The grids are set for the opening round of the Finetwork FIM JuniorGP™ World Championship
Circuito do Estoril plays host to the opening round of the 2023 Finetwork FIM JuniorGP™ World Championship this weekend, and after a frantic day of qualifying action, we now know how the grids for each class will shape up. There were plenty of celebrations in the AC Racing Team garage, as Luca Lunetta (AC Racing) put in a stunning effort to take a maiden pole position in the JuniorGP™ class. In Moto2™, Senna Agius sealed a second Moto2™ European Championship pole, while Eric Fernandez (FAU55 TEY Racing) and Brian Uriarte (Team Estrella Galicia 0,0) secured starts from the head of the grid in the Stock European Championship and the European Talent Cup.
The JuniorGP™ front row wasn’t decided without drama, with rookie Joel Esteban (Aspar Junior Team) seemingly set for a dream debut pole, only for his best lap to be cancelled which then dropped him down the timesheets. One rider’s loss was another’s gain, as 16-year-old Lunetta put in a scorching effort under the Portuguese sun, with a 1:44.340 earning him a maiden JuniorGP™ pole position. Indeed, the front row is an all Italian lockout, with Alessandro Morosi (Eagle-1) and Nico Carraro (Aspar Junior Team) claiming P2 and P3 respectively.
Xabier Zurutuza (MTA Junior Team) came through Q1 to earn a launch from the head of the second row, and he’ll be joined by Angel Piqueras (Team Estrella Galicia 0,0) and the aforementioned Esteban. It’s a field that is packed with quality, with the likes of David Almansa (Finetwork Mir Racing Team) and 2022 race winner Tatchakorn Buasri (Honda Racing Thailand) needing to come from further back on the grid if they are to challenge on Sunday, while there was a good news story for British Talent Team’s Eddie O’Shea, who has bounced back from recent surgery to qualify inside the top 10.
In the Moto2™ class, Senna Agius begins his 2023 title charge from pole position with the Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP Team rider recording a 1:39.850 during qualifying. It seemed like nobody could touch the Aussie at the top of the timesheets, and while Niccolo Antonelli (MMR) came close, he incurred a technical infringement and will start from P5 in Race 1. Carlos Tatay and Xavier Cardelus join Agius at the front of the grid in P2 and P3 respectively.
ETC veteran Brian Uriarte will launch from pole position in both races, with the Spaniard’s 1:46.107 giving give him the perfect platform to chase a fifth win in the class. Hakim Danish (Monlau Motul) topped the other Q2 session but with a slower time, so will start from second, while Rico Salmela ensured both Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders start from Row 1. 2021 Champion Maximo Martínez (Aspar Junior Team) and reigning Champion Guido Pini (AC Racing Team) begin their campaigns from the second row.
Stock European Championship
Eric Fernandez claimed pole position for the opening Stock European Championship race. A 1:41.395 from the Spaniard gave him a narrow advantage on the timesheets over Dani Muñoz (SP57 Racing Team) while Marco Garcia (EasyRace Team) joins them on the front row.
It’s now full steam ahead for the opening round of the Finetwork FIM JuniorGP™ World Championship, with live coverage getting underway at 11:00 (GMT +1) with Race 1 in the ETC. Then it’s the turn of Moto2™ at 12:00, before JuniorGP™ race at 13:00. The action is far from over though, with the ETC back out for Race 2 at 14:00, while Moto2™ have their second race one hour later at 15:00. Rounding out the day’s runs will be the Stock European Championship at 16:00. Make sure you tune in for all the action!
You can also find all the results, videos, photos and information regarding the championship on the official website: www.fimjuniorgp.com