News 13 Oct 2017

Toparis taking open mind into world championship debut

Australian Supersport number three on-track at Motegi today.

Image: Russell Colvin.

Cube Racing’s Tom Toparis was a surprise starter in Phillip Island’s race three of the Australian Moto3 Championship last weekend after sealing third overall in the Supersport standings as a rookie.

Toparis, 17, rode a stock Honda NSF250R to second behind newly-crowned national champion Joel Kelso, finishing just 0.333s in arrears after setting the fastest lap, despite completing minimal laps during practice and qualifying.

It was a decision made to provide him added grand prix experience prior to contesting the Japanese round of the Moto3 World Championship this weekend, since his short career has been limited to production-based racing in Supersport and Supersport 300 to date.

With opening practice commencing in wet conditions at Motegi this morning, Leda Nutrition-backed Toparis will take his first laps on the older generation Kalex KTM that was previously used by Kiefer Racing. He will face a steep learning curve throughout the weekend, but is carrying an open mind into the round.

“I did about two laps properly on Friday and then had to do a lap in qualifying so I could race the last one, but I didn’t want to affect my Supersport results,” Toparis told “The bike wasn’t set up for me and it was dead standard, but I had fun and it was good to roll around with Joel. Surely that will be helpful when we get to Motegi, as I’d done laps at Wakefield Park, but never on a proper grand prix track riding the Moto3 bike.

“The first goal is to try qualify and then after that whatever happens is a bonus. By the time we get to Australia we want to be a lot closer to the guys that are at the back or wherever, but wherever we can put ourselves will be awesome. It’s a complete unknown for me as I have never ridden the KTM, so I’m excited, but a little bit scared at the same time. It’s going to be a good experience either way though!”

This weekend’s Japanese grand prix will be instrumental in terms of experience for Toparis, one week prior to lining up at home in the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island on back-to-back race weekends.