Eric Granado battles to maiden MotoE victory at Valencia
Eric Granado fought his way back to win his first ever MotoE race in the first encounter of the final weekend of the season at Valencia.
The Brazilian-who started from pole- dropped behind Bradley Smith as the Brit made a quick start from third on the grid to lead into Turn 1, with Granado just behind ahead of Tech 3’s Hector Garzo.
Smith immediately stretched his lead to over a second as he sprinted away from Granado over the first couple of tours, before Garzo began to charge.
He posted the fastest lap of the race on the second lap before repeating the feat next time round as he closed ever more on Granado, the pair all the while now beginning to close down Smith’s leading advantage.
The pair closed onto the back of the One Energy machine with just two circulations remaining, with Granado quickly taking the opportunity to snatch the lead from Smith into Turn 1.
Garzo attempted to follow the Avintia pilot through, but was held off by Smith and was forced to battle hard for the position.
This allowed Granado to get away, and by the time Garzo had managed to fend off Smith’s advances-the pair having swapped positions three times in as many corners on the final lap-he was too far behind to have a victory tilt.
He instead had to defend his second position as Smith dived down the inside into the final corner, though he ran wide and allowed Garzo back through to take the chequered flag as runner-up just behind the victorious Granado, with Smith closing out the podium finishers.
Championship leader Matteo Ferrari meanwhile was forced to make do with fourth at the flag after having to dice with Xavier Simeon throughout the race, eventually coming out on top to head the Belgian to the line.
Alex De Angelis took sixth for the Pramac squad ahead of LCR E Team’s Niccolo Canepa, while Jesko Raffin brought his Dynavolt-run Energica home a rather disappointing eighth after starting fourth.
Josh Hook and Mattia Casadei rounded out the top ten finishers for Pramac and SIC58 respectively, as ex-MotoGP riders Mike Di Meglio and Sete Gibernau brought their machines across the line in 11th and 12th positions.
Ferrari continues to lead the MotoE rider’s championship heading into tomorrow’s title decider, although Garzo has nibbled his advantage to 12 with 25 to play for, with Smith the only other man still in contention 21 points back.