Home hero Matteo Ferrari (Trentino Gresini MotoE) claimed a magnificent maiden FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup victory after a hugely dramatic Race 1 at the Gran Premio Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, with the Italian holding off Hector Garzo (Tech 3 E-Racing) and Xavier Simeon (Avintia Esponsorama Racing) on the final lap to take the Cup standings lead. The three crossed the line covered by just over half a second after another top showdown, but there was big drama too.
Polesitter Alex de Angelis (Octo Pramac MotoE) got the holeshot from pole as Ferrari and Simeon slotted in behind the race leader on the opening lap, but the field remained a long freight train of riders early on. After crashing in E-Pole, then-Cup leader Mike Di Meglio (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) made a good start from the back of the grid to get up to P14 initially, but the first drama hit not long after as his bike ran into issues on Lap 1, giving the standings an automatic shake up as he retired not long after.
The next drama wasn’t far behind as at Turn 6 on Lap 2, Niki Tuuli (Ajo MotoE) attacked up the inside of Mattia Casadei (Ongetta SIC58 Squadra Corse) but with the door closing, both went down in a domino crash, with Casadei then collecting the luckless Bradley Smith (One Energy Racing) too.
Smith was able to get going again, albeit at the back of the pack, and with so many leading contenders either out or looking like scoring little points it meant the fight was on at the front to not only claim victory, but to stake a claim in the overall standings. As the dust settled it was De Angelis still leading the way from Simeon and Ferrari, with Garzo then getting passed by Eric Granado (Avintia Esponsorama Racing) in a stunning move. Soon after, however, before the Brazilian then crashed at Turn 14 and brought his comeback from P16 on the grid to a halt.
What more could happen? Well, something was about to. De Angelis had slipped to P3 and with four laps to go, the Sammarinese rider suddenly highsided out of contention on the exit of Turn 5 – rider ok. This left a three-way fight at the front between Ferrari – who was now race leader – Simeon and Garzo. Nothing split the trio in the latter stages and heading onto the last lap, just 0.3 covered them.
Ferrari, though, was faultless. As Simeon looked for a way through the Belgian was instead attacked by Garzo at Turn 11 and the Spaniard took over in second, but time was running out for the Tech 3 rider to try and make an assault on the win. In the end, Ferrari was able to stay just far enough out of reach, crossing the line just ahead for his first win in the Cup and, after all the drama, the points lead to boot.
Garzo kept second and took his first podium and some valuable points after his early end to the race in Austria, with Simeon taking his second successive podium in third. Jesko Raffin (Dynavolt Intact GP) was fourth not too far further back to pick up his best MotoE™ result yet, with LCR E-Team’s Niccolo Canepa battling Raffin to the flag – ultimately losing out but also claiming his best finish of the season.
Maria Herrera (Openbank Angel Nieto Team) was another who took a best finish as she was sixth and ten places higher than her previous best, just ahead of Lorenzo Savadori (Trentino Gresini MotoE) in Race 1. Nico Terol (Openbank Angel Nieto Team) was eighth for close company, too.
Sete Gibernau (Join Contract Pons 40) took P9 at a track where, despite his huge experience on two wheels, he had no prior running, with Josh Hook (Octo Pramac MotoE) completing the top ten.
Bradley Smith eventually fought back to P12, taking a few valuable points. After all the drama on Saturday it’s Ferrari who leads the way now on 47, ahead of Simeon on 45. Di Meglio remains on 41 points but is now third, with Smith just one behind the Frenchman now. Garzo sits on 33 in P5.
That can all still change tomorrow, however, with the lights out for Race 2 at 10:05 (GMT +2) and the standings ready for another shake up.
After his crash, Round 1 winner Tuuli was revealed to have broken his femur. He will not compete in Race 2.
Matteo Ferrari: “I’m really happy to win here! The race was very difficult because at the beginning De Angelis and Simeon were really fast and it was really difficult to overtake them. But after two laps I took over at the front, it was difficult but I was always preparing the exit of the corner to make sure I could defend the position. And in the end I won! Thanks to my team, my sponsors, my family and my fans.”
1 – Matteo Ferrari (ITA) 12’19.694
2 – Hector Garzo (SPA) +0.187
3 – Xavier Simeon (BEL) +0.590