All to play for as Gravity's round-four win bring MIE back to earth
Gravity has won round four of the E-Xplorer FIM World Cup in the first of the double-header races in Sardinia this weekend, preventing favourites MIE an early season victory ahead of the series finale on Sunday.
Saturday’s competition concluded with a controversial finish after a false start by Gravity rider Camille Chapelière prompted a third race to decide the first day of racing in Italy.
FIM officials slapped Gravity with a five-second penalty for the jumped start, effectively handing the second round win to MIE, levelling the tally and prompting the third and final race.
MIE rider Jorge Zaragoza wasn’t wasting the chance at redemption and pushed hard from the gate but remained consistent over the 0.6km lap, handing over to Sandra Gomez who matched her team mate’s steady but fast pace.
Unfortunately for the Japanese team it wasn’t enough to beat the Gravity pairing with Kiara Fontanesi and Chapelière putting in an almost identical repeat performance of the second round in which Chapelière took the lead just two turns before the finish.
Speaking after the win, Fontanesi said the team was happy with the result but it was important to keep an eye on the ball with another day of competition to go.
“I'm happy and it was important, of course to win, but we need to stay focused for tomorrow,” she said. “The time is really tight so we have to make no mistakes.”
Team-mate Chapelière repeated Fontanesi’s happiness for the win as well as a need to avoid complacency.
“We didn't have any strategy for today because the main goal was was to win the day but tomorrow is gonna be a bit different,” he said. "You're going to start to fight to win because we won no points at the first race of the championship is Spain.
“Anyway, we have one more race and racing is racing, everything can happen from the other teams. So yeah, tomorrow we'll go with the same goal and then try to be more strategic and see what we can do to get the title.”
The day’s theme of tight competition had been set early on despite the challenging conditions of 34 degrees, blustery winds and varying humidity at the Italian Army Training Base in Capo Teulada.
Third place went to Australian team Maddwill who put up a unfaltering defence despite the team’s lower power class EBMX SurRon bikes, compared with the championship-leading machines.
After a strong start from Backyard Racing Lizcat Factory Team, male rider Alex Andreis showed the crowds how to negotiate the aggressive whoops with style and on one wheel and, despite a decent comeback in the first lap, Maddwill male rider Jonathan Rossé proved too fast, winning the first lap by a bike-length.
The Italian’s team mate also proved hard to catch with Sandra Keller fending off Nieve Holmes despite a small error on the first obstacles, securing third place overall.
Before the day’s-end twist and a three-race final round, Gravity dominated in previous two rounds.
MIE’s Zaragoza put in a blinding start out of the gate in final-round one and played a safe but steady game before a seamless handover to team mate Gomez. Gravity’s Fontanesi made a small error on the first of the course’s concrete pipe obstacles but the round finished in spectacular style with both riders jumping the kicker side-by-side.
It was only in the second of the final’s rounds that Chapelière pulled out the stops almost entirely clearing the shipping container obstacle despite a short run-up, with Fontanesi doubling down on the Gravity assault with expert motocross pace.
Gravity’s round-four win puts just 15 points between the series leaders MIE (86) and Gravity (71) with the series champions decided in Sardinia on Sunday.
In third place with 62 point are Maddwill and 16 points earned in round four, while EM and Seven-EM lie in fourth and fifth with 52 and 50 points respectively.
Unfortunately the Fanatics team were a no-show at day one Sardinia with mechanical problems continuing to plague the Australian outfit with dropped chains.
The 2023 E-Xplorer series concludes in Sardinia on Sunday September 16.
Valentin Guyonnet, Carina Munte or Deborah Tee
For all the latest E-Xplorer news visit the championship’s official website fimexplorer.com.
Note to Editors:
The E-Xplorer FIM World Cup is a cutting-edge, international electric all-terrain motorcycle racing series, founded by a team of visionaries, including Valentin Guyonnet, Carina Munte, Alejandro Agag, and Eric Peronnard. This event is the epitome of excitement, technological advancement, environmental sustainability, and adventure, catering to a diverse audience.
The competition comprises private and factory teams, with each team consisting of two riders of both genders. These teams will compete in a range of thrilling races, held at various locations, including city streets and natural terrains.
Get ready to witness the pinnacle of racing excellence at the E-Xplorer FIM World Cup.