READY. SET. GO! 2023 JuniorGP™ field set for Round 1

Another season of titanic battles, broken records and signing names in the history books is about to start, but who will triumph at the end?

The 2023 Finetwork FIM JuniorGP™ World Championship is ready for lift off as the opening round beckons from its traditional starting point in Portugal: the iconic Circuito do Estoril. Steeped in history, the Portuguese venue always provides thrilling drama across all classes. This year, the Finetwork FIM JuniorGP™ World Championship, Moto2™ European Championship, European Talent Cup and the new Stock European Championship will battle it out across seven rounds as each go in a bid for glory.

The JuniorGP™ class will burst into life this weekend and there are plenty of riders who may well be able to get down to business from the start. The highest-placed returnee from 2022's Championship battle is Angel Piqueras (Team Estrella Galicia 0,0), who was fifth overall last year with three podiums, although a win wasn't quite achieved. After him, the next-highest is the most recent race winner in the class, as David Almansa (Finetwork Mir Racing Team) readies to return to action with the same team he won the final race of 2022 with. He's also got Moto3™ World Championship experience under his belt already this year, with three rides all in the top 20. After Almansa, Thai rider Tatchakorn Buasri (Honda Racing Thailand) will hope to add to his win tally after taking victory at Estoril at the start of his 2022 campaign.

Whilst those names will be sure to feature at the front, there are also plenty of fast rookies, returnees and riders looking to make a step to keep an eye on. Dominant at Estoril in the European Talent Cup last year, Joel Esteban (Aspar Junior Team) graduates to the JuniorGP™ category in 2023, whilst after a first full year in the class last year, Adrian Cruces (STV Laglisse Racing) goes in search of more podiums. His teammate, Alvaro Carpe, is also back for a second year, as is Eddie O'Shea (British Talent Team), although the Brit is recovering from surgery. There are 14 different nationalities on the grid this year, from South American and Uruguay with Facundo Llambias (Team Estrella Galicia 0,0) to Oceania via New Zealander Cormac Buchanan (AGR Team), so there'll be plenty for fans to cheer on all over the world right from the start of the season.

In the Moto2™ ECh, the lights will go out at Estoril too, and with the reigning Champion Lukas Tulovic into the Moto2™ World Championship, there's a land of opportunity to be taken. Senna Agius (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP Junior Team) is the obvious favourite coming into the season, with two wins and nine podiums from last year. He was on the podium in 2022 at Estoril, whilst finishing fourth in the Championship last year, Alex Toledo (Easyrace Team) is back once again and he'll hope to take a first win in the class. Xavier Cardelus (Promoracing) likewise returns and had four podiums in 2022, whilst a first win remains the target. Also on the entry list in 2023 are some well-known names coming from the MotoGP™ paddock, including four-time Moto3™ winner Niccolo Antonelli (MMR) and podium finisher and 2019 JuniorGP™ runner-up Carlos Tatay (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team), whilst Australian Harrison Voight (Yamaha Philippines Stylobike Racing Team) moves onto bigger machinery from JuniorGP™.

In the European Talent Cup, the land of opportunity is even bigger as fresh faces look set to come to the fore, but there will be one rider with a clear target on his back. Reigning Champion Guido Pini (AC Racing Team) will be back to defend his crown, and he'll do so with the #1 proudly displayed. A win last season was backed up with consistency, and he'll see if he can become the first rider in the history of the class to defend a title successfully. The next highest-placed returnee from 2022 is Irish star Casey O'Gorman (VisionTrack Racing Team), a race winner last year and one of the main contenders in the second half of the season. After taking the title in 2021, meanwhile, Maximo Quiles (Aspar Junior Team) hopes to claim it back in 2023. He suffered two crashes at Estoril last year and doesn't want to start his 2023 campaign in the same way. There will also be 21 different nationalities represented in the ETC, making it a truly international title chase.

Finally, the Stock class in 2023 will have plenty of spotlight as it will have its own race. Unlike in previous years, when it was a race within the Moto2™ ECh, this year it becomes the standalone Stock ECh. Daniel Muñoz (SP57 Racing Team) is one of the key names in the category, along with the likes of Dino Iozzo (IUM Motorsports), Carter Brown (CF Motorsport), Corey Tinker (Easyrace Team) and Alex Millan (Fifty Motorsport). Who will take the first spoils in the very first season?

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