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2018 will see four riders from the FIM CEV Repsol on the Moto3™ World Championship grid this year. So, let’s find out about more about the talent progressing up through the ranks and what they achieved in 2017 that has granted them a promotion.
2018 Team: Sky Racing Team VR46
First up, the reigning Moto3™ Junior World Champion, Dennis Foggia. Born in Rome and making his racing debut eight years old. Such is his talent that Foggia was headhunted by Valentino Rossi’s VR46 Riders Academy whilst racing in Italy in 2013 and soon progressed to the Moto3™ Junior World Championship as part of the FIM CEV Repsol just three years later.
Racing with the Junior Team VR46 Riders Academy, Foggia immediately impressed by claiming second on his debut on-board a KTM. Several points finishes and a podium at the final round followed. The Rome-born rider made a step forward in 2017, claiming five rostrums and four victories – including three successively – throughout the year and wrapped up the title one round early in Aragon. Foggia also made three appearances in the Moto3™ World Championship, recording a best finish of seventh in Valencia.
His impressive performances in both the CEV and the Moto3™ World Championship this year show that he can comfortably race amongst the best and that he could be a podium challenger this season. Only time will tell, but the future is bright for the young Italian.
FIM CEV Repsol: A crucial hunting ground for future stars
2018 Team: Bester Capital Dubai
Another hot competitor in Moto3™ for 2017 is Jaume Masia. The Valencian-born rider debuted in racing aged six and quickly progressed up the ladder. In 2015, Masia progressed to the Moto3™ Junior World Championship with the Junior Team Estrella Galica where a strong debut year and difficult second year saw him finishing fifth and 15th overall in the Championship.
A change of scenery was afoot for the 17-year-old in 2017 as he moved to the Cuna de Campeones team on-board a KTM. A vastly more successful season saw Masia claiming four rostrums and two victories at Aragon and Valencia, culminating in him finishing second in the title race, despite three DNFs. The Spaniard’s big chance however came when he was unexpectedly called up to replace the injured Darryn Binder from Austria to Aragon; an emphatic performance in the first race saw Masia in the podium battle for the majority of the race before finishing ninth. He was signed immediately by the Bester Capital Dubai team (formerly Platinum Bay Real Estate) for 2018 and will compete on a KTM alongside Marcos Ramirez.
2018 Team: Estrella Galicia 0,0
A strong challenger for Foggia this year has been Alonso Lopez, who graduates to the Moto3™ World Championship after two years competing in the FIM CEV Repsol. After taking a series of national titles, the Madrid-born racer made his debut in the Moto3™ Junior World Championship in 2016. After a slow start, Lopez bounced back to take two successive podiums at Aragon and Barcelona. Four non-scores sadly followed before two Top 10 finishes at the end of the year.
For the following season, Lopez made a step forward and masterfully claimed his debut victory after a last corner overtake in Le Mans. He backed up this performance with a second successive win in Barcelona. Unfortunately for Lopez, a series of DNFs prevented him from making a title charge, but his resilience and sheer pace did enough to earn him a ride with the Estrella Galicia 0,0 team in the Moto3™ World Championship for the 2018 season.
Lopez has all of the key skills to perform exceedingly well and with the experienced Aron Canet on the other side of the garage, there could be no better person for the 18-year-old to learn from.
2018 Team: CIP
Born in Russia to a Kazakhstan family, Makar Yurkchenko is the final rider on our list as he progresses to the lightweight class this year. After starting his career in motocross and ATV racing, Yurchenko moved to road racing in 2013 and saw him moving to the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and the Moto3™ Junior World Championship just one year later. Disaster would strike in the latter championship at Le Mans however as Yurchenko was involved in a huge crash which saw him sidelined for the majority of the season.
2017 saw Yurchenko solely focused on the FIM CEV Repsol and it was a decision that paid off as the Kazakhstani rider claimed his first podium at the opening round of the season in Albacete, with a second following at Estoril. Five non-finishes blotted his copybook throughout the season, however his on-track performances were enough for him to be signed by CIP for 2018 where the 19-year-old will ride a KTM.
Yurchenko clearly has the talent and ability to perform well, but his consistency will be the key attritribute that will need to be worked on for the season ahead. It will be very exciting to see how he performs against the world’s best this year.
2018 Team: RBA BOE Skull Rider
Kazuki Masaki hails from Fukuoka in Japan and was introduced into racing at the age of 3. After competing in various national championship during his early years, Masaki‘s big break came in 2015 when he graduated to the Asia Talent Cup.
Finishing third overall in his first year, Masaki claimed two victories at Motegi and Sepang and with his evident talent, he was promoted to the Moto3™ Junior World Championship for the following season with the Asia Talent Team, finishing an impressive 10th overall in a fiercely competitive field. 2017 saw the Fukuoka-born rider competing in both the Moto3™ Junior World Championship and the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. Three podiums in the former was impressive, however in the latter he claimed two wins and seven podiums to win the title at the final round at Aragon.
For this season, Masaki debuts in the Moto3™ World Championship with the RBA BOE Skull Rider team on a KTM. With his impressive form in junior categories, he will surely be an exciting rider to watch this year.
The FIM CEV Repsol has been a breeding ground for new talent and it is hugely exciting to see so many new names on the grid in both the Moto2™ and Moto3™ World Championships for 2018. The #RoadToMotoGP is proving its worth hugely and with the clock ticking down, it will soon be time for lights out in Qatar!
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