CEV Repsol Valencia: Sunday roundup – Ramirez, Odendaal and Scheib, first leaders of the FIM CEV Repsol
Sixteen thousand fans came this Sunday to witness the opening round of the FIM CEV Repsol held today at the Circuit de la Comunitat Valencia. Although the skies were slightly overcast, the temperature was pleasant and there was no wind. With everything in their favour, Ramírez and Toba took wins in the Moto3™ Junior World Championship, as did Granado and Odendaal in the Moto2™ European Championship, Scheib in the Superbike European Championship and Carrau in the Kawasaki Z Cup.
The young Moto3™ Junior World Championship riders had the fans out of their seats during the first race. Jaume Masia (SPA-Honda) brought the first blast of excitement as he charged into the lead from sixth on the grid. But immediately Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ITA-Husqvarna) stole first position, trailed closely by Dennis Foggia (ITA-KTM), Marcos Ramírez (SPA-KTM), Asia Talent Team pair Kaito Toba (JPN-Honda) and Ayumu Sasaki (JPN-Honda) and the two Junior Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders Jaume Masia (SPA-Honda) and Jeremy Alcoba (SPA-Honda). With the front pack riding close together and constantly switching places, Marcos Ramírez (SPA-KTM) waited until a few laps from the finish to go on the attack and pull ahead. Meanwhile, his pursuers were falling away: an error took Kaito Toba (JPN-Honda) out of the running, Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ITA-Husqvarna) dropped back to sixth place and Jaume Masia (SPA-Honda) went down on the last lap. The Leopard Junior Stratos rider took the flag with arms raised in triumph, followed by Dennis Foggia (ITA-KTM) of the VR46 Riders Academy rider, with Jeremy Alcoba (SPA-Honda) coming in third.
In the second Moto3™ Junior World Championship race, Marcos Ramírez (SPA-KTM) and Kaito Toba (JPN-Honda) set a fast pace that took them away from the chasing riders and left them lapping together for the entire race. Behind them, Rory Skinner (GBR-FTR KTM) – who had charged through the field from a tenth place start – Dennis Foggia (ITA-KTM), Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ITA-Husqvarna), Makar Iurchenko (KAZ-KTM) and Jeremy Alcoba (SPA-Honda) fought an exhilarating battle for third, continually changing positions as they rode. Rory Skinner (GBR-FTR KTM) and Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ITA-Husqvarna) eventually crashed out, leaving their rivals to benefit. The final outcome of the race was in doubt right to the end, when Kaito Toba (JPN-Honda) passed the leader on the final lap and held out to take the flag, earning his first 25 points in the championship and the first “Repsol free fuel cheque”. The second and third podium steps were filled by Marcos Ramírez (SPA-KTM) and Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ITA-Husqvarna). Aleix Viu (SPA-Honda) was fastest in both races of the Moto3™ Production class.
Brazilian Eric Granado (BRA-Kalex) dominated the first race in the Moto2™ European Championship to win comfortably. Accompanied initially by Steven Odendaal (RSA-Kalex), Remy Gardner (AUS-Kalex-Honda) and Alan Techer (FRA-NTS Tpro) all riding close together, the eventual winner pulled away steadily to ride alone from the eighth lap to the end. Some way back Steven Odendaal (RSA-Kalex) and Alan Techer (FRA-NTS T pro) tussled for second place, gradually leaving Remy Gardner (AUS-Kalex-Honda) trailing. A few laps from the flag, the South African rider had pulled out a gap of around five seconds over his French rival, and he crossed the line comfortably to take the second step of the podium, while Alan Techer (FRA-NTS Tpro) added 16 points to his overall total. Second place starter Tetsuta Nagashima (JPN-Kalex) fell on the first lap and lost the chance to get his first points of the new season.
At 2PM the second Moto2™ European Championship race began, once again with Eric Granado (BRA-Kalex) dominating until he fell surprisingly after just two laps. With the horizon now clear, Steven Odendaal (RSA-Kalex) set the pace for five laps until a hard-charging Remy Gardner (AUS-Kalex-Honda) took the lead until the ninth lap. With just over half the race run, the South African fought back to pass the Australian rider and then opened up a gap to leave his opponents behind. Steven Odendaal (RSA-Kalex) took the flag, notching up his first victory in the FIM CEV Repsol and winning the “Repsol free fuel cheque”, followed by Alan Techer (FRA-NTS Tpro) and Federico Fuligni (ITA-Kalex). Jacopo Cretaro (ITA-Yamaha), was first of the Superstock 600 riders, riding impressively in both races.
Race Direction decided that the Superbike European Championship race would be run over 14 laps. From lights off Santiago Barragán (SPA-BMW), Alejandro Medina (SPA-Yamaha), Maximilian Scheib (CHI-BMW) and Carmelo Morales (SPA-Yamaha) charged away. These riders kept their positions until the middle of the race, when the Spanish Yamaha Laglisse rider took the lead in a brilliant manoeuvre, while Santiago Barragán (SPA-BMW) lost ground after overshooting. When everything seemed decided in favour of the current class champion, a sudden total loss of pressure in his rear tire surprised Carmelo Morales (SPA-Yamaha) and left him out of the race three laps from the end. Maximilian Scheib (CHI-BMW) took his first FIM CEV Repsol victory, in addition to the “Repsol free fuel cheque”. In second place came Alejandro Medina (SPA-Yamaha) and third, Santiago Barragán (SPA-BMW). Among the privateer riders the best time was set by Niko Mäkinen (FIN-Yamaha).
The closing race of the day was the second Kawasaki Z Cup race of the weekend. Dani Carrau added his second victory this season, with Marc Cortell taking second place once again. Eduard Rojas took third.
The next round of FIM CEV Repsol will take place at Le Mans on 6th and 7th May, where the second round of the season will be held with the running of the Moto3™ Junior World Championship.
Marcos Ramirez – Moto3 first race winner
“We pushed hard from the beginning so that the leading group would be reduced to the minimum, but I saw that it was impossible and I decided to be conservative and keep myself on the top places. Some laps after, I took the lead again and I did my best to get a small advantage, that I was able to increase slowly and that allowed me to take the win.”
Kaito Toba – Moto3 second race winner
“Conditions were very tough today and the race was difficult, especially due to the high wind. I decided to hold behind Marcos Ramirez and wait to attack during the last lap, in a corner I knew I could brake very late and I was able to pass him. I’m very happy with today’s win.”
Eric Granado – Moto2 first race winner
“It was quite a tough race, especially at the beginning, because I didn’t have a good start and it was a bit of a mess. The first lap was very complicated because Nagashima fell ahead of me, I had to avoid him and that made me lose some ground from the leaders. But I could slowly recover my pace, which is something we had worked on a lot these last few days and I kept calm. This strategy worked very well and we were able to win in the end. The preseason work had its reward and I want to thank the team.”
Steven Odendaal – Moto2 second race winner
“I’m very happy with this first weekend of the season. This is what the team and I needed to improve our confidence. I’m very happy with my race, although unfortunately Eric Granado just made a mistake and I just had to take advantage of it. I felt very well on the bike with the changes we did for the last race, but there was a lot of wind and the race pace slowed down a bit. I want to thank the team for the job they did.”
Maximilian Scheib – Superbike race winner
“We kept calm at the beginning of the race and I think that being conservative at that time was the key to the race. We completed the first five laps being very cautious, with a soft riding and that benefitted us in the end. I ended with a good and consistent pace that allowed me to take the victory”.
The next round of the FIM CEV Repsol will take place next May 7 in France, at the Le Mans circuit, and only the Junior World Championship riders will take part in it. The European Moto2 and Superbike Championship will resume the action in MotorLand Aragon in May 29th.