2023 Season Review: Furusato Shines in Second Half, Claims First Podium

2023 Season Review: Furusato Shines in Second Half, Claims First Podium

The Moto3 class of the 2023 FIM World Championship Grand Prix were held over 20 rounds. Honda Team Asia, a Honda team aimed at nurturing top riders from Asia, was represented by Taiyo Furusato and Mario Aji, both in their second year for the team. Furusato was particularly successful in the second half of the season, achieving numerous podium finishes, while Aji rode persistent race.

Frustrating First Half Marred by Crashes

In the opening round in Portugal, Aji, who qualified 22nd, and Furusato, who was 26th due to a crash, finished 18th and 20th, respectively. Although they were outside the points, their persistence would pay off later in the season.

In the third round, the Grand Prix of the Americas, Aji made a big move from 25th to finish 12th. He brought home the team's first points of the season.

In Round 4, Spain, Furusato rode hard from 24th on the grid to finish 16th. Although he was one step short of scoring points, he finished within 14 seconds of the leader, the smallest gap ever in the team’s history. In the 5th round in France, Furusato was in 12th position when he crashed with five turns remaining. In the sixth round, the Italian GP, he was seventh when he crashed on the last lap at the final turn. The frustrating races continued as he came very close, but missed out on points.

In Round 7, Germany, Furusato once again demonstrated he was able to fight at the front, finishing tenth and scoring his first points of the season. During this race, Tatchakorn Buasri made his World Championship debut as a spot entry and finished 25th.

Taiyo Furusato at Round 7, Germany
Taiyo Furusato at Round 7, Germany

In the second half of the season, Furusato gained maturity and was competing in the leading group. In Round 11, Catalunya, he fought at the front in a close race, and although he was separated from the leaders towards the end, finished 13th and scored points. The gap to the leader was 6.485 seconds. In the following round, San Marino, Furusato lost a position in the early stages, but regained it and finished 11th, earning points again.

Furusato was not so lucky in Round 13, India, as he ended up retiring. However, in the next round in Japan, his home grand prix, Furusato finished 12th. In Round 15, Indonesia, he was in contention for a podium, finishing a personal best of seventh, just 0.811 seconds behind the leader. In this race, Arbi Aditama made his Moto3 debut on home turf as a spot entry and fought for points, eventually finishing 17th.

Arbi Aditama at Round 15, Indonesia
Arbi Aditama at Round 15, Indonesia

Furusato Claims First Podium

In Round 16, Australia, Furusato rode a strong race undeterred by the stormy weather of heavy rain, cold, and strong winds to finish in seventh place. In the following round in Thailand, he qualified sixth, a tie for his personal best, and in the race, he led the race at times to finish second, only 0.266 seconds behind the winner. This was his first podium finish in the world championship.

Taiyo Furusato at Round 17, Thailand
Taiyo Furusato at Round 17, Thailand

In the final round in Valencia, Furusato started from 16th grid, and finished 11th. For Furusato, 2023 was a big leap forward with 63 points, compared to the 2 points he gained in the Japan GP in last season.

Aji’s season was tough, failing to score points since Round 3. In 2024, Furusato will continue in the Moto3 class, while Aji will be racing in Moto2, both continuing to race as Honda Team Asia riders.

Mario Aji at Round 20, Valencia
Mario Aji at Round 20, Valencia


Pos. Rider Num. チーム Constr. Pts
1 Jaume MASIA 5 Leopard Racing Honda 274
2 Ayumu SASAKI 71 Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP Husqvarna 268
3 David ALONSO 80 Valresa GASGAS Aspar M3 GasGas 245
4 Deniz ÖNCÜ 53 Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM 223
5 Daniel HOLGADO 96 Red Bull KTM Tech3 KTM 220
6 Ivan ORTOLA 48 Angeluss MTA Team KTM 187
11 Kaito TOBA 27 SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda 105
14 Riccardo ROSSI 54 SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda 79
16 Taiyo FURUSATO 72 Honda Team Asia Honda 63
18 Matteo BERTELLE 18 Rivacold Snipers Team Honda 57
19 Tatsuki SUZUKI 24 Leopard Racing Honda 50
20 Romano FENATI 55 Rivacold Snipers Team Honda 35
22 Adrian FERNANDEZ 31 Leopard Racing Honda 25
23 Scott OGDEN 19 VisionTrack Racing Team Honda 24
29 Nicola Fabio CARRARO 9 Rivacold Snipers Team Honda 5
30 Joshua WHATLEY 70 VisionTrack Racing Team Honda 5
31 Mario Suryo AJI 64 Honda Team Asia Honda 4

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