Casadei fends off Zannoni for first MotoE™ win

The fight for victory came down to the final corners and it was Casadei who survived

Mattia Casadei (Pons Racing 40) has become an FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup race winner after he saw off a serious challenge from Kevin Zannoni (Ongetta SIC58 Squadracorse) in Race 1 at the SHARK Grand Prix de France. Zannoni threw everything into his bid for victory, but hit the deck on the final lap when he asked too much of his front tyre at Turn 13.

Drama in the opening corners

There was drama as soon as the race started when Casadei’s team-mate Jordi Torres fell in the pack as the they exited the Turn 3/Turn 4 chicane. Torres’ leg was run over initially by Niccolo Canepa (WithU GRT RNF MotoE™ Team) and then Xavi Fores (Octo Pramac MotoE™), neither of whom were able to avoid the stricken Spaniard, before being stretchered from the scene. He was taken to the medical centre and initial reports are, thankfully, that he is not seriously injured.

A duel develops at the front

The net result of a hair-raising opening lap was that Casadei led Zannoni, Hikari Okubo (Avant Ajo MotoE™), and Dominique Aegerter (Dynavolt Intact GP MotoE™). Casadei looked like he might break away but was reeled in by Zannoni as the eight-lap contest reached its halfway mark.

After biding his time for a handful of laps, the SIC58 rider had a big look at the Pons pilot as they sped through the Turn 1/Turn 2 sweeper for the final time. Casadei fended off that attack but Zannoni did not give up, until his challenge came to an end when he folded the front of his Energica Ego Corsa at the penultimate corner of the race.

Casadei won by 0.8 seconds while Aegerter claimed second after passing Okubo at Turn 3 on the second-last lap. Okubo was a maiden podium finisher in third, just ahead of Matteo Ferrari (Felo Gresini MotoE™), Hector Garzo (Tech3 E-Racing), Miquel Pons, and Eric Granado. The latter two, team-mates at the LCR E-Team, had managed to stay upright despite contact exiting Turn 14 in the closing stages of the race.

Canepa made the chequered flag in eighth position, Andrea Mantovani (WithU GRT RNF MotoE™ Team) took ninth, and Alex Escrig (Tech3 E-Racing) was 10th all-told. Escrig had run as high as fourth in the early stages but lost three spots when he ran long at Chemin aux Boeufs (Turn 9/Turn 10) on Lap 2, then had to serve a long lap penalty for the shortcut. Fores ended up 12th and Zannoni was classified a finisher, but in 16th.

The World Cup standings tighten up

Granado won both races in Round 1 of the season at the Spanish Grand Prix, but his lead in the MotoE™ World Cup standings has now been cut to six points, with Aegerter second and Casadei 12 points further back in third.

Will they make up more ground, or can the Brazilian fight back? Tune in for Race 2 on Sunday at 15:30 (GMT +2).

MotoE™ Race 1 Top 5:

1. Mattia Casadei (Pons Racing 40) – 8 laps
2. Dominique Aegerter (Dynavolt Intact GP MotoE) + 0.826
3. Hikari Okubo (Avant Ajo MotoE) + 1.223
4. Matteo Ferrari (Felo Gresini MotoE) + 1.701
5. Hector Garzo (Tech 3 E-Racing) + 5.754


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