The new FIM CEV Repsol season got off to a great start this weekend at the Circuito do Estoril in Portugal with victories by Manuel Pagliani (Leopard Junior) in Moto3™, Ivo Lopes (ENI-Motor7-Small Motorcycles) and Jesko Raffin (Swiss Innovative Investors Junior) in Moto2™, and Barry Baltus (Reale Avintia Academy) and Julián Giral (Talent Team Estrella Galicia 0.0) in the European Talent Cup.
Manuel Pagliani took advantage of his pole in the Moto3™ Junior World Championship to win the first race of the season in which different riders exchanged the lead over the 17 laps. In the end, Raúl Fernández (Angel Nieto Team) and Vicente Pérez (Reale Avintia Academy) joined the race winner on the podium after a final lap in which Vicente Pérez (Reale Avintia Academy) lost third place to Yuki Kunni (Asia Talent Team) at the entrance to the chicane but snatched it back to nab the last podium slot.
The race was as thrilling as expected. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) headed the race but ended up falling back into a group formed by Manuel Pagliani, Raúl Fernández, Thomas Edward Booth-Amos (British Talent Team) and Jeremy Alcoba (Junior Team Estrella Galicia 0.0).
The frantic pace led to several of the favourite riders crashing out, such as Jeremy Alcoba, Ai Ogura (Asia Talent Team) and Gerard Riu (Laglisse Academy), or abandoning the race, such as Thomas Edward Booth-Amos (British Talent Team), who started from the second place on the grid.
Sergio García (Junior Team Estrella Galicia 0.0) went down with two laps to go while he was in the front group, leaving Manuel Pagliani to take the victory, and the leadership of the Moto3™ JWC. He was also awarded the Repsol free fuel cheque as the race winner.
In Moto2™ Ivo Lopes took a shock win in the first race on his Superstock 600 Yamaha R6 when he crossed the finish line almost six seconds ahead of Augusto Fernández (Easyrace), and Jesko Raffin in third place.
Xavier Cardelús (Team Stylobike), who set off second, went down the first time he touched the brakes and Ivo Lopes took over the race lead. The local rider, equipped with softer tires allowed by Superstock 600 regulations and which gave him an advantage on a track in precarious conditions, began to pull clear. Behind him Augusto Fernández, Jesko Raffin and Dimas Ekky (Astra Honda Racing Team) tried to reel him in. Edgar Pons (AGR Team), meanwhile, came up from behind to join the chasing group.
The AGR Team rider fell with four laps to go. Ahead, the podium positions were settled and in the end Dimas Ekky took fourth. Ivo Lopes received the Repsol free fuel cheque as race winner.
With track conditions improving, Jesko Raffin won the second Moto2™ race ahead of Augusto Fernández and Lukas Tulovic (Team Wimu CNS). This time round, Xavier Cardelús made a good start and found himself in the lead followed by Jesko Raffin, Ivo Lopes and further back Marcel Brenner (H43 Team Nobby-Talasur), Augusto Fernández and Dimas Ekky. Edgar Pons had had to abandon the race in the warm-up lap due to a mechanical problem.
While Jesko Raffin rode alone in front, Augusto Fernández lapped in second and steadily pulled away from the rest of the group who would fight for third place. However, Lukas Tulovic, who started eighth, moved into third position and held off his rivals. Dimas Ekky finished fourth followed by Xavier Cardelús and Ivo Lopes, who was the best classified in the Superstock 600 category. The winner of the race also received the Repsol free fuel check and left Estoril as the leader of the Moto2™ EC.
Barry Baltus (Reale Avintia Academy) won his first ETC victory from the front. As soon as the lights went out Carlos Tatay (Reale Avintia Blumaq HMA), Rick Dunnik (HDRacing) and Barry Baltus, a specialist on tracks in treacherous conditions, pulled a few meters clear while Francisco Gómez (Larresport Bradol), who started second, was left behind.
Rick Dunnik went down and was out of the fight for the podium, while coming up from behind were the Talent Estrella Galicia 0.0 team riders Julián Giral, José Antonio Rueda and Daniel Holgado. Antonio Rueda (Talent Estrella Galicia 0.0) and Peetu Paavilainen (H43 Team Nobby-Blumaq) both suffered falls.
Finally Barry Baltus took the win alone followed by Julián Giral (Talent Estrella Galicia 0.0) and Fermín Aldeguer (Bester Capital Dubai Junior Team) with Xavier Artigas (Honda Impala) finishing fourth after a great comeback, overtaking Carlos Tatay (Reale Avintia Blumaq HMA) on the last lap. The Repsol free fuel cheque went to the winner of the race.
In the second ETC event Julián Giral (Talent Team Estrella Galicia 0.0) took an authoritative victory in a race suspended by a red flag with three laps to go. Francisco Gómez (Larresport Bradol), who last year was on the podium in Estoril, finished second after a serious tussle with Barry Baltus.
Carlos Tatay (Reale Avintia Blumaq HMA), who was looking for his first podium of the weekend, crashed out on the fourth lap with Julián Giral (Talent Team Estrella Galicia 0.0) already out in front, leaving Francisco Gómez and Barry Baltus fighting for the second place on the podium. The Talent Team Estrella Galicia 0.0 rider not only won the second race but also the Repsol free fuel cheque and will arrive at the next round of the FIM CEV Repsol in Valencia as leader of the ETC, tied on points with Barry Baltus.
The second round of the FIM CEV Repsol will be in Valencia on April 28 and 29.
The full races can be seen again here.
All the results and information about the Championship are on the official website: www.fimcevrepsol.com