Cristianmm17 staked his claim to become the 2019 MotoGP™ eSport Champion by putting in a near flawless performance at a thrilling first round of the Global Series to take a healthy 12-point Championship lead to round two at Aragon.
In a star-studded double-header, which saw the 12 Global Series finalists take on Mugello and the Red Bull Ring for Races 1 and 2, MotoGP™ stars Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) and Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) were on hand to offer advice and opinion on the events on track.
Miller was interviewed on stage by presenters Gavin Emmett and Amy Dargan as he provided typically humorous tips to the finalists prior to Race 1, as rookie sensation Quartararo joined Matt Dunn and Jack Appleyard for commentary during Race 2.
The first race was a classic two-horse race between Ducati Team’s AndrewZh and Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Cristianmm17, the gamers that qualified first and second on the grid in Thursday evening’s qualifying session. The chasing pack couldn’t get close as the pair reeled off a succession of fast, consistent times. In the face of unrelenting pressure, AndrewZh held his nerve to take the chequered flag 0.4 seconds ahead.
The fight for third was intense at first, with reigning eSport Champion trastevere73 making swift progress from his qualifying position on the second row. Despite his best efforts, the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider couldn’t bridge the gap to the leaders. He would ultimately collect solid points for third.
Pre-event favourite adrianDP26 (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was a lonely fourth while Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Juan_nh16 was an impressive fifth around a difficult circuit for KTM’s RC16. XxBoMbeR_45xX (Petronas Yamaha SRT) staged a remarkable recovery from the back of the grid to finish sixth, after winning out in an intense battle with Moe (LCR Honda), Mereja (Pramac Racing Ducati), early crasher EleGhosT555 (Repsol Honda Team) and Rllorca (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), who finished sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth respectively.
The second was as exciting as it was dramatic. After taking the lead on Lap 1 at Turn 3, Cristianmm17 produced a stunning performance, dominating proceedings to win by a comfortable four seconds.
With the Spaniard clear at the front, it was left to Juan_nh16, Mereja and trastevere73 to provide the entertainment in an all-action fight for second. There was controversy on Lap 2 when Race 1 winner AndrewZh and adrianDP26 collided at Turn 4, with the Ducati man crashing out. It was a move that was investigated by Race Direction, who eventually concluded no punishment was necessary.
Juan_nh16 produced a brilliant performance to claim second as Mereja held off a last lap trastevere73 challenge for the final podium place. AdrianDP26 came home fifth with Moe completing the top six.
The result puts Cristianmm17 to the head of the Championship on 45 points, 12 ahead of AndrewZh and 16 clear of Juan_nh16. Trastevere73 has his work cut out with the Italian sitting fourth, 16 points behind. Click here for full race results and standings.
The 12 finalists have just five days to catch their breath before the second round of three in the Global Series gets underway at the #AragonGP. Make sure to tune in LIVE on MotoGP™ eSport – YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – on MotoGP™ channels or to selected TV broadcast partners showing the events, and head to the MotoGP™ eSport official website for more information.