Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Granado storms to final E-Pole ahead of Ferrari and Smith

Nov 16. 2019
Eric Granado (Avintia Esponsorama Racing)
Eric Granado (Avintia Esponsorama Racing)
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By THE NATION

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The Brazilian heads the points leader and the Brit after another down-to-the-wire E-pole at Valencia

Eric Granado (Avintia Esponsorama Racing) set the fastest FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup lap of the weekend to claim E-Pole at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, with the Brazilian back on the front row for the first time since Germany. Cup standings leader Matteo Ferrari (Trentino Gresini MotoE) and Free Practice pacesetter Bradley Smith (One Energy Racing) will join him on the front row for Races 1 and 2, with the Cup finely poised at the season finale.

After the first eight riders had given their all over one flying lap of the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, it was Jesko Raffin (Dynavolt Intact GP) who led the way with a 1:41.218, the Swiss rider making a huge leap forward from his place on the practice timesheets. He was 0.8 clear of Sete Gibernau (Join Contract Pons 40), but the next man up was Xavier Simeon (Avintia Esponsorama Racing) and the Belgian closed the gap  to 0.192 despite his ongoing recovery from injury. Hector Garzo (Tech 3 E-Racing), currently second overall, then found time in the last split to move himself into provisional P2 too...

Next up, however, came Granado - and it was a stunner. After three splits the Avintia rider was 0.4 up on Raffin’s time and by the line, 0.666 was the margin. The best lap of the weekend so far piled the pressure on the remaining two riders: Cup leader Ferrari and title contender Smith. Could they compete?

Ferrari was up first having finished P2 in Free Practice, and the Italian put in a solid performance but said he wasn't out to run risks - and he took second overall. That left only Smith, the fastest in practice, but the Brit was already two tenths off Granado's best after the first sector. Could the British rider pull it back? Not quite, but in the end, the number 38 was at least able to go 0.085 quicker than Raffin to slot himself onto the front row – something that could prove pivotal come Saturday and Sunday.

Granado, Ferrari, Smith – two of the top three in the title chase sit on the front row, whilst second-place Garzo will launch from P5 just behind the slightly more unknown quantity of Raffin. Who will strike first on Saturday? The maiden MotoE™ title will be decided this weekend and Race 1 will commence at 16:15 local time (GMT+1) - don't miss it!

Fastest in qualifying
1 - Eric Granado (BRA) 1'40.615
2 - Matteo Ferrari (ITA) +0.341
3 - Bradley Smith (GBR) +0.581


FULL RESULTS
 

Eric Granado: "I'm very happy, it's been a tough year for me and I've made some mistakes. The team have done a great job but the results weren't coming. This weekend we did a great job in Free Practice, I had a good feeling with the bike and I was confident I could do a good lap in E-Pole. I didn't know where I could arrive but in the end I improved my laptime from this morning and I'm very happy. Pole is important because we have two races and to start at the front in both is important, they're short races and you don't have time to lose!"

 
Front row L-R: Ferrari, Granado and Smith
Ferrari starts his assault on the Cup from second
Smith got what he wanted: a front row start for the season finale

 

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