Tom Booth-Amos comes to Silverstone with a point to prove. The Englishman has endured luckless campaign in the FIM Junior World Championship, but a wildcard for Leopard Racing at his home grand prix represents a chance to prove he is worthy of a seat on the world stage.

The 22-year old began the year full of promise after dominating the British Motostar series in 2017 and coming close to a point-scoring finish at last year’s British Grand Prix. Yet a handful of injuries left him on the sidelines for five of the season’s seven races. In the other two, he suffered hapless falls.

But Booth-Amos still harbours ambitions of being a world championship regular. The chance this weekend, aboard Joan Mir’s 2017 Honda, could lead to place on next year’s Moto3 world championship grid if everything goes to plan. And that plan is to finish in the top 15.

Here, he tells Crash.net about his season so far, how the ride came about, and his expectations for the weekend ahead.

Silverstone MotoGP

Crash.net:
How did this come about?

Tom Booth-Amos:
I don’t know, is the honest answer. It would have made sense to ride the British Talent Team bike as it’s the British Grand Prix but I don’t think the logistics were possible. IRTA and Dorna put together a plan and put me in Leopard, which is obviously nothing to complain about!

Crash.net:
Your bike this weekend is the same as Enea Bastianini’s and Lorenzo Dalla Porta’s?

Tom Booth-Amos:
It’s the bike [Joan] Mir won on last year so there’s nothing wrong with the bike. That’s for sure. There are no excuses.

Crash.net:
Have you tested it before this weekend?

Tom Booth-Amos:
No, nothing. Obviously I haven’t really ridden much this year. I did the first round of the FIM Junior World Championship, and led the race, which was good. I haven’t really done much. My last race was at Aragon and I got taken out again, so it’s not been a great amount of luck. It’s nice to be back in England. I know this track. I was here two weeks ago to see what the new surface is like. We’re ready. Let’s see how we get on.

Crash.net:
What was you impression of the new surface?

Tom Booth-Amos:
To be honest, I think it’s worse than before. Without being disrespectful to Silverstone, it isn’t great. Originally it was good before the cars went on it. But Formula1 was here and that must have made it worse. I struggled quite badly two weeks ago. I thought it was worse than last year. We’ll see tomorrow.

Crash.net:
You had a really promising wildcard performance here last year. That must give you some belief coming into this weekend.

Tom Booth-Amos:
Yeah, we know we can get the job done. Well, I know I can. Qualifying was a struggle last year. I only did a few laps. If I had started further up the grid I’d have definitely been in the top 15 or the top ten. The times were there. I was quicker than Fenati in the race. It was promising last year. It was just a shame we started where we did. We’ll see this year if we get a better grid position. I know we can be there.

Crash.net:
You had such a strong year in the British Motostar series last year, dominating the championship. You moved to the British Talent Team in the FIM Junior World Championship this year. How would you assess 2018 to date?

Tom Booth-Amos:
So far it’s been difficult. I went to round one in Estoril, led the race. It looked like I had the win in the bag. My team-mate overtook me, had a moment and I had nowhere to go and crashed. That was a shame. Since then it just went downhill. At Valencia I crashed and broke my right wrist and hand. I didn’t race there. I went to round three at Le Mans, thought I would be OK but we found a break in my left wrist as well from the crash at Estoril that we didn’t know about, because I hadn’t ridden at all. Then it took a while to figure out what the problem was. I got my left arm operated on. Now we’re back to normal fitness-wise. I’ve been at the physio everyday pretty much for the past two months getting it back to normal. We’re ready to go.

Crash.net:
In terms of riding position, do you feel comfortable or is that still a bit of a struggle?

Tom Booth-Amos:
Yeah, I’ve been training a fair bit, getting ready for this. The other week at Aragon my fitness was fine. It was like 45 degrees. I was taken out, but I still finished the race and my fitness was perfect. No excuses this weekend.

Crash.net:
Luck clearly hasn’t been on your side this year. How have you kept your chin up?

Tom Booth-Amos:
This is my chance. I’ve got this year and possibly next year to prove that I can do it. This is possibly my two years, otherwise I’m not going to be a motorbike racer. So obviously you have to keep going and push through it. I know I can do it. I know I can be in this MotoGP paddock racing every weekend. You have to look at the end goal. I want to be a motorbike rider so I have to keep pushing through. Hopefully a good result this weekend and then I can go back to the Junior World Championship and get some more good results.

Crash.net:
The British Talent team with whom you’re working… Is that the same squad John McPhee was racing with last year?

Tom Booth-Amos:
Yes, it’s the same. I have a few of the same mechanics and my crew chief is the same. There are five bikes in my team, which is called the Junior Talent Team. There are a lot of people there and I’ve got some fast team-mates. It works quite well with them. We haven’t had luck on our side. I’m trying to get this weekend over with, get a good result and go back there and finish the season off strongly.

Crash.net:
You mentioned you have two years to prove you can make it… Have there been any discussions regarding next year?

Tom Booth-Amos:
Obviously I don’t know where it’s going to go. They only me a couple of weeks ago that I was riding for Leopard at the MotoGP! The goal is to be in Moto3 so if we can come here next year and get a ride, then that would be perfect. We have to sit down and see if it’s possible and how we can go about doing it.

Crash.net:
What would represent a strong weekend for you here?

Tom Booth-Amos:
A stronger result than last year, so in the points ideally. I was leading the second group last year and my pace was good enough to be in the front. A top 15 in the points would be good. I think I wouldn’t be happy if I wasn’t.