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The Championship season began with the meeting held at the Algarve International Circuit.
The many damp parts of the track complicated things for the riders in the first races, but nothing prevented Joan Mir in the Moto3™ Junior World Championship, Edgar Pons and Xavi Vierge in the Moto2™ European Championship, Kenny Noyes and Carmelo Morales in the Superbike European Championship and Bertrand Gold in the Kawasaki Z Cup from triumphing in the opening round.
Twenty-nine riders stormed away from the grid in the Moto3™ Junior World Championship race. From start to finish, Nicolò Bulega (ITA-KTM) and Joan Mir (SPA-Honda) tussled hard and shared the lead in equal measure until the Italian went down two laps from the end. Mir, current runner-up in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, kept going to notch up a win, while Bulega (ITA-KTM) came straight back into the fight to join the group of riders challenging until then for the third position - Bo Bendsneyder (HOL-Honda), Arón Canet (SPA-Honda) Arenas and Albert (SPA-Husqvarna). With second place on the podium up for grabs, Junior Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider Canet finally won out and nabbed second spot, putting 20 points on the board. Third place went Valentino Rossi’s protégé, Bulega.
With a strong headwind the first Moto2™ European Championship race set off, with the leading positions being settled in the first few corners. While Edgar Pons (SPA-Kalex), Steven Odendaal (RSA-Kalex), Xavi Vierge (SPA-Tech3) and Luca Marini (ITA-Kalex) lapped relatively calmly up front, a fierce struggle for fourth slot was taking place just behind them between Tetsuta Nagashima (JAP-Kalex) and Eric Granados (BRA-Kalex). Five laps from the end, Alan Techer (FRA-Tech3) joined in the battle. In the end, the podium honours were taken by Edgar Pons (SPA-Kalex), finishing with an eight-second gap between him and second place rider Xavi Vierge (SPA-Tech3), with Steven Odendaal (RSA-Kalex) coming in third.
Rain threatened all day and finally began to fall in the second Moto2™ European Championship race. After their excellent performances earlier, Edgar Pons (SPA-Kalex), Xavi Vierge (SPA-Tech3) and Steven Odendaal (RSA-Kalex) dominated the race until the South African crashed out. Gradually, gaps between the leading riders opened until in the end the red flag came out to warn of dangerous rain conditions. With over 50% of the race run, the competition was declared over, leaving Xavi Vierge (SPA-Tech3) in winning position. He was accompanied on the podium by Edgar Pons (SPA-Kalex) – who will be have to show his best at the Gran Premio bwin de España next week, where he is taking part as guest rider - and Eric Granados (BRA-Kalex). Marcos Ramírez (SPA-Yamaha) stood out as best rider in the Superstock 600 in both races today.
As soon as the starting lights went off at midday, Kenny Noyes (USA-Kawasaki) took the lead in the Superbike European Championship, always keeping the Yamaha of Carmelo Morales (SPA-Yamaha) behind him. With three laps to the checkered flag, the two leading riders fought a duel of equals with the American rider finally proving victorious. Crossing the line more than 17 seconds adrift came Robertino Pietri (VEN-Yamaha), Iván Silva (SPA-BMW), Dani Rivas (SPA-BMW) and Axel Maurin (FRA-Kawasaki), whose excellent results this weekend have impressed.
Despite a brief rain shower around noon, conditions were ideal for the second Superbike European Championship race scheduled for the day. With another 25 points in the game, the overall leader and his nearest rival - Kenny Noyes (USA-Kawasaki) and Carmelo Morales (SPA) – played out the same story as in the earlier race, but this time with a different outcome. The Kawasaki Palmeto PL Racing rider yet again took charge, closely pursued by his opponent on the Laglisse Yamaha. True to his style and more confident of the setup of his bike in the second race, Morales (SPA-Yamaha) attacked a few laps from the end and after a tough scrap with Noyes finished first past the flag. Second and third place went to Noyes and Robertino Pietri and (VEN-Yamaha). Pierre Texier (FRA-Michelin) was best privateer in both races.
The next round of the FIM CEV Repsol will take place at Le Mans on 15 and 16 May, when only the Moto3™ Junior World Championship race will be held as part of the Monster Energy Grand Prix of France.
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