It was a seismic moment when a number of the lead riders crashed out in Portugal, and as the paddock heads for the Gran Premio Red Bull de España there is plenty to talk about. The biggest news in the standings was the advantage gained by Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) as the Italian mixed skill and a little lady luck to take home a valuable 20 points, with many of those who did fall now on the back foot to cut the gap back down – not least of all home hero Aron Canet (Flexbox HP 40). So that’s a good place to start.
From the Vietti side, 20 points and a 0 for many key rivals was a coup, but the Italian may also be heading in a little disillusioned with his speed before the restart, with the number 13 not having shown his early, seemingly effortless pace either at COTA or in Portimão. So can that change? Canet, for his part, will be hoping not as the Spaniard arrives from surgery but looking to race. Some pins in his wrist and a steadfast determination to keep pushing for those podiums, and that first win, see the Spaniard facing a pain barrier but knowing, before the multi-rider incident, he absolutely did have the speed. Turning up only a few days on also points towards Canet feeling this is a Championship fight more than ever…
Some fellow perennial frontrunners like Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team), Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) and Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) were also caught up in the crash, and they’ll be looking to push. Lowes has won at the track before too, and many have great CVs at the venue. COTA podium finisher Jake Dixon (Autosolar GASGAS Aspar Team) likewise faces a reset, but it’s a little different for the Brit after he crashed out of the restart.
And then there’s Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team). The American was already a podium finisher but has had a tougher run of it at times recently, before everything came together. The number 16 was off like a shot once he hit the front, pulling out three seconds on the fight for second led by Vietti – and in only a seven-lap race. It was an impressive performance but also a confidence boosting one, so the American will be an interesting one to watch at Jerez.
Tune in at 12:20 (GMT +2) for the Moto2™ race at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España and see what’s in store at one of the truly classics events on the calendar – with plenty at stake after a dramatic Portuguese GP