Italian youngster Filippo Grigoletto capitalised on an opening lap tangle to claim his first win and joint-lead of the Honda 150 European championship in Bastogne, Belgium today during round two of the series, in which youngsters compete on supplied CRF150R machinery as part of the MXGP weekend.
A surprise holeshot from one of the youngest riders, Caspar Ankjaer from Denmark, had mixed things up by turn three and home favourite Nolan Cordens was unlucky to be collected by Eric Englund, who crashed. The remainder of the field had to thread past the downed bikes, allowing Grigoletto to pull away, although it was evident that the young Italian was not going to take this for granted, as he set successively faster laps while being unchallenged at the head of the field.
Behind him France’s Enzo Toriani and Mitchell Lewis, winner of the opening round in Lausitzring, Germany, caught and passed Ethan Winchester before embarking on a race long battle for second position. British racer Lewis had crashed heavily out of the lead of the qualifying race yesterday, and was noticeably uncomfortable on some of the bigger jumps.
Toriano and Lewis were both strong at different parts of the track, and Lewis attempted to make a pass stick on several occasions, as both riders banged bars, so the battle was certainly exciting throughout the 20-minute plus two-lap moto. Toriano rode defensively and whilst it looked like British newcomer Albie Wilkie might catch the duo as they fought, the result was decided when Lewis suffered a slow puncture on the final lap, which forced him to settle for third position.
Grigoletto rode a great race, setting the fastest lap and taking the win ahead of Toriano, Lewis and Wilkie, with Alberto Forato in fifth. Grigoletto and Lewis are now on equal points for the championship as it heads into its final round next weekend at the MXGP festival in Matterley Basin, where the winner will be awarded with a prize of a ride with the Gariboldi Honda squad in the EMX250* class next year.
Filippo Grigoletto #87: Race winner
“I am really happy to take the win today. I got to the front and made a nice rhythm. It is good to have the championship lead, but I am on equal points to the British rider Mitchell Lewis, and he is very fast, so it will be a difficult competition next weekend in the UK. I really like this project from Honda and it is good to have the experience riding at the Grand Prix events. I am very happy to be part of it.”
EMX 150 Final top 10: 1. Filippo Grigol etto (ITA, Honda), 25:49.709; 2. Enzo Toriani (FRA, Honda), +0:05.613; 3. Mitchell Lewis (GBR, Honda), +0:08.338; 4. Albie Wilkie (GBR, Honda), +0:15.849; 5. Alberto Forato (ITA, Honda), +0:30.681; 6. Ethan Winchester (GBR, Honda), +0:39.698; 7. Michael Joergensen (DEN, Honda), +0:53.389; 8. Lucas Ankjaer (DEN, Honda), +0:53.787; 9. Nolan Cordens (BEL, Honda), +1:18.928; 10. Tristan-Alexander Tavares (RSA, Honda), +1:33.195
EMX 150 Championship standings: 1. Filippo Grigoletto (ITA, Honda), 45 points; 2. Mitchell Lewis (GBR, Honda), 45 p.; 3. Alberto Forato (ITA, Honda), 38 p.; 4. Michael Joergensen (DEN, Honda), 32 p.; 5. Ethan Winchester (GBR, Honda), 31 p.; 6. Lucas Ankjaer (DEN, Honda), 26 p.; 7. Enzo Toriani (FRA, Honda), 22 p.; 8. Shana Van Der Vlist (NED, Honda), 21 p.; 9. Albie Wilkie (GBR, Honda), 18 p.; 10. Raffaele Giuzio (ITA, Honda), 18 p.;
*Subject to meeting entry requirements. If not then an alternative prize wi ll be awarded.