Qualifying was tough, pole was a 1:46.3 and Anthony’s fastest had been a flat 1:49, almost 3 seconds behind. Yes, this was the first time he’d ever seen the track, and pole had been set by local-boy Bastaini, but 3 seconds was a long time back.
The race was going to be difficult but Anthony was ready. As the race got started he did his best to make up positions. As the laps progressed he continued to make up positions and began to clock fast lap-times. He put a string of high 1:47s, with his fastest a 1:47.8… that’s only 1.3 seconds off the lap record in only the second day he’d been on the track.
As the race progressed, he climbed as high as 13th place, well in the points of the race. He led a chasing group of 4 riders, which included 2 veterans of the cup. On the final lap Anthony was 13th as he crossed the line. He knew he just needed to maintain his gap of 3 tenths of a second. Out of T7 he said he ran wide and into the dirt. He said he felt the bike sliding and thought he’d lost some time out of that corner. To make it up, he said he thought “I’ll brake later into T8 and make up the difference”. However, it turned out he’d actually not lost any time into T8, as he said he needed to up-shift before the corner because the bike was running out of gear… meaning he had more speed than he thought. Anyway, as he braked later into T8 he ran a little wide and was passed by one rider. He stayed tight to the rider as they flew down the back straight. In the draft another rider passed him, placing Anthony 15th.
This time however, Anthony said he thought to himself he would not let them go. He stuck close to them and made a move for 14th with 3 corners to go. Into the final corner he said he got on the gas harder than ever and dragged 13th place to the line to beat him by .004 of a second.
Being only 1.3 seconds of pole after only being on the track a total of 4 times (FP1, FP2 and QP on Friday, race on Saturday), is very good and he’s very excited about the final two rounds at Aragon.
Here are some race-action photos thanks to Carrie who was traveling from the US.