FIM JuniorGP: Salmela Wins At Estoril

FIM JuniorGP: Salmela Wins At Estoril

© 2024, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By Dorna:

Editorial Note: In European Talent Cup, American Kristian Daniel Jr. qualified sixth, DNF in wet Race One, and finished 15th in wet Race Two.

 

Flying Finn Salmela charges hard to ignite FIM JuniorGP™ title bid in Estoril

Six races in Portugal didn’t disappoint as mixed weather conditions throw up some surprise results at the Circuito do Estoril

Rain, sun, then a bit more rain was the order of the day as a fascinating day of FIM JuniorGP™ World Championship played out at the Circuito do Estoril, with debut winners emerging from the tricky conditions. Rico Salmela (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP Junior Team) became a JuniorGP™ winner for the first time as Carlos Cano (SeventyTwo ARTBOX Racing Team) doubled up in the European Talent Cup, while Mattia Casadei (Team Ciatti – Boscoscuro) and Roberto Garcia (Fantic Cardoso Racing) shared the spoils in Moto2™. Meanwhile, in the Stock race, Adrian Rodriguez (SF Racing) became a winner in the class for the very first time. 
 
With the rain stopping an hour or so before JuniorGP™ lights out, large parts of the Estoril surface had dried up as mixed tyre options were selected for the only race of the day. Jesus Rios (MRE Talent) and Casey James O’Gorman (Team Estrella Galicia 0,0) were two of the top riders who opted for at least one wet tyre, but the eventual podium finishers all went for slick front, slick rear. 

Salmela wasn’t in the fight for the podium at the start, but the Finn bridged the gap rapidly and once he hit the front, there was no looking back. O’Gorman suffered a late crash out of P2 just as the Irishman was piling on the pressure, which left polesitter Cormac Buchanan (AGR Team) and Marcos Uriarte (CFMOTO Aspar Junior Team) to squabble over P2 and P3. In the end, Salmela won by 2.5s as Uriarte pipped third place Buchanan to P2. Rios crossed the line in P26 to pick up no points from Estoril as he aims to bounce back on home turf in Barcelona next time out. 

Race 1 was all about Casadei’s wet weather dance to a commanding victory as the Italian sailed to his first 25 points in the class. 12 seconds was his advantage at the chequered flag over second place Jorge Navarro (Forward EEST Racing), the experienced Spaniard picking up a podium in his first outing, as Taiga Hada (GAS UP Racing Team) returned to the rostrum for the first time since 2021 with a well earned P3. 

Race 2 saw contrasting conditions emerge as a dry race unfolded, with Garcia producing a scintillating comeback to claim a debut win from P15. Casadei didn’t have an answer for the Spaniard in the afternoon but a P2 – and 45 more points – sees him take the Championship lead into Round 3. Third place went to Alberto Ferrandez (Finetwork Team), that’s his second podium of the season, with Alberto Surra (Team Ciatti – Boscoscuro) crashing out in Race 2 as the Italian endures a tougher weekend at the office in Estoril. 

It was wet, but it was a wonderful performance from Cano in the opening European Talent Cup race of the day as the young Spaniard proved a ray of sunshine amid the miserable Estoril conditions on Sunday morning. The #71 went from pole to the top step in Portugal with almost six seconds in his back pocket as Misano victor Marco Morelli (MLav Racing) settled for second, with Fernando Bujosa (Team Estrella Galicia 0,0) coming through the long lap penalty loop and some stiff competition for the final podium place. Victory saw Cano move to within 20 points of title leader Morelli, with a second race to come.

It was a case of same outcome, different circumstances in Race 2 as Cano made it a perfect Portuguese weekend with another win, but this time it was much closer than a few hours earlier. In the dry conditions, the top 10 crossed the line 0.9s apart in a brilliant ETC encounter that saw Jesus Torres (Team Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Valentine Perrone (Frando Racing VHC Team) stand on the rostrum for the first time in 2024. After Morelli crashed out in Race 2, Cano tops the Championship heading to Barcelona. 

In the final race of the day, drama was delivered in spades. Rodriguez came from P4 to take a maiden Stock Championship victory in a restarted race, with Iker Garcia (Yamaha GV Racing) and Francisco Ruiz (DR Andifer Team) debuting on the podium in the class.

Having seen the track dry out after morning rain, the heavens opened once more after just three laps, with polesitter and then race leader Dino Iozzo (IUM Motorsports) highsiding and hitting the deck coming out of Turn 9. The red flags waved and the race restarted, but without the South African on pole as he and teammate Declan Van Rosmalen launched from pitlane after deciding not to go out with the rest of the field. That left Rodriguez unobstructed as he got the perfect launch, though Garcia, Ruiz and Alex Millan (Team Zivimotor) all took turns in the lead.

It was a tight-knit quartet until the final lap, when Rodriguez then posted the best race lap as he stole a march to victory, with Millan the one to lose out in an entertaining podium battle. Lorenzo Dall Porta (Yamaha GV Racing), Misano winner and current Championship leader, came home in a lonely P5 to preserve his lead.

What a weekend in Estoril! New winners emerge as Barcelona for Round 3 now appears on the horizon. 

You can also find all the results, videos, photos and information regarding the championship on the official website: www.fimjuniorgp.com

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