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To say that FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup Race 1 at the SHARK Helmets Grand Prix de France was dramatic is a criminal understatement. Coming out on top to claim his maiden win was Jordi Torres (Pons Racing 40) who now takes full charge of the title race heading into the final showdown of the season. Home hero Mike Di Meglio (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Niki Tuuli (Avant Ajo MotoE) completed the podium in a red-flagged encounter that saw three title contenders crash – Mattia Casadei (Ongetta SIC58 Squadracorse), former World Cup leader Matteo Ferrari (Trentino Gresini MotoE) and Dominique Aegerter (Dynavolt Intact GP) all hit the deck, leaving Torres with an 18-point lead heading into Sunday.
MotoE™ race recap: Torres puts one hand on the World Cup
The initial start saw the red flags come out after a crash for Casadei as the Italian highsided out of contention at Turn 3. The rider was perfectly ok but his Energica Ego Corsa barrel rolled and left debris on the circuit. In addition, for safety reasons, the marshals couldn’t clear the bike from the track without special equipment as the bike was flashing up with warning signs. Ferrari had got a rocket ship start to overtake polesitter Torres up the hill and round the right-hander, but the riders would pull into pitlane and the new race distance was confirmed to be held over five laps – a super sprint race.
The lights went out again and Ferrari once more got the jump, but there would be huge World Cup drama at Turns 3 and 4. As the MotoE™ pack piled into the tight Turn 3, Ferrari was safely through but in the middle of the group, three riders went down. Xavier Simeon (LCR E-Team) crashed and his wake was Aegerter, who in turn collected Niccolo Canepa (LCR E-Team) as the trio were down. Then, moments later, race leader Ferrari lost the rear firing his way out of Turn 4 and the World Cup leader was out of contention. Aegerter remounted but the Swiss rider was down in P14, with the drama leaving Torres out front with a nice advantage.
Four down including title challengers in crazy MotoE™ start
With Ferrari and Casadei out of the race and Aegerter down in P14, it was time to take advantage for Torres. The Spaniard had a one second lead over Tuuli who was soon passed by Di Meglio. The latter locked his radar onto the back of Torres’ bike and with three laps to go the gap was sitting at just over a second – but it was decreasing.
Soon, Torres’ lead was under a second and heading onto the fifth and final lap, Di Meglio and Tuuli were right with the race leader. Torres was holding firm though, knowing that a mistake would be a disaster at this stage. Di Meglio was close, but not close enough to make a move and Torres held his nerve to round the final corner and take the chequered flag in P1 – his maiden MotoE™ win, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. His third rostrum of his rookie campaign now sees Torres to take a healthy 18-point lead into the final race of 2020, Torres has one hand and four fingers on the trophy.
Di Meglio’s P2 is his first podium of 2020 as the experienced Frenchman makes a return to the rostrum since his 2019 Austria GP win. Tuuli also returns to the MotoE™ podium for well over a year, the Finn earning his first top 10 of the season at Le Mans and the leading trio will look forward to lining up on the front row on Sunday afternoon. Remember, Race 1 results deciding the grid for Race 2 – more good news for Torres with his closest title challengers way down the order.
Round 5: MotoE™ SHARK Helmets French Grand Prix Race 1
Josh Hook (Octo Pramac MotoE) picks up his best MotoE™ finish in P4 after starting from P4, a good race for the Australian who finished just 1.3 seconds away from the podium. Tommaso Marcon (Tech3 E-Racing) completed the top five in France as Eric Granado (Avintia Esponsorama Racing), Maria Herrera (Openbank Aspar Team), Alejandro Medina (Openbank Aspar Team), Trentino Gresini MotoE’s Alessandro Zaccone and Tech3 E-Racing’s Lukas Tulovic rounded out the top 10 in a drama-filled MotoE™ encounter.
Who could have predicted that? Three title contenders crashing out, leaving one to pick up the pieces and head into the final MotoE™ race of the season with a nearly unattainable advantage. Ferrari and Aegerter need the race of their lives if they have any chance of spoiling Torres’ party, the duo are 18 and 20 points behind the ‘Spanish Elvis’ with just 25 points left on the table. Torres will win the 2020 World Cup if he finishes P8 or better.
Do not miss a World Cup winner being crowned on Sunday afternoon as the final MotoE™ race of the season takes place at 15:40 local time (GMT+2).
1. Jordi Torres (Pons Racing 40)
2. Mike Di Meglio (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) + 0.116
3. Niki Tuuli (Avant Ajo MotoE) + 0.557
4. Josh Hook (Octo Pramac MotoE) + 1.925
5. Tommaso Marcon (Tech3 E-Racing) + 4.296
6. Eric Granado (Avintia Esponsorama Racing) + 4.590
7. Maria Herrera (Openbank Aspar Team) + 6.514
8. Alejandro Medina (Openbank Aspar Team) + 6.201*
9. Alessandro Zaccone (Trentino Gresini MotoE) + 11.875
10. Lukas Tulovic (Tech3 E-Racing) + 12.419