FIM CEV Repsol 2018 season gets underway at Estoril this weekend
After a long winter, a new season of the FIM CEV Repsol commences this weekend at the Circuito do Estoril, Portugal with the first round of a full calendar of eight events looking for this season’s new champions.
With current Moto3™ Junior World Championship title holder Dennis Foggia and such riders as Jaume Masiá, Alonso López, Makar Yurchenko and Red Bull Rookies Cup champion Kazuki Masaki now competing in the Moto3™ World Championship, Raúl Fernández (Ángel Nieto Team), Vicente Pérez (Reale Avintia Academy), Jeremy Alcoba (Junior Team Estrella Galicia 0.0), Sergio García (Junior Team Estrella Galicia 0.0), Ai Ogura (Asia Talent Team), Aarón Polanco (Leopard Junior), Apiwath Wongthananon (VR46 Master Camp Team) and Aleix Viu (Marinelli Sniper Team) will be part of the new group of riders battling for the Moto3™ JWC crown along with other riders such as Marc García (Max Racing Team), reigning WorldSSP300 champion.
After an ill-fated 2017 season, Raúl Fernández (Ángel Nieto Team) will be the man to beat after his team’s change of bike (from Mahindra to KTM) – though he won’t lack rivals in this first round with up to 46 riders registered. Worth noting among the challengers are newcomers Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo), champion of the Asia Talent Cup, and his brother Can Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo), as well as riders like Alex Toledo (Cuna de Campeones) and Andreas Pérez (Reale Avintia Academy) coming from the European Talent Cup.
Moto2™ sees the return of the ex-champions Jesko Raffin (Swiss Innovative Investors Junior) and Edgar Pons (AGR Team) to a Moto2™ European Championship where Héctor Garzó (Team Wimu CNS) must be the man to watch, along with Lukas Tulovic (Team Wimu CNS) and Dimas Ekky (Astra Honda Racing Team), after the departure of champion Eric Granado, Steven Odendaal and Joe Roberts to the Moto2™ World Championship.
Once again the ETC will be the first step towards the World Championship after a brilliant inaugural 2017 season. 49 riders have signed up for the first round at the Estoril Circuit where representatives of more than 15 different nationalities will be taking part. The arrival of new teams, including several ‘junior teams’, means that this category will have the largest grid of the FIM CEV Repsol. With so many participating forecasting is no easy task, but riders such as Francisco Gómez (Larresport Bradol), Iker García (Reale Avintia Blumaq HMA) and Alejandro Díez (Honda Impala) will surely be among those looking to take over from Manuel González as champion of the category in 2018.
The first round in Estoril comprises a two-race program for the Moto2™ and ETC categories, with one race in Moto3™. The European Kawasaki Z Cup returns this year to the FIM CEV Repsol although the first race won’t be until the second round of the season in Valencia on April 29.
This year’s opening round in Estoril marks the beginning of a season that continues in the Ricardo Tormo circuit on April 29, with a Moto3™ JWC race in Le Mans on May 19. All categories will return for the round in Barcelona on June 10, followed by MotorLand Aragón on July 29. On the 30th September Jerez hosts the sixth event of the season before Albacete, on October 14. The season’s final round will be in Valencia on November 25.
Next Sunday’s race schedule is as follows (local time):
ETC Race 1 (16 laps): 11.00
Moto2™ Race 1 (18 laps): 12.00
Moto3™ (17 laps): 13.00
ETC 2 Race 2 (16 laps): 14.00
Moto2™ Race 2 (18 laps): 15.00
The entrance to grandstands A, B and E will be free over the weekend with a paddock pass which will also enable fans to take part in the Pit Lane Walk on Sunday. The meeting point will be at the control tower at 10:05.
The FIM CEV Repsol’s TV presence continues to grow both in Europe and in the rest of the world. In Spain, Movistar MotoGP broadcasts live all of the scheduled races of the Moto3™ Junior World Championship, Moto2™ European Championship and European Talent Cup, as does BT Sports in the United Kingdom and Ireland. In Italy, Sky will broadcast live the Moto3™ Junior World Championship and the Moto2™ European Championship races.
Eurosport, through Eurosportplayer (France, Germany, Holland, Belgium and Romania), will also offer live coverage of all of the Moto3™ Junior World Championship, Moto2™ European Championship and European Talent Cup races. In Portugal, Sport TV consolidates its commitment to motorcycling by broadcasting live or recorded versions of all the races scheduled throughout the season. For the first time Hungarian fans will be able to enjoy the European Talent Cup thanks to recorded broadcasts by the Spiler TV channel.
Fans in Latin America, the United States, Canada and France will be able to experience recorded versions of all the races through Motosport TV, while their OTT will broadcast the races live. Band Sports television extends its coverage of the FIM CEV Repsol by showing recorded versions of the Moto3™ Junior World Championship and Moto2 ™ European Championship. Also joining TV coverage of the championship, the Edgesport Channel will broadcast live all the Moto3™ Junior World Championship, Moto2™ European Championship and European Talent Cup races, as well as being available 24/7 on various platforms with coverage in Abu Dhabi, Belgium, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Mongolia, Myanmar, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Pacific Islands, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Solomon Island, Thailand and Vietnam.
In addition, in those countries without television coverage, all races will be broadcast live through the championship’s Youtube channel.