Huge late drama, a valuable 25 points for the Brazilian and a job well done for Aegerter sets up the first match point on Sunday.
Eric Granado (LCR E-Team) emerged victorious from a dramatic Race 1 in the FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup at the CryptoDATA Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich as Mattia Casadei (Pons Racing 40) crashed out of the lead on the final lap. The Brazilian eventually beat main title rival Dominique Aegerter (Dynavolt Intact GP MotoE™) by 1.2s with Miquel Pons (LCR E-Team) picking up the final podium spot in third.
It was a fast and dramatic start at the Red Bull Ring as Casadei grabbed the holeshot ahead of polesitter Granado, as we saw Matteo Ferrari (Felo Gresini MotoE™) crash on the exit of Turn 1. Thankfully both Ferrari and his bike weren’t collected by the field, and soon after at Turn 2B, Bradley Smith (WithU GRT RNF MotoE™ Team) went down. The British rider was able to walk away but took a trip to the medical centre after suffering from left ankle pain.
Casadei got his head down and built up a 1.1s lead over the chasing pack, as Granado picked off Kevin Zannoni (Ongetta SIC58 Squadracorse) for P2 at Turn 2 on Lap 2. Cup leader Aegerter then passed Zannoni for P3 at Turn 1 at the beginning of Lap 4, the Swiss rider had 2.2s to bridge to race leader Casadei – who in turn was being hunted down by Granado.
By the end of Lap 4, Granado had reeled Casadei right in. On Lap 5, the Brazilian had one bite at the cherry that didn’t work on Casadei and on Lap 6 at Turn 1, a second one came. But that didn’t work either, and Granado was out of shape and wide, costing him time.
Heading onto the final lap, Casadei boasted a 0.6s lead and half a lap later it was up to 0.8s. It looked like it was going to be a comfortable cruise to victory for the Italian but at the penultimate corner, he was down. A mistake two corners from home saw a win slip away from Casadei, meaning Granado would cross the line as Race 1 winner by 1.2s over Aegerter.
Hikari Okubo (Avant Ajo MotoE™) claimed P4 in what was an intense battle for the top five. The Japanese star managed to fend off Hector Garzo (Tech3 E-Racing) by a couple of tenths who in turn beat teammate Alex Escrig by 0.030s, the latter claiming P6 ahead of Zannoni – who was out of the saddle on the penultimate lap at Turn 3 – and reigning Cup winner Jordi Torres (Pons Racing 40). Octo Pramac MotoE™ teammates Xavi Fores and Kevin Manfredi rounded out the top 10.
The gap between Aegerter and Granado has been cut to 26.5 points in the overall standings with just three races to go. Race 2 comes your way on Sunday at 15:30 local time (GMT+2), and it’s a match point for the Swiss rider if he wins and Granado takes 15th or worse… tune in then!
1 Eric Granado – LCR E-Team – Energica – 11’55.313
2 Dominique Aegerter – Dynavolt Intact GP MotoE™ – Energica – +1.271
3 Miquel Pons – LCR E-Team – Energica – +1.797
Eric Granado: “We did what we could do; the pole and also winning the race. I was struggling a bit in the opening laps; the tyre was not so hot and I was having a lot of movement on the bike, and that’s why Mattia opened a gap. Then I was very focused on catching him. When I arrived behind him, it was difficult to do my lines because he has a very different style and very different riding. But finally, I tried two overtakes, it was not easy to overtake him because he entered very close, but then he had a crash. I hope he’s okay but I take it and I’m very happy with this win. I just want to say thank you to the team, who did a great job this weekend, and I want to continue in this way tomorrow.”
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