Vich victorious in Race 1, Indonesia’s Mahendra battles adversity for Race 2 win

Saturday, 1 July 2023 20:16 GMT

It was a dramatic day of action in the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU European Championship at Donington Park

The fourth round of the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU European Championship saw Spain’s Marc Vich take an impressive victory in an exciting Race 1, while Indonesia’s Aldi Mahendra battled back after disappointment and penalties for a strong Race 2 win.

Donington Park was chilly, windy and cloudy for the R3 riders’ first race held on Saturday morning, but the action among the paddock’s youngest riders was as boiling as ever as they battled to take top honours on the technical British track. Pole-sitter Kevin Fontainha took the ‘holeshot’ but title-leader Emiliano Ercolani quickly closed him down and proceeded to give chase. The leading group of five was fractured in the early stages of the race when Mahendra had an incident with Dorian Joulin which saw both competitors exit the race.

The three Brazilian riders: Fontainha, Gustavo Manso, and Eduardo Burr were looking extremely strong as the newly-formed pack started to settle into a race rhythm, but Ercolani and Vich were keen to keep them in their sights. With five laps to go there was a break-away group at the front, but with the determination and pace of the chasing riders it was once again a group of 10 before the final three laps. The closing moments of the race were intense when another incident happened between championship leader Ercolani and Krittapat Keankum, with both riders left in the gravel, although they were able to rejoin - finishing 12th and 17th respectively. Vich kept his cool and stayed out of trouble to take a superb victory – his first of the season. Fontainha and Manso completed the Top 3.

The second race of the day was no less dramatic than the first, with Mahendra cleared fit to ride but having to serve a double long lap penalty for his part in the Race 1 crash. Manso was the quickest off the line but there was no chance to make a break with little to split the entire field and plenty of chopping and changing in the running order. Italy’s Christian Stringhetti suffered a high side at Turn 11 at the mid-way point of the race which Vich and Valentin Arnaud were unable to avoid. All riders walked away from the incident, and Arnaud was able to rejoin the running. The action continued to the chequered flag, and it was Mahendra who proved strongest despite his penalty; the Indonesian took his second win of the season. Ercolani recouped from his Race 1 crash to take second, and Fontainha crossed the line third, but was later demoted, moving Manso into the position.

Race 1 results can be found HERE and Race 2 results HERE.

Marc Vich, P1 Race 1, said: “At the beginning of the race I was trying to be in the Top 5, because I knew if I dropped lower than that it was going to be difficult to stay out of trouble with so many riders trying to join the pack, but inside the Top 5 it’s sometimes a bit calmer. On the last lap I was seventh and I don’t really know how I did it, but I managed to make lots of overtakes and I won the race! I really like Donington and I’m so happy.”

Aldi Satya Mahendra, P1 Race 2, said: “I am very, very happy! I’ve managed to take my second victory of the season despite a really difficult Race 1 where I had a crash which caused some discomfort in my ankle. I was able to ride in the second race, but I had to do a double long lap penalty because of the incident. I decided to give my best and I pushed hard, I was thinking a podium could be possible, but a win is even better!”