We spoke to some extremely talented riders and teams who have had very impressive weekends at Catalunya.
We have had an excellent weekend of racing in Montmelo as the CEV championship makes its bow at the Circuit De Barcelona-Catalunya, a week after the MotoGP boys provided a spectacle proving that the level of skill and talent here in the CEV is not far from its world championship counterpart.
In Moto3, Dani Holgado extended his championship lead with seeming ease, he never looked stressed and was always in the front group in both races, even with a ride through penalty in Race 1. He was joined on the podium in Race 2 by his teammate Scott Odgen, this being Ogden’s first podium at CEV level! He has come through the British Talent Cup route to the CEV championship originally joining the British Talent Team before a move to the Aspar Team who were the 2020 champions, he has been working very hard to get a shot at the World Championship with the Aspar Team providing him with an excellent platform to show what he can do.
Scott Ogden – The weekend was very difficult, air and track temperatures were very hot and it made for a very slippery track. The team and I worked pretty hard on old tyres all weekend and found a really good setting to make the most of the lack of grip. Qualifying for me was difficult but I was fairly happy to be in the top 12 having crashed later in the important session. My focus was on the first couple of corners as I knew if I made good starts and was in the group I could at least stay with the leaders the majority of the race which was my aim going into the weekend. Race 1 I got a solid start and found myself in and around the top 10. I made a few passes and found myself behind Takuma [Matsuyama] who crashed in turn 10 which caused a split in the group.
I pushed hard to catch the leading group and I gapped the second group. It was a 7 man fight for the win until the end. It was really my first time in this position so I wasn’t too confident in battling so I ended up in 5th after a chaotic last lap. Going into race 2 I was pretty confident, the result in race 1 made me believe in myself more and I got an incredible jump and found myself in 4th position on the opening lap. Unfortunately, I made a small mistake and dropped to around 13th place but I worked hard to make some overtakes and on the last lap found myself in 4th. I saw an opportunity to get up the inside to 2nd but at this point I was very nervous. I rode pretty conservatively on the last lap and finished in 3rd, man I was so happy! The team has worked so hard and I’m just happy to get the results for them, plus with Aspar riders filling out the top 4 it’s just incredible. I just want to thank everyone that’s helped me, especially my family.
Scott Ogden took his first podium in Catalunya.
Also joining Ogden in getting a first was Zonta Van Den Goorbergh. Zonta has moved up from the European Talent Cup this year as the 2020 runner up, he has found the going a little tough where he has not been able to find a setup on his Honda to allow him to push, but this weekend a step was made and he ended up finishing 13th in Race 2, collecting his first points of the season in the process.
Zonta Van Den Goorbergh – Overall my weekend wasn’t too bad compared to the hard weekends at Estoril and Valencia. This weekend Mark [Woodage, John McPhee’s crew chief] was with us in a later round than he should have been which meant we had to play catch up. I knew I could be higher than I had been so far and we tried some settings on Thursday. We thought we had a good setting on Thursday but when we put in a new tyre the bike was not good. On Friday, we made further changes which helped and in FP2 the bike felt better and I could push a little bit more. In Q1, I went with the fast group and was able to stay with the group but was not able to put together that one good lap I needed.
In Q2, the pace was good but I only had used tyres. I ended up behind [David] Salvador but I was pushing the limits of the bike every corner and I crashed at T12. I do not understand why I crashed, I thought I may have been off-line but looking at the images I was not. On Sunday warm-up the bike just did not feel good, I had no pace in the session. Race 1 was difficult for me, we had tried longer gearing in the warm-up but for the race we returned it back to the shorter gearing and I was able to pass people in the corners but they would just re-pass me on the straight. The pace of the group was very high, as [Ivan] Ortola crashed on the first lap but caught our group as he came through the field and was setting the fastest laps of the race meaning the group was getting dragged forwards.
Race 2 was much better for me, we put the longer gearing back in the back so I did not lose as much on the straight. The front group escaped in the first couple of laps but I was in a group of four riders who were able to bridge the gap. Two of the riders in the group then went down and I had to avoid them meaning I lost touch with the leading group and was alone, there was a lot of wind meaning setting a good pace on your own was difficult and the group of three riders behind caught me. I was attacked at T10 on the final lap but the rider went wide so I was able to cut back but I was passed by all three on the drag to the line. Overall, it was a weird weekend for me I was always faster in the hotter afternoon sessions which should not be the case I felt I could always go faster in the afternoon sessions and had more confidence. In general though, we were always playing catch up as we also did not test here where many of the riders did and the setup of the bike was well away from ideal coming into the weekend. To get my first points is nice but not really a concern at the moment, I just want to finish as high as possible. We have a much better setting going into Portimao, so we will see what we can do there.
Zonta on the unmissable orange, black and white Honda.
In Moto2, it was a copy and paste scenario from the rounds before with Team Ciatti dominating yet again. The Boscoscuro Junior Talent team have two excellent Moto2 rookies in Fermin Aldeguer and Alonso Lopez, both are showing they deserve a shot at moving into the World Championship for 2022. Aldeguer has maintained his perfect record in 2021 so far, going five races unbeaten and impressing many and has been followed home each race by Lopez, who is only 25 points off Aldeguer despite the latter’s record as he has been consistently on the second step of the podium.
Fermin Aldeguer – “I am very happy with the second race, we had a great weekend. We were very strong in free practice and it was confirmed with two wins. I want to thank all my team, my family and the sponsors”.
Alonso Lopez – “Fermín Aldeguer was faster than me all weekend, both in free practice and in qualifying. It is true that in the second race I thought I was stronger but I have to improve to be faster. Fermin has a style of riding more suited to a big bike than me, that’s what I have to focus on for the next races. I want to thank my team, my family and all the sponsors.”
The Ciatti boys are dominating this year.
We also had an opportunity to ask Team Ciatti some questions, which were very graciously answered.
Did you imagine you would have a perfect record as a team so far in 2021, going 1-2 in each race?
We already knew from the beginning of the year that we would be very competitive with both riders, but we certainly didn’t think we would be first and second in all the races so far.
Do you think a perfect season is possible, looking at how Fermin and Alonso have dominated the class so far?
I don’t like making predictions, but we like to work and improve, and we are doing our best to continue along this route. We are focusing on each race as it comes.
Are you looking to keep either rider for 2022 if possible, or are you resigned to losing both to the World Championship?
Our aim is to grow talents and bring them to the world championship, so we are happy if both of them get an opportunity. If we don’t succeed with moving both up we will be happy to try again in 2022.
Thank you for your time.
The next round of the CEV championship is on the 4th of July at Portimao, all races are shown live on YouTube and are definitely worth watching for an early look at the next generation of talent.
Featured images – CEV Repsol