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New year, new faces: the Junior Talent Team has seen a few changes for 2019. Yuki
Kunii remains, but the likes of Ai Ogura and Tom Booth-Amos have moved up to the Moto3™ World Championship and Somkiat Chantra to Moto2™, meaning there are some fresh talents ready to race in the JTT this season. Their first taste of the new year is set for the Circuito do Estoril in Portugal, with a two-day test opening the 2019 books before the season opener gets us in gear at the very same venue.
Reigning Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup Champion Bill Van Eerde and key IATC rivals Haruki Noguchi and Mario Aji are set to continue their rivalries as they join the JTT, and they’ll be joined by British Talent Cup alumnus Max Cook this season as he races in British Talent Team colours. Cook was third overall last year in the BTC, and in the JTT this year it’s a face-off between two of the biggest proponents of the Road to MotoGP™ program. The first two days on track will be important for all the newcomers as they aim to settle in to their new machinery and get to grips with the new challenge, with every bit of experience proving valuable – not least for the first race weekend of the year soon after.
Junior Talent Team: Winter Training Camp!
Veteran Yuki Kunii will be eager to get the measure of them though. A race winner in the FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Junior World Championship and now a very experienced competitor, he’ll be wanting to stay ahead of the new kids on the block from the start. Inside the garage, however, it’s both competition and teamwork – something not true of the rest of the grid. Kunii will be gunning for the front and aiming to set up a title challenge, making everyone a rival and every bit of track time important. The Japanese rider is looking for more than track time in the two day test – he’ll also be looking to hit the ground running with his push for the front.
Stay up to date with everything from the test at the classic Circuito do Estoril on the 25th and 26th March before the FIM CEV Repsol season opener on the 7th April at the same venue.