The Japanese rider is back within three points of the top – and was back on the podium last time out.
Last week it seemed the ball was firmly in Albert Arenas’ (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3) court but after another dramatic Grand Prix, the fight for the Moto3™ crown is almost back at deuce. The Championship lead is now just three points after the number 75 was caught in a crash, sustained damage, took to pitlane and headed back out… only to get Black Flagged for irresponsible riding, battling despite being a number of laps down. Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) capitalised on the open goal, taking yet another podium in third, and now it’s both three points at the top and fast becoming a two-horse race.
In the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, Arenas’ goal will be to bounce back quickly, put the Black Flag to bed and stamp some authority back on the standings. Ogura, on the other hand, arrives at maximum attack – and says he’s mentally back on his game. That may be a warning shot for Arenas, as the Japanese rider has more podiums than anyone and at times has made that look effortless. But then Arenas has made race-winning tactics look effortless sometimes too…
Although it’s fast becoming a two-horse race, on the way into Valencia second time around there nevertheless remain seven contenders for the crown. Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) is third overall; 20 points back, Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) is fourth with a deficit of 23 and Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) is fifth, 24 off the top. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) faces a longer shot from 38 points in arrears, and Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) is the last rider in with a mathematical chance, 39 points behind Arenas. Some are more likely than others, but nobody expected the drama that befell Vietti, McPhee and Masia last weekend – so there’s plenty time for another twist.
Will Ogura strike while the iron’s hot? Can Arenas take the pressure as he gets his first chance at the title? Or will another contender make life difficult for the two at the top? Find out on Sunday at 11:00 (GMT +1)!
Moto3™ Championship Standings
1 Albert Arenas – Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3 – KTM – 157
2 Ai Ogura – Honda Team Asia – Honda – 154
3 Celestino Vietti – Sky Racing Team VR46 – KTM – 137
4 Tony Arbolino – Rivacold Snipers Team – Honda – 134
5 Jaume Masia – Leopard Racing – Honda – 133
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