Sports Monks

Matsuyama masters Valencia to put the JTT on the front row

The Japanese rookie is the lead Junior Talent Team rider on the grid in the season finale, with Ogden also in the top ten

After a tougher qualifying in Aragon, Takuma Matsuyama was back with a bang at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo as the Junior Talent Team rider missed out on pole by just a tenth-and-a-half to earn himself second on the grid at Valencia. It’s his first front row start in the FIM Moto3™ Junior World Championship and he’ll lead the JTT charge on Saturday and Sunday, raring to race in the final three races of the season.

In bright and sunny conditions for the final rounds of the year, Matsuyma made the most of it to put in his best performance yet but it was a solid day all round for the Junior Talent Team. Talent Promotion maestro Alberto Puig was also on hand and will remain with the JTT on the first race day too, giving the team some extra tips and advice for the season finale.

Behind Matsuyama’s stunning second, next up was Scott Ogden as he made it two JTT riders in the top ten. The British Talent Team rider will start P10 and is less than half a tenth off the third row after another characteristically close day of action. Mario Aji isn’t far behind either. The Indonesian put in a solid day’s work to take 12th, only a tenth and a half off Ogden and completing the fourth row headed by the Brit. Aji suffered a small tumble – no harm done – and will be looking to end the season on a high with a solid haul of points.

Max Cook, meanwhile, had a tougher qualifying than his Aragon heroics as he’s set to line up 16th. The Brit will be confident of moving forward once the lights go out though, well within touch of those just ahead of him . Finally, Tatchakorn Buasri will start 21st. The Thai rookie took a tumble – rider ok – but had a solid day in Valencia. With such a close battle from the top ten right down to well outside the top twenty, Buasri will be pushing to make some steps forward in the races as he gets to grips with the Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

That’s a wrap for Friday, all that’s left to do now is go racing – three times! Tune in to watch the Junior Talent Team in action on Saturday at 13:00 (GMT +1) before the final two races of the season get underway at 11:00 and 14:00 on Sunday.

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