Sanchez leads Women’s Cup after round two

| | World News

Valencia welcomed the Women’s European Cup for an intense double round at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit last weekend.

The Hurly Grand Prix saw Yamaha’s Beatriz Neila Santos (Team Trasimeno) and Kawasaki’s Sara Sanchez (511 WithU Racing Team) split the stakes between race one and race two with Sanchez the new championship leader at the close of play.

The reigning champion stood out once again in qualifying, as she snatched pole position in 1.50.754 ahead of Sanchez and the winner of the Misano race, Jessica Howden. Neila Santos cruised to the win in race one with ease, dominating throughout the ten laps of the race and displaying an unmatchable pace. Sanchez finished in P2, seven seconds off the pace but ahead of Jessica Howden. The South African engaged in a fiery battle until the end with the young Josephine Bruno (Gradara Corse Team, Yamaha) and had the upper hand on the rookie. Fifth place went to MotoXRacing Yamaha’s Roberta Ponziani, who initially was fighting for the podium but later began to struggle towards the end, still physically strained following a heavy crash on Friday.

Team Trasimeno’s own Sara Cabrini finished as she started, in sixth, ahead of Ran Yochay (Runner Bike, Yamaha) while Aurelia Cruciani (Team 03, Yamaha) also qualified and ended the race in eighth, having opened a gap of over three seconds on Sabrina Della Manna (RaceStasr, Yamaha) and Martina Guarino (Franchini Corse, Kawasaki).

Race two provided a thrilling end to the weekend owing to the exciting battle for victory between Neila Santos and Sanchez. The latter crossed the line in second place but inherited the victory following the exclusion of the two Yamahas of the Trasimeno team due to a technical infringement. Bruno was therefore promoted to second and thus conquered her first podium finish, also becoming the youngest rider to achieve a top three result in the history of the Women’s European Cup. Ponziani closed the weekend on a positive note in the final podium position after the difficulties encountered in the final stages of the previous race.

Yochay took home an excellent fourth place, her best finish so far in the championship. Cruciani climbed to fifth, preceding Della Manna and the Kawasakis of Isis Carreno (GP3) and Guarino, once again in the top ten.

The overall standings now see Sanchez in the lead at 59 points, with a ten-point advantage over Neila Santos. Howden falls back to third, on 41 points, due to the DNF in race two, as she crashed out in the second lap. Ponziani is fourth with 38 points, making her the best Italian in the standings ahead of Della Manna on 33.

The Women’s European Cup will return to Italy at the “Piero Taruffi” circuit in Vallelunga on 6-8 May.