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Moto3 2013: Preview

A look at the main contenders ahead of the opening round of the 2013 Moto3 World Championship, at Qatar on April 7.
By Neil Morrison

The inaugural Moto3 World Championship received plaudits across the board, with seven different race winners, fourteen different riders on the podium and, at times, a compelling championship battle between three riders.

Fans saw epic battles in Assen, Mugello and Motegi with notable mentions going to the races in Aragon, Sepang and Valencia.

With reigning champion Sandro Cortese graduating to the Moto2 class and a raft of exciting rookies moving up from the Spanish and European championships (see separate story) 2013 promises to be just as exciting.

Here, we preview the likely contenders for the second Moto3 crown...

#25 Maverick Viñales – Spain - JHK Laglisse KTM
Spanish sensation Maverick Viñales scared himself when he hit the ground hard at the vicious Crivillé curve on the penultimate day of testing at Jerez. He lost the tip of a finger and needed a skin graft operation to correct it, but has recently been cleared to race in Qatar.

Before that, Vinales had enjoyed a highly successful off-season. He has quickly adapted to the factory backed KTM and only lost the top spot at the final test after he had injured himself. Still only 18, Vinales will look to put the chaotic end to 2012 behind him and will be very much focused on taking his 1st world title.

Official pre-season Test Results:
Valencia – 1st
Jerez I – 1st
Jerez II – 2nd
Gap from 1st place at above tests:
+0sec
+0sec
+0.229sec
Last year's championship placing: 3rd
He said: “On the one hand I'm happy because we have great pace and we have worked hard and well. Every day I feel more comfortable on the bike and the connection with the team is very good. But on the other it was a shame about the fall. Now it's time for calm and to recover to give it gas in Qatar.”

#39 Luis Salom – Spain - Red Bull Ajo KTM
Luis Salom moves to the official KTM squad on the bike vacated by the 2012 champion after maturing into a strong title contender last year. He has adapted well to the new KTM chassis and feels he has improved his riding when by himself, rather than relying on a tow from others. Question marks still remain over his slight inconsistencies and occasional rash judgements (see Motegi last year), but Salom will line up in Qatar as the main man to challenge Viñales.

Official pre-season Test Results:
Valencia – 3rd
Jerez I – 3rd
Jerez II – 1st
Gap from 1st place at above tests:
+0.370sec
+0.304sec
+0sec
Last year's championship placing: 2nd
He said: “The tests this year have been fruitful. I am riding against myself. In the test at Valencia and Jerez I was just two tenths of a second off the best time, which is nothing. I am learning a lot and I am very happy with the tests that I have had – and also the job that we've done with the team.”

#42 Alex Rins – Spain - Estrella Galicia KTM
Perhaps the greatest surprise of preseason testing has been 2012 Moto 3 Rookie of the year Alex Rins. Like fellow countryman Viñales he swapped Honda for KTM power for 2013 and has consistently been inside the top three ever since.

He reckons his new motor is superior in cornering, acceleration and top speed, reflecting his fast, consistent performances. He claims he has been learning a lot following the likes of Viñales and Salom and, under the watchful eye of team manager Emilio Alzamora, he'll be gunning for a championship push in 2013.

Official pre-season Test Results:
Valencia – 2nd
Jerez I – 2nd
Jerez II – 3rd
Gap from 1st place at above tests:
+0.286sec
+0.006sec
+0.236sec
Last year's championship placing: 5th



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Webb, Moto3 race, Aragon MotoGP 2012
Casey Stoner tests 2015 MotoGP Honda [credit: Aki Kusudo]
Casey Stoner tests 2015 MotoGP Honda [credit: Aki Kusudo]
Casey Stoner tests 2015 MotoGP Honda [credit: Aki Kusudo]
Casey Stoner tests 2015 MotoGP Honda [credit: Aki Kusudo]
Casey Stoner tests 2015 MotoGP Honda [credit: Aki Kusudo]
Casey Stoner tests 2015 MotoGP Honda [credit: Aki Kusudo]
Aki Kusudo
Miller, Malaysian Moto3 Race 2014
Miller, Malaysian Moto3 Race 2014
Rins, Malaysian Moto3 Race 2014
Miller, Malaysian Moto3 Race 2014
Azmi, Malaysian Moto3 Race 2014
Azmi, Malaysian Moto3 Race 2014
Azmi, Malaysian Moto3 Race 2014
Rins, Malaysian Moto3 Race 2014
Hanika, Malaysian Moto3 Race 2014
Miller, Malaysian Moto3 Race 2014

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Great racing - Unregistered

March 29, 2013 4:17 PM

I just hope that Honda can keep with Ktm on performance for this year be really great!! It will suck a bit if this end up like 125cc with Aprilia rulling the best chances of Win like it is with Ktm for now.. Aim loocking foward to wach Oliveira winning a race=)

Grendlehop

March 29, 2013 3:51 PM

I loved watching this class last year!! I had a Kawi KLX250SF, which is more of a wannabe supermotard, but I loved wringing its neck and how well it flicked into corners! I especially like how these bikes sound & watching the drafting on the longer straights. Hope Fahmi gets his 1st win soon! He's a good kid & came soooo close at his home race!



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