Luca Gardner ‘Laps’ it up in Round One the Copa España Velocidad
The first race of the Copa España Velocidad season provided plenty of new experiences for Luca Gardner, as he joined a highly competitive field of young international Pre-GP Moto 3 riders at Alcarras Circuit in Spain.
Finishing seventeenth out of thirty-five riders, the youngest son of 500cc World Motorcycle Champion Wayne Gardner was content with his overall result. “I knew this year was going to be much harder competition for me, but I was really surprised at the level of the other riders. I know I’m going to learn a lot in the Copa, and I think the competition will help to push me harder than I’ve ever gone before,” said Luca.
During practice on Friday Luca set his personal best time on old tyres, and felt confident he could improve throughout the weekend. In qualifying on Saturday he struggled to maintain his progression finishing twenty-eighth on the grid after two combined sessions. “I couldn’t work out what was wrong, and was struggling with the bike. I felt like I was about to loose the front all the time and it was too late before I realised the team had put a soft tyre on the front. The day before we’d used a hard tyre and it felt much better. I knew straight away in the warm up today I’d be able to ride with more confidence after we switched back to the hard tyre,” Luca said.
A red flag incident on lap three of the Pre-GP Moto 3 race initiated a re-start and reduced the original twelve-laps to half distance. As light rain fell on the re-start grid, Team Briefing Competició took the effective decision to change to wet tyres. Luca got a solid start, overtaking half a dozen riders into the first corner, and worked his way up through the field, finally finishing eleven places in front of his grid position.
His father Wayne was pleased with how Luca handled his first Copa de España outing. “He did a really good job in the race. It’s always difficult to come from the back, and considering this is the first time he’s ridden amongst such a large field, I’m really happy with where he finished up. I keep saying Spain is where you have to be if you want to compete amongst the best, and the Copa is a great proving ground for young riders coming through to the next level. Luca is going to learn a lot this season in a bigger field and larger circuits. It’s all invaluable experience.”
Congratulations to the top three riders today, Aleix Viu Cotoli in first place, Hector Garzo Vincent in second, and Raul Fernandez Gonzalez in third. Also, welcome to Luca’s new Briefing Competició team mate Jarno Kausch from Switzerland. It’s an exciting year ahead for all the Copa España Velocidad riders, with round two set to provide more challenges at Jerez Circuit on 23-25 May.
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