The Moto3™ class will begin their 2020 season at the QNB Grand Prix of Qatar and one thing you can guarantee is this: the lightweight class riders won’t disappoint. Moto3™ is always a spellbinding spectacle and this year will be no different.
Why? Well, there’s plenty of reasons. One of them being the number of Grand Prix race winners we have on the grid in 2020. There are 11 winners in total and Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) boasts the most with 11 GP victories in the lightweight class, with Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) his closest challenger with four wins. Aspar Team’s Albert Arenas has three to his name, with three riders chalking up two GP top step trophies: John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing), Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) and Khairul Idham Pawi (Petronas Sprinta Racing). Elsewhere, Andrea Migno (SKY Racing Team VR46), Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing), Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse), Kaito Toba (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) have one apiece.
And aiming to knock the more experienced riders off their perch is a bunch of incredibly quick rookies, some of whom you may already recognise. Red Bull KTM Tech 3’s Deniz Öncü – the leading rookie at the Qatar Test – is the youngest rider on the 2020 grid until Barry Baltus (CarXpert PrüstelGP) - who is replaced by Dirk Gieger until Le Mans - is eligible and will be a familiar name to many. Other familiar names could be reigning FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Junior World Champion Jeremy Alcoba (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) and 2019 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup winner Carlos Tatay (Reale Avintia Racing) – both will be looking to carry their stunning 2019 form onto the World stage. Yuki Kunii (Honda Team Asia) is another tipped for great things in 2020 and beyond, with Jason Dupasquier (CarXpert PrüstelGP), Maximilian Kofler (CIP Green Power), Davide Pizzoli (BOE Skull Rider Facile.Energy) and Ryusei Yamanaka (Estrella Galicia 0,0) also looking to make an impression against proven winners.
Furthermore, since 2007 and Qatar being the season opener, only once has the rider who went on to win the Championship not been on the podium in the Moto3™ race at Losail: Mike Di Meglio (P4, 2008). So, the opening race weekend will give us an early indication as to who is in the title scrap this year. Three of those could be Toba, McPhee and Fenati, all of whom have tasted podium success in Qatar in the Moto3™ class – Toba, of course, the winner of last year’s race.
Sticking on the topic of Qatar, look out for the Honda riders. Since 2015, the Japanese manufacturer-backed Moto3™ runners have reigned at the Losail International Circuit, Jack Miller was the last non-Honda Moto3™ Qatar GP race winner back in 2014. However, Aron Canet managed to stick his KTM on the rostrum last season, so the likes of Arenas – the leading KTM rider at the Qatar Test – and others will be confident of success.
So, a little taster for you ahead of the Moto3™ season. The racing never disappoints in the lightweight class and this year should be no different. You can watch the race LIVE at 16:20 local time (GMT+3) on VideoPass, as well as every practice and qualifying LIVE or OnDemand.