Sanchez leads the Women’s Cup after the second round

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Valencia hosted the Women’s European Cup for an intense double round at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit last weekend.

The Hurly Grand Prix saw Yamaha’s Beatriz Neila Santos (Team Trasimeno) and Kawasaki’s Sara Sanchez (511 WithU Racing Team) split the stakes between race one and race two with Sanchez the new championship leader at the end of the match.

The defending champion once again distinguished herself in qualifying by taking pole position in 1m50.754s ahead of Sanchez and the winner of the Misano race, Jessica Howden. Neila Santos took victory in race one with ease, dominating throughout the ten race laps and displaying unparalleled pace. Sanchez finished in P2, seven seconds off the pace but ahead of Jessica Howden. The South African fought a fierce battle to the end with the young Joséphine Bruno (Gradara Corse Team, Yamaha) and had the upper hand over the rookie. Fifth place went to MotoXRacing Yamaha’s Roberta Ponziani, who was initially battling for the podium but then started to struggle towards the end, still physically strained after a heavy crash on Friday.

Sara Cabrini, from Team Trasimeno, finished sixth at the start, ahead of Ran Yochay (Runner Bike, Yamaha) while Aurelia Cruciani (Team 03, Yamaha) also qualified and finished the race in eighth place, after opening a gap of more than three seconds over Sabrina Della Manna (RaceStasr, Yamaha) and Martina Guarino (Franchini Corse, Kawasaki).

Race two provided a thrilling end to the weekend thanks to the thrilling battle for victory between Neila Santos and Sanchez. The latter crossed the line in second position but inherited the victory following the exclusion of the two Yamahas from the Trasimène team due to a technical infraction. Bruno was therefore promoted to second and thus conquered his first podium, also becoming the youngest rider to achieve a top-three result in the history of the Women’s European Cup. Ponziani ended the weekend on a positive note by finishing on the podium after the difficulties encountered in the final stages of the previous race.

Yochay took an excellent fourth place, his best result so far in the championship. Cruciani climbed to fifth place, ahead of Della Manna and the Kawasakis of Isis Carreno (GP3) and Guarino, again in the top ten.

The general classification now sees Sanchez in the lead with 59 points, with a ten-point advantage over Neila Santos. Howden drops to third place, with 41 points, due to a retirement in race two, as she crashed out on the second lap. Ponziani is fourth with 38 points, making her the top Italian in the standings ahead of Della Manna with 33 points.

The Women’s European Cup will return to Italy on the “Piero Taruffi” circuit in Vallelunga from May 6 to 8.

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