Granado victorious, Casadei crashes late and Aegerter comes through to second

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Eric Granado emerged victorious from a dramatic Race 1 in the MotoE World Cup at the Austrian Grand Prix as Mattia Casadei crashed out of the lead on the final lap.

The Brazilian eventually beat main title rival Dominique Aegerter (Dynavolt Intact GP MotoE) by 1.2s with Miquel Pons (LCR E-Team) picking up the final podium spot in third.

It was a fast and dramatic start at the Red Bull Ring as Casadei grabbed the holeshot ahead of polesitter Granado, as we saw Matteo Ferrari (Felo Gresini MotoE) crash on the exit of Turn 1. Thankfully both Ferrari and his bike weren’t collected by the field, and soon after at Turn 2B, Bradley Smith (WithU GRT RNF MotoE™ Team) went down. The British rider was able to walk away but took a trip to the medical centre after suffering from left ankle pain. 

Casadei got his head down and built up a 1.1s lead over the chasing pack, as Granado picked off Kevin Zannoni (Ongetta SIC58 Squadracorse) for P2 at Turn 2 on Lap 2. Cup leader Aegerter then passed Zannoni for P3 at Turn 1 at the beginning of Lap 4, the Swiss rider had 2.2s to bridge to race leader Casadei – who in turn was being hunted down by Granado.

Aegerter has his first match point on Sunday

By the end of Lap 4, Granado had reeled Casadei right in. On Lap 5, the Brazilian had one bite at the cherry that didn’t work on Casadei and on Lap 6 at Turn 1, a second one came. But that didn’t work either, and Granado was out of shape and wide, costing him time.

Heading onto the final lap, Casadei boasted a 0.6s lead and half a lap later it was up to 0.8s. It looked like it was going to be a comfortable cruise to victory for the Italian but at the penultimate corner, he was down. A mistake two corners from home saw a win slip away from Casadei, meaning Granado would cross the line as Race 1 winner by 1.2s over Aegerter.

Hikari Okubo (Avant Ajo MotoE) claimed P4 in what was an intense battle for the top five. The Japanese star managed to fend off Hector Garzo (Tech3 E-Racing) by a couple of tenths who in turn beat teammate Alex Escrig by 0.030s, the latter claiming P6 ahead of Zannoni – who was out of the saddle on the penultimate lap at Turn 3 – and reigning Cup winner Jordi Torres (Pons Racing 40).

Octo Pramac MotoE teammates Xavi Fores and Kevin Manfredi rounded out the top 10.

Pons moved thorugh to take a podium and bounce back in style