The 2019 MotoGP™ eSport Championhip couldn’t be more finely poised after the second round of the Global Series with two dramatic races at the #AragonGP setting up a nail-biting finale which will take place at Valencia in November.
Similar to what was witnessed last week at the Misano, Races 2 and 4 of the Global Series didn’t disappoint. A brilliant last corner, last lap fight in the evening’s second outing means just six points cover the top three riders in the Championship, and with double points on offer at Valencia, it’s all to play for.
Motorland Aragon played host to the evening’s double-header, where the 12 Global Series finalists attacked the Sepang International Circuit and host venue Motorland Aragon for Races 3 and 4 of the series. MotoGP™ riders Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) and Hafizh Syahrin (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) made appearances during the one-hour programme to offer their unique insight on riding tips and the tracks.
Nakagami joined presenters Gavin Emmett and Amy Dargan on stage before Race 1 to share his thoughts on Sepang International Circuit before the ever-cheery Syahrin successfully tried his hand behind the mike, joining commentary duo Matt Dunn and Jack Appleyard for Race 2.
The first of the evening’s races was a vintage cat-and-mouse affair. Fighting back from an average start, Ducati Team’s AndrewZh grabbed the lead midway around the first lap. But reigning eSport champion and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s entry trastevere73 soon found his way to second. From there, he began chipping away, tenth by tenth, at his fellow Italian’s lead.
But as seen during the first race of the Global Series, AndrewZh can maintain calm in the face of searing pressure. Despite trastevere73’s best efforts, the Ducati rider came home 0.8s in front to claim his second win in three races.
The leading pair were in a class of their own. Early Championship leader and Team Suzuki Ecstar entry Cristianmm17’s chances of scoring a podium here looked to have ended when he made a big mistake on Lap 4. But the man who crossed the finish line in third, Team Suzuki Ecstar teammate adrianDP26, was deemed to have been too aggressive when passing Repsol Honda Team’s EleGhosT555. A five second penalty dropped him to fifth, behind third-placed Cristianmm17’s and eSport rookie and Red Bull KTM Tech 3 runner Wimp, who was fourth.
Roles were reversed in a thrilling Race 2. Held over 10 laps, trastevere73 got the holeshot and led from the front while AndrewZh and the impressive Wimp gave chase close behind. The leading two soon broke clear, however, and produced a grandstand finale, with the Ducati Team rider passing his rival before the final turn on the last lap. Not to be outdone, trastevere73 showed all his class to let the brakes off, and outmanoeuvre his rival to win his first race in this year’s Global Series and put himself back in the championship hunt.
Wimp completed a fine evening’s work by collecting third, ahead of EleGhosT555 and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Juan_nh16 in fourth and fifth respectively.
There was early drama for two of the early favourites: Cristianmm17 had to produce a thrilling fight back after crashing on the first lap. He recovered to sixth, ensuring he is still in the midst of the title fight. And pre-championship favourite adrianDP26’s early crash out of second meant he could only score five points for ninth place.
The results place AndrewZh back at the head of the standings; but it’s close. trastevere73 now sits just four points behind with Cristianmm17, the title leader after Round 1, six back of the leader. Juan_nh16 is 29 points back in fourth.
Click here for full race results and standings.
The 12 finalists have close to two months to devise a strategy for the third and final round of the Global Series, which gets underway in mid-November at the #ValenciaGP. 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.
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