MotoE: Torres and Ferrari take first wins of 2023 after spectacular first Saturday
Jordi Torres (Openbank Aspar Team) started 2023 on top! The Spaniard duelled compatriot Hector Garzo (Dynavolt Intact GP MotoE™) right to the line for the first honours of the new era, coming out on top after a last lap duel. Matteo Ferrari (Felo Gresini MotoE™) crashed out of the fight at the front and has a Long Lap for Race 2 after a dramatic start, with Randy Krummenacher (Dynavolt Intact GP MotoE™) coming through to complete the rostrum on his first electric start.
Garzo took the holeshot from Ferrari as the top two shot off the line, with Torres slotting into third from third on the grid. Nicolas Spinelli (HP Pons Los40) moved up into fourth after a solid start too, with the rookie on the move and a gap forming behind the top four.
At the front, it was Garzo vs Ferrari, with the lead changing on Lap 2 and then again a lap later, and in some style. That wasn’t the end of the drama for either though, with Ferrari then suddenly crashing out with four to go… leaving Garzo with a little breathing space ahead of Torres.
The chasing group had also had a shake up, with Spinelli crashing out before both Miquel Pons (LCR E-Team) and Mattia Casadei (HP Pons Los40) went down at Turn 7 – just a lap before Ferrari did the same. That made it a duel for the win and huge group fight to complete the podium, with Krummenacher leading the train on the penultimate lap.
It also added more drama for Ferrari as the Yellow Flags were still out, and he was given a Long Lap penalty to serve in Race 2. The drama wasn’t done for Race 1 yet though: a Long Lap for Kevin Manfredi (Ongetta SIC58 Squadra Corse) after a shortcut ensured the Italian wouldn’t be on the rostrum, but he was still in the fight for it until the final lap.
That final lap saw Torres choose his moment to perfection, attacking into the chicane and then getting the hammer down to try and hold Garzo off. And that he did, with the number 81 able to hold on to the line, taking the first FIM Enel MotoE™ World Championship victory by less than a tenth.
Behind Garzo, the podium fight saw Krummenacher come out on top as the Swiss rider makes his electric debut on the rostrum, ahead of Kevin Zannoni (Ongetta SIC58 Squadra Corse). Hikari Okubo (Tech3 E-Racing) completed the top five.
Matteo Ferrari (Felo Gresini MotoE™) came out swinging in Race 2 at Le Mans, overcoming a Long Lap penalty for a crash under yellows in Race 1 to charge back to the front and take the win. Jordi Torres (Openbank Aspar Team) was forced to settle for second but consolidated his points lead, with Hector Garzo (Dynavolt Intact GP MotoE™) leaving Le Mans with two podiums after another top finish in Race 2. Ferrari’s win was also a historic 200th podium in the Grand Prix paddock for the Gresini Team!
Garzo repeated his Race 1 heroics to nab the holeshot as the lights went out, with Ferrari slotting into second and Torres once again shadowing in third. Nicolas Spinelli (HP Pons Los40) likewise made a good getaway to slot into fourth, with teammate Maria Casadei making quicker progress on take two, up into fifth.
Ferrari didn’t take long to strike for the lead, but just as he took over the Race Direction message came through: serve the Long Lap given for that Race 1 crash under yellows. The Italian pushed on to try and make the biggest gap possible before heading in though, and he was absolutely caning it. He took the penalty on the last chance lap to do so, re-emerging behind Torres as Garzo after the number 81 had grabbed the lead.
The mission was clear, and the mission was a success. First he stalked Garzo before finding a way through at Turn 1, and as the final corners dawned on the penultimate lap he was lining up a repeat. He pulled it off in style on Torres, able to stay just ahead over the final lap to take that first win of the year in style.
Torres’ second place was a tactical one as the Spaniard increased his points lead, however, and Garzo leaves with two podiums for second overall.The fight just behind saw Casadei dispatch teammate Spinelli as the Pons team locked out the top five, both sure to be looking for a little more in Mugello but putting some solid points on the board in Round 1.