With MotoGP hero Jack Miller providing ambassadorial support, five Australians will this week compete at the 2023 FIM MiniGP World Series in Valencia, Spain.
The event, which brings together the cream of FIM MiniGP riders from domestic series across the globe – Canada and Germany the latest to join the fray in 2023 – will be the biggest yet as the 160cc class joins the 190cc cohort for the first time.
That also equates to an expanded Aussie presence in 2023, with Cameron Dunker, Levi Russo and Harrison Watts to contest the 190cc class, and Rikki Henry and Jake Paige the 160cc category.
The quintet earned the right to travel to Valencia following the 2023 FIM MiniGP Australia Series, which concluded in Melbourne in late September.
Dunker, who’s in a strong position to win the 2023 Australian Supersport Championship in early December, was a runaway winner in the 190cc class from the fast-finishing Russo and Watts, while Henry was the 160cc champion after a year-long arm wrestle with Paige.
There will be 34 riders in the 160cc class in Valencia, and 21 in the 190cc battle.
“I know all the kids over there will be small and fast, but it’ll be a lot of fun and hopefully we’ll be on the podium,” said Dunker who, like all the FIM MiniGP Australia Series riders, receives tutelage from multiple Australian Superbike champion, Wayne Maxwell.
Team Australia is now settled in Spain ahead of official proceedings, with Watts on his second trip to Valencia after competing in the 2022 FIM MiniGP World Series.
This year’s program will commence with practice around the Circuit Ricardo Tormo kart circuit on November 21, followed by qualifying and racing over the following two days as the 2023 champions are crowned.
The ceremonial element will include a special photo session alongside the event ambassadors on November 22 – including Miller in the Australian corner – while Johann Zarco and Jorge Martin will also present trophies to the stars of tomorrow.
Watts was a huge rap for Miller at the 2022 FIM MiniGP World Series in Valencia, with the laconic Queenslander going above and beyond to help the Australian riders settle in.
The FIM MiniGP initiative is a key pillar in Dorna’s Road to MotoGP development program, and the Australian series began in 2022 with support from Motorcycling Australia.
Italian manufacturer Ohvale is the exclusive supplier to the FIM MiniGP Series until 2027, which also includes the local Ohvale Australia connection.
For more information on the 2023 FIM MiniGP World Series, visit www.fim-minigpworldseries.com.
Images: RB Moto Lens