Enea Bastianini notched up his first World Championship points in the Grand Prix of the Americas held today in Austin, Texas, thanks to a thirteenth place finish: in his only second race on the World stage, the 16-year-old from Rimini put in a strong performance, recovering immediately three positions at the start and later engaging a great battle with Belgian Livio Loi, Finn Niklas Ajo and Portuguese Miguel Oliveira. After a good start from the second row of the grid, Niccolò Antonelli has instead been forced to retire due to a fall on the eighth of the 18-laps race, while he was laying in seventh, less than 2” behind the group of the three riders fighting for the fourth place. The next round is scheduled for April 27 in Argentina, at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit.
NICCOLO' ANTONELLI (DNF) “Too bad, we knew that at the beginning, with a full fuel tank, we would have struggled a bit, but we also knew that the situation would have improved after halfway through the race. I was starting to get a good rhythm when unfortunately I made a really stupid mistake at turn 19. In that point the curb is irregular: I ran over it with the rear wheel and this has resulted in a high side. Now my left leg hurts, but fortunately I have nothing broken. Now I hope to get fully fit ahead of the next race”.
ENEA BASTIANINI (13th) “I’m really happy and excited for this thirteenth place: I started the race from the back of the grid but I managed to recover well, battling with other riders throughout the whole race. Unfortunately, in the final stages Loi managed to beat me, but I was really at the limit with the tyres and also we were lacking a bit of acceleration. I also had to defend myself from Ajo and Oliveira, but in the last corner I gave my best with a late braking and I was able to beat them on the finish line. I'm also happy because the bike was fine, I’ve been four tenths faster than my qualifying time, that means that we are on the right direction for a further improvement. Something is still missing to try to stay with the leading group, but we'll get there”.
FAUSTO GRESINI “Antonelli’s crash is a real shame: I am really disappointed, Niccolò was probably struggling a bit. Fortunately, he’s physically quite good, so we hope he can be fully fit soon. Bastianini made a great race, showing again good performances after the Saturday morning’s fall which slowed him down during qualifying: to finish in the top fifteen in a World Championship like this is already a remarkable achievement, but the most positive thing is that Enea is learning quickly”.