13. 6. 2019
On 9 June 2019, two races had taken place at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya as a part of the FIM CEV Repsol Junior World Championship, flipping over to the second half of the series. Debuting in this prestigious category this year, the racer of the IgaX Team Ondřej Vostatek has been showing solid performance. However, he had not quite managed to score points yet due to the stiff competition.

Unlike the previous weekend in Le Mans, where the programme was cut short for the juniors due to the concurrent MotoGP races, the organizers had adhered to the traditional format. On Thursday, Ondřej had been polishing his technique by free training, followed by two 40-minute qualifier runs on Saturday and two 16-lap races on Sunday.

For the first of the three Thursday trainings, Ondřej started out on a bike with basic setup and was able to keep up with all of his opponents with times around 01:53.3. On Friday, the mechanics had made some adjustments based on the Thursday telemetry data, which resulted in the time improving to 01:51.3 Everything was looking positively, since 01:49 would have been enough to start from the front row and 01:50 would mean starting from 5th to 30th position according to last year's qualification results. The plan for the qualifiers therefore was to use a different engine, new tyres and make some further telemetry-based adjustments.

"We went into the first qualifier with optimism, thinking it's not going to be easy, but a decent starting position is manageable. It was exactly the other way around. When we had set the time of 01:50.9, which I think is a very good time for the first year on the new KTM bike, it was only good enough for the 29th position on the grid. The field was very balanced and the fastest qualification time in our category had a value of the Moto3 track record, which was faster than last year's times in the adult Moto3 class MotoGP. This year, the starting grid has been really crammed. Naturally, it's very hard to really show up in your very first year of the Junior World Championship, especially with the daunting competition. On the other hand, Ondřej has been gaining experience, which will no doubt come in handy in the future", speculates Jan Vostatek.

Even though the team had managed to make further beneficial adjustments for the second Saturday qualifiers, the temperature had changed drastically from the forenoon and Ondřej had fell behind his best by 0.3 sec. While the rest of the racers had slowed down by more than a second on average and only two racers had improved, one of those two happened to have taken Ondřej's position.

This meant Ondřej was to start from the 30th position based on time alone and one position up after accounting for penalties.

And what is Ondřej's assessment of the weekend's race? "We changed the setup completely for the Sunday warm-up, but it didn't really fit me, unfortunately. Especially when braking and overtaking, the front suspension was acting so differently that I even failed to brake and collided with another racer in the 10th corner during the first lap of the forenoon. Luckily, the bike was still working so I could keep going. The race was cancelled in its 3rd lap due to a serious accident of another racer, so the mechanics had some time to work on the shape of my bike before the repeat start. After the restart, I fought for the best spot in my group. At some point a racer fell right in front of me and i could just barely avoid him. I ended up finishing 23rd.

After consulting the team before the afternoon race, we had set the bike exactly like for the second qualification, which was the setup that fit me the best. I could finally focus on the race itself. The field had split into four groups at the beginning of the race, with me being in the third one and literally struggling for every single position. All of the boys were very experienced and the positions were flipping after each sector. Three rounds before the end, I found the correct position for the final fight for the lead in the group and it turned out quite well. I drove across the finishing line as the second racer in my group by 0.029 seconds and finished the race at 22nd overall standing. We have Aragon ahead of us; I'm hoping to get some points there."

"We have another race behind us. First and foremost, this one meant lots of new experience for Ondřej and for the team. We learned about some things that need improvement and know that we always need to look ahead of us and work our asses off. It's very important that Ondřej can compete against much more experienced racers at tempos like this and his times at the age of 14 are very promising for the future. Even though the standings don't sound very fancy to a fan, the time comparison is to be assessed positively. Ondřej still has everything ahead of him", concludes Jan Vostatek optimistically.

On Sunday 14 July, the MotoLand Aragon circuit will be the venue for the next two races of the Junior World Championship series.



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