17 June 2023

Saturday, June 17:  Alejandro Prats Palau, Clara Muchembled, Mattias Reinaas, Manuel Reggiani, Jasmiin Ypraus and Mickael Poret claimed victories in their respective Moto 1 races in an action-packed morning at the Regione Sardegna Grand Prix of Italy, the opening round of the 2023 UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship, on Saturday.

Pole winner Alejandro Prats Palau claimed the bragging rights at the start of the Runabout GP4 season. The Portuguese completed the eight-lap race 1.5 seconds in front of Petr Dryjak with Davide Pontecorvo finishing third of the 14 riders who started the race. Adrian Albuera Cobos retired after the opening lap but Thomas Hansen was a non-starter. 

Clara Muchembled qualified behind Naomi Benini for the first of the Motos in the Runabout GP4 Ladies category but the French girl stormed through to snatch the lead and she held on over the course of the eight laps to reach the chequered flag 12 seconds in front of Nikola Dryjakova. Arianna Urlo also moved ahead of Benini to claim the final place on the podium. 

The experienced Mattias Reinaas headed Moto 1 in Ski Division GP2 from pole position and the Estonian managed to see off the challenge from Gonçalo Oliveira Rodrigues to take the heat win by 7.1 seconds. The Portuguese had stormed through from fourth to second place in the early stages of the race and held on to that position to the finish.  Andrea Guidi and Matteo Benini were third and fourth from the dozen riders who started the race. Slaven Ivancic withdrew after lap one.

Veteran Manuel Reggiani started the first Runabout GP2 Moto from pole position from Mattias Siimann and Marcin Senda but Senda made a superb start to snatch the lead, while Siimann slipped back to eighth. Reggiani regained the advantage when Senda clipped a buoy and was forced to take the penalty buoy. Pierpaolo Terreo climbed to third and the trio held station to the chequered flag with Ruben Riquelme finishing fourth and Reggiani claiming the win on the 12-lap race by 22.84 seconds. Siimann climbed back to finish sixth.

Tallinn-based World Champion Jasmiin Ypraus resumed her battle with Estelle Poret from pole position in the first Ski Ladies GP1 Moto. The leading duo held their positions through the early stages of the race: Jessica Chavanne was third and Benedicte Drange was fourth on her new bike, although she came under pressure throughout from fifth-placed Emma-Nellie Ortendahl. Ypraus held on to claim the win by 9.7 seconds, with Poret, Chavanne and Ortendahl rounding off the top four after the Swede pipped Drange with a spectacular photo finish at the chequered flag.

Ypraus said: “The race was hectic. I knew I had to make a good start in order to race well and I made a good start and tried to push more and more. Estelle was quite close to me. I was checking all the time. But I am happy that I managed to keep the pace to the end.”

Frenchman Mickael Poret headed 20 rivals into the opening Ski Division GP1 Moto but he lost the lead early in the race to Axel Courtois with Nacho Armillas in third. But Courtois missed a turn buoy and Poret regained the lead as a result. Twenty-year-old Dane Oliver Koch Hansen climbed to fourth and began to hunt down Armillas in the battle for third. 

Armillas managed to find a way passed Courtois and the Frenchman was also overtaken by Koch Hansen heading into the final few laps. Poret held on to claim the Moto victory by 2.11 seconds from Armillas. Koch Hansen was third and Anders Keller also passed Courtois to snatch fourth. 

Poret said: “I was not okay with my riding. I made a lot of mistakes. I was very stressful and I didn’t ride like I can do. Hopefully I can ride better for the second Moto.”