Tom Toparis splashed his way around Motegi on KTM Moto3 today
Goulburn teenager Tom Toparis had his high-profile debut on the world stage today at Motegi in some of the worst conditions imaginable.
Toparis finished the sessions last on the timesheets but within what will eventually be the qualifying cut-off limit and only marginally slower than full time Japanese Honda Team Asia rider Kaito Toba.
“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. 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.
“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.