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Action-packed Saturday ignites 2022 Finetwork FIM JuniorGP™ World Championship season at Estoril


A new season has launched and amongst familiar famous faces, new names rise to the front on the first qualifying day of 2022

The opening round of the 2022 FIM Finetwork JuniorGP™ World Championship is well underway, with sunny skies beating down on the Circuito Estoril in Portugal. The next generation of stars took to the Portuguese venue, with Saturday's action determining starting grids for the 2022 curtain-raiser on Sunday. Snatching pole position in the FIM Finetwork JuniorGP™ World Championship was Jose Rueda (Team Estrella Galicia), his second pole of his career, whilst Lukas Tulovic (Liqui Moly Intact JuniorGP Team) and Joel Esteban (Aspar Junior Team) took pole in the Moto2™ European Championship and the Hawkers European Talent Cup respectively.

With the track temperatures rising throughout the day, the qualifying one session times from the cooler morning track action looked to be the times to beat. Indeed, none of the front-runners could get down to the pace of the opening session, thus seeing Jose Rueda on pole in JuniorGP™, although he also topped the second session anyway. Joining the Spaniard on the front row, there's a truly international mix as Australian Harrison Voight (SIC 58) takes a career-first front row, one place ahead of Thai star Tatchakorn Buasri (Asia Talent Team), who also took a career-first front row and a first for Thailand since Somkiat Chantra took pole at Albacete in 2017. Buasri suffered a crash at Turn 1 in the second qualifying session which brought out the red flag, but he was able to walk away and readies for his first front row on Sunday.

Row two is headed up by JuniorGP™ class rookie Adrian Cruces (Cuna de Campeones), with the Spaniard graduating to the class after finishing as runner-up in the Hawkers ETC last year. Completing the top five and one of the preseason favourites going into 2022, David Alonso (Aspar Junior Team) was just over six tenths from pole position at the track where he took a debut podium at in 2021. Rounding out the second row is Spanish star Marcos Uriarte (Laglisse Academy) who, whilst still searching for first points in JuniorGP™, has podiums to his name from the 2021 Red Bull Rookies Cup. Highest-placed returnee from 2021 David Salvador (Laglisse Academy) was eighth, one place behind Hungarian rookie Soma Gorbe (Artbox). Italian Luca Lunetta (AC Racing Team) and Uruguayan Facundo Llambias (Team Estrella Galicia 0,0) completed the top ten, making it seven nationalities in the fight at the front.

The Moto2™ ECh class welcomed a third career pole for Lukas Tulovic, as the 21-year-old German made it back-to-back poles at Estoril. Tulovic has become a pole position specialist at the Portuguese venue, with all of his poles in the class coming there (2017, 2021 and 2022). It was an impressive debut for rookie Senna Agius (Promoracing), with second place, making it the first Australian front row start since Remy Gardner in Barcelona, back in 2016. Completing the front row was Polish rider Piotr Biesiekirski (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Euvic Racing Team), a career and country-first front row in third. He was the only rider inside the top five to improve his time in the afternoon session. The top Stock rider was Juan Rodriguez (Cuna de Campeones) in 15th. Six nationalities inside the top six, an unpredictable Sunday lies ahead for the Moto2™ ECh.

The Hawkers European Talent Cup was back in action at Estoril, and it was Joel Esteban who took a dominant pole position, his first in the class - his previous best being fifth on his debut at Estoril in 2021. Second on the grid was supposed to be Alberto Ferrandez (Finetwork Mir Junior Team), having finished top in Group B. However, a back of the grid penalty was given to the Spaniard for riding slowly in five sectors and in excess of the 114% limit of his fastest sectors. Therefore, reigning Champion Maximo Martinez (Team Honda Laglisse) takes up second on the grid as he looks to kick off his title defence in fine style. The Spaniard, who will go from his fifth front row start of his career, heads off Gonzalo Perez (Finetwork Mir Junior Team), who takes a career-best third, far and away an improvement on his previous best starting position of 15th from 2021.

Patrocinador oficial del campeonato V2 proveedor oficial de neumáticos para JuniorGP y Moto2 Dell'Orto proveedor oficial de ECU y Dashboard de JuniorGP Scooter oficial Proveedor oficial Hawkers European Talent Cup Neumoto proveedor oficial de neumáticos para HETC Cuna de Campeones MotoGP FIM FIM Europe Dorna Sports