The iconic Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto played host to Round 3 of the 2023 Finetwork FIM JuniorGP™ World Championship. Six fantastic races, across four classes, every race was as memorable as the other. Angel Piqueras (Team Estrella Galica 0,0) made it a triple victory on the bounce in Race 1 before, David Almansa (Finetwork MIR Racing Team) got off the board with a stunning last-lap win. Carlos Tatay (Pertamina Mandalika SAG team) converted great speed into victory in the Moto2™ European Championship, while championship rivals Max Quiles (Aspar Junior Team) and Brian Uriarte (Team Estrella Galica 0,0) took the spoils in both European Talent Cup races. While in the Stock European Championship Eric Fernandez (FAU55 TEY Racing) pulled out a stunning last-lap pass for the win.
Kicking off proceedings in Jerez was JuniorGP™ and the premier class started as the racing was meant to go on with elbow-to-elbow action and eye-watering overtakes throughout. Alvaro Carpe (STV Laglisse Racing), looked as though he would become the 100th JuniorGP™ winner since 1998 with only a few corners remaining. However, Angel Piqueras had other ideas. Bridging a 4 tenths gap at the start of the final lap, the championship leader made an audacious pass on Carpe at the fast Turn 12 before holding on to record a hat-trick of victories from Carpe and Adrian Cruces (Finetwork MIR Racing Team). Luca Lunetta (AC Racing Team) picked up hard-fought 4th after being caught up in a crash with Eddie O’Shea at Lorenzo Corner on the penultimate lap.
Race 2 was much the same but turned up to 11. Fifteen riders featured in the front group in the opening stages but it would be the usual suspects that would contest the victory, which would drop to 9 at the start of the last lap. Alvaro Carpe, once again found himself in the lead on the last lap for a potential victory until David Almansa, on the back of four non-scores, put himself in prime position and, as Piqueras did in Race 1, launched himself up the inside at Turn 12. He would hold off a train of riders into the final corner to take his first win and first points of the season in an emotional victory, ahead of Carpe who was denied another win, but took another well-earned podium. Angel Piques rounded out the podium taking 3 riders on the last corner, denying Cormac Buchanan (AGR Team) a maiden podium but still a career-best for the Kiwi.
For the first time in 2023 Moto2™ European Championship, Senna Agius (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact Junior Team) wasn’t the favourite entering the race, that honour went to Carlos Tatay. Topping every session, the Moto2™ rookie started from a career first pole position, he lost out at the start to Yeray Ruiz (FAU55 TEY Racing) and the fast-starting Senna Agius but it wasn’t long before the #99 found his way to the front. Once the Spaniard hit the front he cleared off into the sunset, leaving Agius and Ruiz to content the rest of the podium positions. The Australian had attempts at passing the #72 but when he did, Ruiz would strike right back, eventually holding off the championship leader for 2nd and a career-first podium. However, no one could stop Carlos Tatay as the Spaniard romped to a maiden win and he'll be hoping to do the same in Portimao in four weeks' time.
European Talent Cup
In ETC the races were, as always, absolutely incredible. Action from lights to flag was the order of the day and the results that followed delivered a tasty storyline of a championship that looks like it's going to be a thrilling story all year long. In Race 1, Quiles launched from pole and would eventually go on to win, but he had to work for it. After showing incredible pace in qualifying and last time out in Valencia, it was expected that the 2021 ETC Champion might race off into the distance, but the total opposite happened. A race-long battle ensued, with Quiles only winning it at the last corner after fending off a move from Brian Uriarte (Team Estrella Galicia 0,0). Uriarte would finish second and behind Dodo Boggio (Aspar Junior Team) who would cross the line third but a time penalty for track limits infringements relegated the Italian to 4th and promoted reigning champion Guido Pini (AC Racing Team) onto the podium.
ETC Race 2 saw one of the greatest final laps in the class’ history. The race started with a group of around 12 at the front but that was soon whittled down to just five at the front heading into the final lap. Hakim Danish (Team Estrella Galicia 0,0) made a brave move down the inside at Turn 6 but just couldn’t hang on and unfortunately crashed out. What followed was quite possibly two of the greatest moves ever seen in the ETC by Uriarte. Into Turn 8 he picked off both Quiles and Boggio before then going around the outside of Pini at the final corner and holding him off to the line by just 0.021 of a second. Quiles completed the podium just over half a tenth behind and still leads the championship but now just by one point from Uriarte.
Stock European Championship
In the Stock ECh race the tale of the race was expected for most of its length. Daniel Muñoz (SP57 Racing Team) has been the dominant force in Stock ECh in 2023 and from the off he was leading here in Jerez. Fernandez, who has shown great potential so far was close behind. Impressively, Fernandez was able to go with and keep the pressure on Muñoz in the closing laps when Muñoz started to up the pace. That persistent pressure was rewarded as Muñoz made a mistake through Turn 7 on the final lap. Fernandez pounced at the next corner but Muñoz but back heading into the final turn. Fernandez saw it coming and cut back underneath for his first victory of the 2023 season. Further behind, Dino Iozzo (IUM Motorsports) had a quiet but rewarding race as he picked up his second podium on the bounce. Muñoz remains the championship leader, but new winner Fernandez now lurks 25 points behind.
You can also find all the results, videos, photos and information regarding the championship on the official website: www.fimjuniorgp.com