Luca Gardner achieved his first top ten finish in the Pre GP Moto3 category of the Copa España de Velocidad in Portugal today, after a weekend plagued by machine failure.
Round five at Circuito Estoril started out promising as Luca settled into a full day of testing on Thursday. However testing on Friday was cut short after the crank case on Luca’s PreGP Moto 3 Moriwaki cracked, leaking oil onto the tyre. Luca suffered a big high side, injuring his foot and demolishing his second day of testing after minimal laps.
With only suspected bruising, he was back on the bike on Saturday for two qualifying sessions. But another blow to his Estoril campaign struck in the afternoon when the exhaust pipe broke and he was unable to complete the second session.
After combining qualifying one and two Luca sat on the grid in twenty third position, from a field of thirty-four. After rain overnight, and with all the mechanical issues ironed out, Luca knew he had some work to do to if he wanted to make an impression today. He got a good start and made up a few places right off the line, then put his head down to go for it. “It was a difficult to keep up with the lead group. There were still many wet patches from the morning, and quite a few riders were crashing because of this. I wanted to go hard but also knew I needed to be careful, so I did what I could to keep a steady pace, but make some headway, and in the end I went over the line in tenth. I’ve been thinking all year I should be able to be racing with the top ten but have had so many mechanical problems it’s been difficult. This weekend I had problems as well, but am happy we didn’t experience anything in the race and I could try and show what I’m capable of,” said a satisfied Luca.
“My foot is pretty swollen and hurting now that the race weekend is over, and I’m not sure it’s just bruising now,” said Luca after the race. “I’ll have to go get an X-ray tomorrow and we’ll see if there’s any problems, but I’m really looking forward to the next race in Valencia in two weeks and am sure it’ll be fine by then,” he added.
Congratulations to the Pre GP Moto 3 podium placed riders today Raul Fernandez Gonzales in first, Hector Garzo Vicen in second and Jeremy Alcoba Ferrer.
Round Six at Valencia is on the weekend of 26-28 September.