Cabuk wins race two in Spain as Perez takes EJC title
The battle for the 2016 Wil Sport European Junior Cup, powered by Honda, has been decided at the very last race of the season, which was contested today at Circuito de Jerez. Race 2 of the Spanish round was won by Turkey’s Harun Cabuk (KNN54-TMF), who edged out Italy’s Alfonso Coppola (SK-Racing Team) at the line by only 0.068s to claim his third race win of the season, at the end of a spectacular and dramatic race.
With Coppola’s team mate Giuseppe De Gruttola completing today’s podium, Mika Perez (Granshagen Racing Team) clinched a well deserved EJC title after crossing the line in fourth place. The Spaniard placed himself at the front in the early stages of the race, but after a near collision with Cabuk on lap 3, he smartly decided to back off a little and stay towards the back of the seven-way pack fighting for victory.
On lap nine, Perez’s only rival for the title, Paolo Grassia (Chiodo Moto Racing) started to experience a problem on his bike #84, which put an end to his already slim title hopes. But the race one winner still managed to finish eighth, after losing 12 seconds in the last three laps.
South Africa’s Troy Bezuidenhout (Into The Blue Diving-Costa del Sol), France’s Dorian Laville (Team Laville Mi&Do) and Germany’s Gabriel Noderer (Noderer Racing) completed the top 7. Avalon completed her successful FIM Europe Women’s Cup season with another first postition in the class, courtesy of a 15th place finish.
Mika Perez 8
EJC title winner – Race 2 4th
At the beginning of the race, I tried to pull away and pushed as much as I could. I wanted to get away from the chasing pack but I soon realised it was not going to happen today and, when I almost touched with Cabuk, I decided to play it safe and let the other six battle for the win. I was feeling quite comfortable in my position as the laps went by, then I saw Grassia having a problem so I knew the only thing I had to do was to ride the bike home. I’m really happy about this title win, as we have done a really good job all year long. I want to thank my team, the European Junior Cup and Honda for this amazing opportunity.
Well, it was a fitting end to what has been a fantastic championship. The racing today was perhaps some of the best we’ve seen over the years. Both of the championship contenders were not on the podium; we didn’t expect it that way but Paolo Grassia had a slight overheating problem with his bike and Mika chose to be a sensible rider and to take the championship. In the end he finished fourth, which was a really respectable position anyway, but he’s a deserving champion and we wish him well for the future. For the three guys on the podium, it was an amazing race that was again decided by less than a tenth of a second. Congratulations to Harun Cabuk, Alfonso Coppola and Giuseppe De Gruttola, and I’m sure we’re going to see good things from these guys in the future. I’d like to thank Honda and Wil Sport for their support over the years, as well as everyone who has helped making this series such an amazing show.