Grassia keeps EJC title in contention with spectacular last-turn win at Jerez
Paolo Grassia (Chiodo Moto Racing) has done it again: in what was the penultimate race of the Wil Sport European Junior Cup, powered by Honda, the young Italian rider claimed his second consecutive win in spectacular fashion, after successfully overtaking around the outside the championship leader and title rival Mika Perez (Granshagen Racing Team) at the very last turn before the chequered flag.
This amazing manoeuvre was the icing on the cake of a great recovery put into place by the 16-year-old from Santa Maria Capua Vetere, an Italian town located 30 km north of Naples: in only six laps, Grassia was able to bridge the two-second gap that separated him from Perez. Once locked together, the two riders put up a great show and crossed the line only 0.069s away from each other.
Hungary’s Richard Bodis (H-Moto Team) completed the podium in third place, ahead of Turkey’s Harun Cabuk (KNN54-TMF) and the two Italians of the SK-Racing Team Giuseppe De Gruttola and Alfonso Coppola. After retaining the FIM Europe Women’s Cup title last time out at Magny-Cours, Avalon Biddle headed her female rivals by finishing with an overall 17th position.
With only one race to go, Perez still holds a 20-point advantage over Grassia, with 25 points still to be awarded to the winner. Race two will get underway tomorrow at Jerez at 15:15 local time (GMT +2).
I’m so happy with the win! The start was definitely not the best of my career and that allowed Mika to pull away. Once I moved up to second place I put my head down and did all the best to bridge the gap to the front. There was no way I would have gone down without a fight. I passed him ones but he was able to retake his position. Towards the end my chances were getting slimmer, but then I tried my last move and it went perfectly. I would like to thank my team and everyone who is supporting me. I will try to go for another win tomorrow, although I know the title will be a difficult one to win.
– Chiodo Moto Racing
It was an amazing race! It looked like Mika was going to make the break, get the win and seal the title, but Paolo Grassia made an amazing recovery and chipped away two seconds in a sort of seek-and-destroy mission. He caught him up with two laps to go and after that it was just great racing: two championship rivals swapping positions, corner after corner. At the last turn, Paolo just pulled off the most incredible pass around the outside to take the win by 69 thousandths of a second. I am looking forward to tomorrow, for what will be the championship decider!
– WIL Sport European Junior Cup, powered by Honda