3™ free practice at the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar commences on Thursday at 6pm local time (GMT +3).


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