The penultimate round of the 2022 MotoE World Cup got underway today in the beautiful scenery of Austria’s Styria region as the stars of the series tackled the busiest of three days of action aboard their Energica Ego Corsa machines. After two free practice sessions and qualifying, Eric Granado (LCR E-Team) showed once again how difficult he is to beat when everything falls into place, as he claimed his first pole position of the season – but number eight in his MotoE career so far.
The talented Brazilian rider, who currently trails Dominique Aegerter (Dynavolt IntactGP) by 31.5 points in the standings with four races over two rounds left, is fully aware that he cannot leave anything to chance if he wants to fulfil his dream of becoming MotoE World Cup Champion, after missing out on the ultimate prize in his previous three attempts.
Granado logged a 1’41.390secs in only his second attempt during Qualifying 2, setting the new outright MotoE lap record for the recently revised Red Bull Ring circuit. The rider #51 appeared to have an edge in the second half of the track as his opponents consistently saw their margin decrease and then disappear in sectors three and four.
But the gap between the top five riders were as narrow as ever: second place Mattia Casadei (Pons Racing 40) was only 0.140secs shy of pole position, followed by Felo Gresini Racing MotoE’s Matteo Ferrari (+0.179), Ongetta Sic58 Squadracorse’s Kevin Zannoni (+0.206) and Aegerter (0.252). With such a close-knit group, the anticipation for the two #AustrianGP races is extremely high.
Earlier today, Casadei looked like a man on a mission: he topped both free practice sessions before being edged out by Granado in qualifying, but the young Italian – who is still in contention for the ultimate prize – will surely play his cards at the front of the field. Speaking of title chances, Aegerter was able to recover well after a slow start to the day: an extra layer of challenge to his qualifying was added by Ferrari, who appeared to be trying to disrupt Domi’s flow as well as using his slipstream to edge out the rest of the competition.
Today was definitely a bitter-sweet one for Gresini Racing, with Alessio Finello currently undergoing surgery after a crash in FP1, in which he suffered multiple toe fractures in his left foot.
Race 1 at the Red Bull Ring will get underway tomorrow at 16:25 local time (GMT +2).