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21 days ago
By Honda Team Asia

Toba and Atiratphuvapat at Honda Team Asia in 2017

Pawi moves up to join Nakagami in Moto2™ as Toba and Atiratphuvapat graduate to the Moto3™ World Championship

Tags MotoGP, 2017

Honda Team Asia have announced that Japanese rider Kaito Toba and Thai rider Nakarin Atiratphuvapat will participate in the 2017 Moto3™ World Championship as their official riders.

Sixteen-year-old Toba, from Fukuoka, Japan, was the first ever Asia Talent Cup Champion when he won the title in 2014. In 2016, he finished fourth in FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Junior World Championship, with three podiums - including an impressive victory in Valencia - and also participated in Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, taking fifth in the final standings with three podiums (1 victory, 1 second place, 1 third place).

Twenty-year-old Nakarin from Khon Kaen, Thailand, took fourth in the championship standings in the 2015 Asia Talent Cup - achieving two victories; on home turf at Chang International Circuit and at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. He also participated in FIM CEV Repsol Junior Moto3™ World Championship in 2016.

2016 Moto3™ World Championship race winner Khairul Idham Pawi moves up with the team to ride for the Moto2™ effort Idemitsu Honda Team Asia in 2017 - alongside Moto2™ race winner Takaaki Nakagami.

Tadayuki Okada -  Team Manager: “For the 2017 season, our team will line up Japanese youngster Kaito Toba and Thai hopeful Nakarin Atiratphuvapat. Having finished Valencia test in mid-November, we have already confirmed their high potential. In order to make a good fight in the Moto3 World Championship, they will build up their riding skills, sheer determination and physical strength. With these young riders, we Honda Team Asia will put together our everything to demonstrate good performance as soon as the 2017 season starts.”

Kaito Toba: “I feel very excited to take part in the Moto3 World Championship. But I understand this is just a starting-line. The real competition in my racing career will start from right here. For sure, it will not be easy and I am ready to face with this new challenge. Always never forget gratitude to everyone and not to spoil myself, I will give my everything to show my full potential!”

Nakarin Atiratphuvapat: “I am so happy and excited to join the Moto3 World Championship and to compete with the best riders around the world. I will use this opportunity to improve my riding skills and I have set my target as win Rookie of the Year. I believe this is a great team with high experience in the World Championship and it makes me very confident!”