BRANDON PAASCH FINISHES TOP 15 IN FIM CEV REPSOL MOTO2 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP AT CIRCUIT DE VALENCIA
Brandon Paasch went to Valencia last weekend [Nov. 9-10] to test himself against the best riders in the FIM CEV Moto2 European Championship, taking the next step in his international racing career. Partnering again with Baiko Racing Team and AGR Racing, Brandon was determined to show he deserves to race in one of the most competitive series in the world.
Carrying the confidence of his championship season in the British Superbike HEL Performance Moto3 GP series, he adapted to the speed and performance of the Kalex-framed 600cc race bike during practice sessions on Thursday. He worked closely with his team to find a good baseline setup, and then they began to adjust the bike to extract the best performance possible. Additionally, Brandon tweaked his own riding style and body position as he learned the new characteristics of racing a Moto2 bike. He continuously pushed his braking markers deeper and his acceleration points earlier, improving in every session he rode.
Brandon knew that finding a groove and staying in the fast group would be critical in both qualifying sessions. The first session proved to be a bit of a traffic jam, as every rider was pushing hard to get to the top of the timing sheets. A steady approach by Brandon saw him set a time inside the Top 20, out of a total of 32 riders. A few more adjustments by the team, and some analysis of his riding technique, gave Brandon critical insights into how to improve for the second qualifying session. At the end of the final qualifying session, Brandon had dropped almost 0.5 seconds off his previous time to set the 16th fastest lap in combined qualifying. This meant Brandon would start on Row 6, in a good position to make a strong start for the first corner.
At the green flag, Brandon launched his Kalex Moto2 bike into the front pack for the first corner. Battling with some of the season regulars, he put together good passes and moved into 9th spot on Lap 1, just off the leading pack. Over the next couple laps, a slight gap separated the first eight riders from Brandon’s group, leaving him to battle for the final Top 10 spots. But some slight fatigue and pain from a dislocated shoulder suffered in a crash during warm-up dropped him back a few spots during the latter stages of the race. Despite staying in the group for the final quarter of the race and matching the group’s lap times, Brandon finished 12th to tally 4 points in his first ever FIM CEV Moto2 European Championship race.
“Overall, that was a pretty good weekend racing the Kalex Moto2 bike with Baiko and AGR. It definitely was an adjustment after riding a Moto3 GP bike all season in BSB, and it has more power and better handling than the 600 I raced at Daytona. So, it was a bit of an eye-opener to get out there with the top guys in FIM CEV. But I felt good right away mixing it up on the track with them.
“Practice on Thursday was good to get used to the bike and reset my markers around the track. I was a little nervous for qualifying, and it was definitely a bit of a crazy scene out there with everyone trying to cut fast laps, especially at the end. My goal was to be inside the top 15 for qualifying; unfortunately, I just missed that by a tenth of a second.
“For the race on Sunday, I was determined to make up for dropping the bike in the morning warmup. The temps were pretty cool, the wind was strong, and I don’t think I put enough heat in the front tire, so I slid off. The whole team at Baiko Racing stepped up and rebuilt the bike and got me on the grid for the start of the race. I pretty much saw red when the green flag dropped, and I hammered one of my best starts to get up to 9th place. I felt a bit of the pain from my dislocated shoulder, and I just wasn’t able to physically keep on the pace. No excuses, and I’m sorry to the team that I made that mistake. But I’m so thankful to Anscari and all the mechanics for getting me back out there to race.
“I definitely learned a lot, and much thanks to Edgar Pons for sharing his insights on the bike and the track. I’ve got some good notes to take away and study. Thanks again to Baiko and AGR and Anscari for this great opportunity. And I wouldn’t be here without my sponsors that have supported me all season long, I really appreciate all of you. To my family, friends, and fans – I’m excited to take this next step, and I’ll have an announcement for my 2020 season soon.” (Brandon Paasch)
“That was a very good weekend for us. With Edgar Pons taking the championship, it was a strong weekend for all our riders. Brandon showed that he’s come a long way from last year, and he impressed us with his focus and improvements in every session. I know Brandon learned a lot from Edgar, but he also showed his own style that is adapting well to the Kalex Moto2 bike. My thanks to the team that pulled together to rebuild the Kalex after warmup and put Brandon out on the grid. I’m happy with his results, and I look forward to working with Brandon in the future.” (Anscari Nadal, Team Owner)
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Brandon Paasch is sponsored by Electronic Concepts, luxeStar VIP, Classic Car Club of Manhattan, NJMiniGP, Evolve GT, Arai, and Spidi. Coaching and training provided by Birdhouse Training.
The Baiko Racing Team competes in the FIM CEV Repsol series in both Moto2 and Moto3, fielding a number of American riders over the years. Their rider Edgar Pons is the 2019 FIM CEV Repsol Moto2 European Champion. More information can be found at baikoracingteam.com/en.