17-year-old Australian, Tom Toparis will be making his eagerly anticipated debut for the Moto3 World Championship this weekend at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan (13-15 October).
Today, Toparis will take part in Free Practice sessions and take to the track with the best young riders in the world. After the Japanese Grand Prix, Toparis’ attention will then turn towards the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix (20-22 October).
Toparis last rode in the last round of the 2017 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul Pirelli (ASBK) Motul Supersport Class, and his focus now turns towards performing at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Toparis sharing; “I know it’s going to be tough this weekend, I won’t know the track nor the bike. However, once we return back to Phillip Island the following weekend for the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, to a track that I have raced at last weekend and two times before the final round, we should be a lot better.
“Just the experience will be fantastic,” Toparis said. “I don’t expect anything out of it in terms of picking up a ride within the Moto3 Championship. A lot of riders go into something like what I’m doing and expect to get a ride overseas. This is a great opportunity which is something I will never forget. To be able to go up around the top of Lukey Heights at Phillip Island and have someone such as Nicolò Bulega or Joan Mir go around the outside of you would be pretty mind blowing.
“For me, these Moto3 wildcard rides will be very different to what I am currently riding, but as I said it’s a great opportunity. I just have to make the most of it and try and adapt to it as quickly as I can, as it will be a new bike which I won’t be able to test on.
“Throw in the fact I’ll be racing at Motegi, which is a new track for me and I won’t be able to test there before the round. I admit, it’s a bit scary as I’m getting thrown into the deep end with riding a new bike on a new circuit against the best riders in the world.
“My goal is not to do 20-laps by myself and manage to engage in battles with riders at times. If I can tag onto some of the riders, which is a big ask, and finish towards the backend of the field that would be a great start.
“I just want to say a massive thank you to Riki Lanyon once again for making this experience a reality, this would not be possible without his energy and support. Massive thanks to him and his business Leda Nutrition.
“Also thanks to 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 given us.
“I’m just so excited to get over to Japan and then to Phillip Island and go racing. Fingers crossed we can have a good few rounds,” Toparis finished.
To watch Toparis in action make sure to tune into Fox Sports 506, Friday to Sunday.
Photo Andrew Gosling