The Road Racing World Championship (MotoGP) comprises not only of the 1000cc MotoGP class, but the intermediate displacement Moto2 class and the small displacement Moto3 class as well.
In addition to being the gateway to the pinnacle class, Moto2 / Moto3 is also very exciting because of the smaller performance differences between the bikes leading to close, heated battles.
Title Favorite IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia
In the Moto2 class, the organizer supplies official 3-cylinder 765cc Triumph engines, and teams build their racing bikes based on this engine in cooperation with chassis builders. There is no purely Honda racing bike in this class, but Honda-supported riders and IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia compete in the class. The riders are Ai Ogura, in his third Moto2 season, and Thai rider Somkiat Chantra, in his fifth year, both of whom have made their world debuts after having competed in the Asia Talent Cup organized by Honda and Dorna.
Ai Ogura debuted in the Moto3 class in 2019, and fought for the championship and finished third overall in his second season. In 2021 he move up to the Moto2 class, and in 2022 was a championship contender with seven podium finishes including three wins. Although he was unable to win the title due to a crash in the final race of the season, Ogura won the Japan Grand Prix, held for the first time in three years, much to the delight of Japanese racing fans. This year, as the leading contender for the championship, Ogura will be competing in the season with even greater expectations and attention.
His teammate, Somkiat Chantra, won the Asia Talent Cup in 2016. Since then he competed in the CEV Moto3 Junior World Championship, moving to Moto2 in 2019. Last season, in his fourth year with the team, Chantra scored his first win in Round 2, Indonesia, and has since continued to show consistent improvement, finishing on the podium four times and closing the season 10th overall. In his fifth year, Chantra and Ogura will both be looking to win the title.
Honda-trained Riders Aiming Higher in the Moto3 Class
In the Moto3 class, Honda Team Asia will field two Honda-trained riders, Taiyo Furusato and Mario Aji. They will ride the 4-stroke 250cc single-cylinder Honda NSF250RW, which performed well in the winter tests.
Taiyo Furusato became the first rider in history to win all seven rounds in the Asia Talent Cup in 2021. Joining the Rookies Cup mid-season, Furusato won his debut race in Italy, gaining much attention. Last year he debuted in the Moto3 class, only to miss the first two rounds due to injury. It was a year of learning, with many tracks new to him, but in the late stages of the season, Furusato won his first championship points in the Japanese round by finishing 14th. Expectations are high for his second season.
Indonesian rider Mario Aji made his debut in the Moto3 class last year after having competed in the Asia Talent Cup, Rookies Cup, and CEV Moto3 Junior World Championship. He demonstrated his speed with two front row starts and scored points twice. His best finish was 13th in the Italian Grand Prix.
Honda launched Honda Team Asia in 2013 with the aim of discovering and nurturing riders from Asia to compete on the world stage. The team has developed many riders so far, and in addition to the four riders competing in the Moto2 and Moto3 classes, Japanese riders Ayumu Sasaki, Kaito Toba, and Ryusei Yamanaka are Honda-trained. Honda looks forward to seeing how these riders from Asia will perform on the world stage this year.