JuniorGP – Portimao – Algarve roundup

 In JuniorGP, News

The Finetwork FIM JuniorGP™ Championship was back in action on Sunday, with the Algarve International Circuit playing host to Round 4 of the campaign. In the JuniorGP™ class, Xabier Zurutuza (MTA Junior Team) and Joel Esteban (Aspar Junior Team) put in outstanding rides to take the wins on offer, while it was Portimao perfection for Senna Agius (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP Junior Team) who did the double in the Moto2™ European Championship..

Dodo Boggio (Aspar Junior Team) and Daniel Muñoz (SP57 Racing Team) clocked memorable victories in the south of Portugal, as they stood on the top step in the European Talent Cup and Stock European Championship races respectively.

The opening race of the day saw JuniorGP™ notch up a century of winners in fine fashion, with Xabier Zurutuza pulling off a miracle ride to take a last gasp victory. The MTA Junior Rider overcame a back of the grid penalty, which saw him launch 24th, and a Long Lap penalty, to edge out Tatchakorn Buasri (Honda Racing Thailand) at the final corner. Luca Lunetta (AC Racing Team) also overcame pre-race problems to get himself among the podium places having had to start further down the grid despite qualifying on pole.

In the second race of the day, Joel Esteban put in a showstopping performance to take victory. The Aspar Junior Team rider recovered from a Turn 1 error to reel in Angel Piqueras (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and David Almansa (Finetwork Mir Racing Team) who had a 1.5s advantage out front. Having caught up with the two front runners, Esteban produced a sensational final lap to bat off the advance of Piqueras, who claimed second, while Almansa claimed his second podium of the campaign.

In the opening Moto2™ European Championship race, Senna Agius bounced back from his Jerez blip in style, taking a comfortable win in Portimao with an 11.788s advantage, extending the Australian’s lead atop the standing. Alberto Surra (Team Ciatti – Boscoscuro) conquered the Long Lap penalty loop to claim a maiden podium of the campaign in P2, holding off a hard charging Xavi Cardelus (Promoracing) on the line with the Andorran securing his second podium of the year.

There was also major disappointment for title contender Carlos Tatay (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) who crashed out of the contest in the opening stages, and after a visit to the medical centre, he was ruled out of Race 2.

That left the door open for Agius to extend his title advantage, something which he did emphatically with the young Australian having the perfect day in Portimao and doing the double. Xavi Cardelus went one better in the afternoon for his second rostrum of the day, coming home in second while Roberto Garcia (Cardoso – Fantic Racing) debuted on the box in the south of Portugal.

Portimao held just one European Talent Cup race on Sunday, but there was more than enough drama to keep fans happy. Dodo Boggio took the win in sensational fashion, profiting from Aspar teammate Maximo Quiles’ last lap crash to steal the win on the final corner. Having experienced a barren podium run in 2023 to date, including for P4 finishes in a row, the Italian was back on the top step, while Casey O’Gorman (SuperHugo44 Team), who came from 30th on the grid, and reigning Champion Guido Pini (AC Racing Team) joined him on the box. The late drama also ensured the absent Brian Uriarte didn’t lose any ground in the title race, with the Spaniard still trailing Quiles by a solitary point, with a Catalunya double awaiting in just a couple weeks time.

Rounding out the day’s action was the Stock ECh race, and it proved a Muñoz masterclass. The Championship leader romped home without any other rider managing to lay a glove on him. Eric Fernandez (FAU55 TEY Racing), Muñoz’ main opposition in the title fight, started at the back of the grid but wasted little to no time in scything his way through the pack, and he came home second in what proved a successful exercise in damage control. The fight for the final podium place went down to the wire, but Marco Garcia (EasyRace Team) held off the threat of Archie McDonald (MRE Talent) and Alex Millan (Fifty Motorsport) on the line to take his second top three of the year.

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