24 March 2024

Sunday, March 24: Talented Swedish racer Samuel Johansson stunned his more illustrious rivals to win Moto 2 and seal victory in the Runabout GP1 category at the Grand Prix of Bình Định-Vietnam in Quy Nhon on Sunday afternoon. World number one Roberto Mariani topped the standings in the second of the Freestyle Motos to secure a close victory over his old adversary Rashid Al-Mulla.


The 22-year-old Stenungsund-based driver’s victory in Moto2 saw him tied with the defending Runabout GP1 World Champion François Medori on 47 points. The Swede duly earned victory in the Grand Prix, courtesy of winning the last of the Motos by a slender 2.617 seconds.


An elated Johansson said: “This is my first time winning in aquabike, although I won in 2018 in the GP2 class. This is huge for me. It feels great. I had a good feeling all weekend on my bike. I made some small set-up changes for the last Moto and it was a good job this time.”


Johansson wins Moto 2 and pips Medori to Runabout GP1 Grand Prix victory


Medori lined up in the second of the Runabout GP1 Motos with a three-point cushion over Johansson in the points’ standings and a five-point lead over Gyorgy Kasza. Andrzej Wisniewski had endured a miserable weekend with electrical gremlins and the Pole threw in the towel before the start of the 25-minute Moto with an engine issue.


Medori made a solid start but it was not good enough to fend off Johansson and Marcus Jorgensen and the Frenchman slipped to fourth behind Jeremy Perez. Kasza held fifth and Lino Araújo, Ruben Riquelme, Jun Ikoma, Rasmus Koch Hansen and Egidijus Kinlevicius completed the early top 10.


By lap three, Jorgensen led Johansson by 2.714 seconds and Perez continued to fend off the fierce challenge from his close friend Medori. Martin Doulik displaced Kinlevicius and snatched 10th place and Ikoma managed to pass Riquelme and take seventh. Fourth overall would not be sufficient for Medori to win the Grand Prix with Johansson running in second but the Frenchman’s title dream was rekindled when Perez was sidelined with super charger issues and Medori moved up to third place. All things remaining equal, Medori would beat Johansson to Grand Prix victory by a single point.


But that situation was short-lived: Johansson managed to pass Jorgensen and took the lead on a lap where Ikoma fell and slipped out of contention. With 11 minutes left on the clock, Johansson led from Jorgensen, Medori, Kasza and Araújo but Jorgensen was clearly struggling with engine issues and the Dane plummeted down the leader board with Medori climbing to second to set up the possibility of a tie for the Grand Prix win. That would go in Johansson’s favour on this occasion for winning the second Moto.


Rasmus Koch Hansen moved up to fifth and Riquelme, Doulik, Jorgensen, Kinlevicius and Linius Lindberg rounding off the top 10 with six minutes to go.


Medori was unable to find a way past as the clock ticked down to three minutes remaining. There were no changes to the running order in the top 10 either as the white flag was raised with the Frenchman under pressure to try and find a way to pass his Swedish rival. Johansson held on to claim Moto success and victory in the Grand Prix on the tie-decider from runner-up Medori.


Third place for Kasza gave the Hungarian the final step on the Grand Prix podium and Araújo and Koch-Hansen were fourth and fifth. Doulik, Riquelme, Jorgensen, Lindberg and Kinlevicius rounded off the final top 10.


Mariani wins Freestyle Moto 2 to claim GP win


Portuguese airline pilot Paulo Nuñes was the first of the three Freestyle competitors to entertain the crowds in punishing heat and humidity on Thi Nai Bay. He delivered a potent combination of 180s, somersaults, rolls, side-spins, throws and combinations before handing his ski over to Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al-Mulla.


The Emirati finished second in Moto 1 on Saturday night and delivered his own stunning set of back flips and barrel-rolls in a three-minute stint that oozed content, quality and style. That paved the way for the crowd-entertaining world number one Roberto Mariani to round off a fantastic weekend’s action in Quy Nhon. The Italian delivered another impressive set and the decision was down to the judges who would secure victory in the Grand Prix.


They determined that Mariani had done enough to claim the Moto win and the Italian secured the Grand Prix with a maximum 50 points from Al-Mulla on 44 and Nuñes on 40.