The Gas Gas Factory Team finish up GP of Euskadi held in Gordexola with a sixth and ninth place for Diogo Ventura and a forced exit for Jonathan Barragán, after suffering a serious fall on Sunday. The young Portuguese rider keeps his third position in the Junior World Championship, while the rider from Madrid will need a few days of R&R before returning to his preparation for the Italian GP, the next date on the GP World Championship calendar.
It’s been a weekend full of mixed feelings for the Gas Gas Factory Pons Team riders in the Enduro GP of Euskadi. At the last two events of the World Championship –The Finnish and Swedish GPs – both Jonathan Barragán as well as Diogo Ventura, had demonstrated that they were on a clear winning streak with good results in their respective categories. With the young Portuguese rider in the third position of the Junior Category and the Spanish rider fighting for a place in the top five of the maximum category. However, the truth of the matter is that in the sixth event of the World Championship held in Gordexola, this upwards tendency has been somewhat thwarted.
With the motivation that comes with the opportunity of riding on home turf, the riders of the Gas Gas Factory Pons Team travelled to the north of Spain with a spirit of optimism facing the challenge of an event with two very different days. The first day, was once again, characterised by rain and mud, and on the second day, out came the sun together with suffocating heat and humidity. This was an event with a tough track for the Gas Gas riders and mechanics making it difficult for the riders to find their form.
On Saturday, Jonathan Barragán was fighting amongst the best five times in the maximum category until a loss of power towards the end of the race made it only common sense to reduce the pace. This meant that at the end of the day he was in ninth position in the World Championship. However, this time meant that Barragán was able to climb onto the third step of the podium of the Spanish Enduro Championship that is held together with the World Championship and where only the first two laps counted.
Once the problem had been sorted out with record breaking speed, before entering his Gas Gas EC 300 Racing into the closed park, the next day Jonathan Barragán started off his Sunday’s racing hoping to get some good times that would put him up with the leaders. Unfortunately, a fall and a subsequent blow to the head against a tree during the first run on the enduro test, wiped out all the hopes of the rider from Madrid. Stunned and dizzy from the accident he had no choice but to retire from what was the sixth event of the World Championship and the fifth event of the National. This accident, with only one more event to finish the Spanish Championship, conditions the third place which up to now was held by the Gas Gas rider.
Neither was a sixth position on Saturday in Gordexola a source of satisfaction for Diogo Ventura in his fight for the Junior World Championship. Despite his efforts during another day of rain and mud in the World Championship, the young Portuguese rider never found the pace needed to get a podium position. This was precisely one of the objectives set before this GP. The following day, the Gas Gas rider paid dearly for his mistakes with a tardy ninth position. Although this helps him keep his third position in the World Championship with only two events to go – the Italian and French GPs – it makes a second position in the classification even further out of reach.
The next event in the World Championship is to be held in two weeks’ time in Fabiano, home of the Italian GP on 16th and 17th July. Meanwhile, the Spanish Enduro Championship starts its summer break and will continue with the sixth and final event at the el Enduro Santiago de Compostela, the weekend of 17th and 18thSeptember.
Diogo Ventura: “This has been a very difficult weekend for me. In the last event of the World Championship in Finland, things didn’t go to well. But in Sweden we recovered a third and fifth position. The truth was that we arrived back in Spain with a bit more confidence. We thought that everything would be better here, but it has turned out just the other way round. We didn’t get the times we wanted and to be honest I don’t really know what went wrong. We still have two more races and we have to keep working to get a podium position in the junior category. There are always good and bad moments during the season and now we have to do our best in the next events. I came to this race with the idea of getting back my second position but my rivals were stronger and the classification has just got a bit more complicated. The Championship is a long one and there are still two events left. At the end of the day this is enduro and in a race, anything can happen. Our aim now is to get back on the podium.”
Jonathan Barragán: “On the first day I was fighting to get into the first five positions in my category. However towards the end of the race after a really tough day, I noticed the bike wasn’t running too well, so I had to slow down the pace to nurse it through to the end of the day and reach the paddock. We fixed the problem as a team and the next day I set off with great motivation to do a good job. But I hit a tree in the race and it was KO for me. Stunned. I had no other choice but to retire. Luckily I wasn’t badly hurt and I didn’t break anything. It was shame not being able to get points on the second day of the National Championship as there is only one more race and we are third. This means that this year we have fewer options to fight for the title. Now we have two races left in the World Championship; the Italian GP, and in two weeks’ time the French GP, after the summer. So, after a few days’ rest we’ll get back to training again. We aim to make the best of the events we have left.”