Goulburn’s motorcycle racing superstar Tom Toparis will fly the Australian flag in the Moto3™ class, after it was announced last Monday by Motorcycling Australia (MA) that the seventeen year old was granted a Moto3™ wildcard entry for the Motul Grand Prix of Japan and Aussie round, a week later at the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
Toparis, who finished in fourteenth place overall at last weekend’s sixth round of the Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) in the Supersport category at Sydney Motorsport Park regarded the two upcoming Moto3™ wildcard rides as one of the best opportunities that he has ever had since he started road racing in 2016.
Toparis will saddle up on an ex Kiefer Racing Kalex KTM machine which was raced by Germans Luca Grünwald in 2014. The bike was brought by Riki Lanyon from Leda Nutrition, one of the main sponsors of the Cube Racing team in the ASBK series.
“When the team and I started talking about a possible Moto3™ wildcard ride for Japan and Australia, it honestly felt so surreal,” said Toparis, who has only raced at Phillip Island twice in the Supersport class, being at last year’s Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix and the opening round of this year’s Australian Supersport Championship in February.
“There was no way I would have even imagined taking part in the MotoGP™ series as a wildcard rider in Moto3™ in just under two years of my road racing career. I just can’t thank Riki [Lanyon], Ben Henry from Cube Performance Centre, Darryl Griffiths from Shotz Sports Nutrition, Marty Redshaw from Underground Designs, Australian Outdoor Living and Motorcycling Australia for the support they have thrown behind this project. I just hope I can do everyone and Australia proud.”
A Moto3 machine will be unlike anything that Toparis has ever competed on before. Toparis will ride a bike which is restricted to a single-cylinder 250cc four-stroke engine, which is pumping out around 60BHP compared to what he’s been riding this year which is an inline four cylinder 600cc machine that produces around 130BHP.
The first time that Toparis will ride the Kalex KTM will be at the fifteenth round of the Moto3™ World Championship at the 4.8km Twin Ring Motegi circuit on the second weekend of October.
However, Toparis has organised a bike for to test on and hopefully he can get several laps in before the Japanese and Australian round.
Toparis admits that competing at the front will be likely out of the question, however he’s hoping to gain valuable experience and knowledge from the wildcard appearances.
“I’m expecting my crew to largely be made up of the Cube Racing team from the Australian Supersport Championship, so that helps by having continuity,” added Toparis.
This weekend Toparis will have his first test session aboard a Moto3 machine at Broadford State Motorcycle Sports Complex, while later this month he will also test at the 4.445km seaside circuit.
The Goulburn Post also understands that Toparis could possibly do double duties at the final round of the ASBK championship by racing in the Supersport class as well as the Australian Moto3 class to gain more valuable testing time ahead of his two Moto3 wildcard races.
For more information regarding tickets for this year’s Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, head to www.motogp.com.au or contact the Australian Grand Prix Corporation on (03) 9258 7100
Stayed tuned to the Goulburn Post next week for an exclusive one-on-one with Toparis as he talks about making his international racing debut in the Moto3™ World Championship.