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Greig in the Points as Kurvinen claims the title! FIM Flat Track World Championship Finale – Race Report

Greig in the Points as Kurvinen claims the title! FIM Flat Track World Championship Finale – Race Report

Ferran Cardús (SGR Grau Racing Suzuki) claimed his first FIM Flat Track victory with a determined fifth-to-first ride in Boves, but two dramatic final laps saw Lasse Kurvinen (LK-Racing Polaria KTM) proclaimed World Champion. The Finn, with two runner-up positions from the two 2020 Finals, unseats Francesco Cecchini (Cecchini Racing Zaeta) from the top of the FIM Flat Track pecking order for the first time since 2013.

Images courtesy of Jukka-Pekka Purtilo

Cecchini, Final winner three weeks ago in Pardubice, held the points lead heading to the Bisalta Motor Park for the FIM’s first Flat Track TT. And the Italian was again among the men to beat, lining up from the front row and twice hitting the front in the Grand Final.

The initial running of a tense title-deciding race was brought back with Cecchini well clear, after Ferran Cardús collected Gianni Borgiottti at the start of the third lap in the battle for fourth. Cardús was fortunate not to be penalised for his ambitious passing effort, but he showed his class by capitalising to maximum extent in the re-staging.

From fifth on the line-out, a more confident Cardús was already in the podium places by the end of lap two in the re-start, first Gianni Borgiotti and then Wild Card Elia Bartolini falling behind the Suzuki man. But it took more determination to break past the Championship’s top two.

Cardús repeatedly made an overtaking masterclass of the top bend, an aggressive move on the inside of Kurvinen for second foreshadowing his later pass on Cecchini. It was just 500 metres from the finish that Cardús made his bid for victory, an aggressive move from four bike lengths back and down the inside to lead. Cecchini slipped off the line and his front wheel dropped from under him, Cardús moving through to win on the afternoon and Kurvinen scoring the points he needed to secure the world crown. Cecchini re-mounted for fifth on the day and the silver medal; scant consolation after seeing his run six consecutive seasons on top brought to an end.

Two tight chicanes made overtaking a challenge in Boves, but Cardús was the star of the show throughout the day, dropping just a single point to fellow countryman Guillermo Cano in Heat Two before going on a four ride unbeaten streak to snatch the 2020 bronze. His from-the-back efforts in Heat Nine were particularly well received by the Italian spectators, who would later see their man overhauled by a similarly determined effort.

Although Francesco Cecchini’s lightning get-away made him the Champion elect for the majority of the Final, he had tied on points during the Heats with direct rival Kurvinen. Cecchini came home just fourth in Heat Six from the outside of the second row, and second in Heat Ten behind lively Wild Card Elia Bartolini. Kurvinen, meanwhile, struggled to cut through traffic but made no mistake from his front row starts and ultimately scored the points he needed from the Final.

Bartolini completed the front row for the Final after matching Cecchini and Kurvinen on 24 heat points, and it was the Wild Card who inherited the third step on the podium after Cecchini went down. But the day belonged to Kurvinen, the top three separated by just four points in the Classification with the Finn most consistent through the short season to become the first FIM Flat Track World Champion.

Britain’s Tim Greig improved on his performance from round one by making the points finishing 18th overall.

RESULT, FINAL TWO BOVES: 1st Ferran Cardús, 2nd Lasse Kurvinen, 3rd Elia Bartolini, 4th Guillermo Cano, 5th Francesco Cecchini, 6th Gianni Borgiotti, 7th Mikko Koskinen, 8th Kevin Corradetti

CHAMPIONSHIP CLASSIFICATION: 1st Lasse Kurvinen 44, 2nd Francesco Cecchini 41, 3rd Ferran Cardús 40, 4th Guillermo Cano 34, 5th Kevin Corradetti 31, 6th Daniele Moschini 29, 7th Mikko Koskinen 27, 8th Gianni Borgiotti 26

Tim Greig: “I felt much more at home on the technical TT track and was on the pace of the fast guys. I lost a couple of places in the closing laps of two of the four qualifying heats which was a little disappointing, but, probably down to my lack of race practice compared to some of my European competitors this year. Overall I finished 18th and am pleased to have scored world championship points and am looking forward to getting better set up and prepared for 2021.”

Lasse Kurvinen (LK-Racing Polaria KTM): “It’s an unbelievable feeling, a dream come true. I got on a motocross bike at the age of three and by the age of seven I was thinking about becoming World Champion, but it never happened. I’ve since raced Supermoto, Ice Road Racing, Enduro, and now in my fifth different discipline I am finally World Champion. The Supermoto certainly helped me with the TT, although it’s a new thing for me and I felt very nervous at the start of the day. In my last heat I said to myself ‘you have to find your speed now before the Final’. I wasn’t the fastest guy in the Final but that’s racing. When Ferran came past me I started to think about the silver medal, but then I saw Cecchini’s front tyre slip away and I started to believe again. I was able to concentrate and ride that last lap well, but when I came over the line I was a real mess. I still can’t describe this feeling, particularly when it looked for a long time in that race as though I wouldn’t be able to do it.”

Francesco Cecchini (Cecchini Racing Zaeta): “It’s a tough defeat for me because I was looking to win the Championship and I was riding very well. The collision I had with Ferran has ultimately been decisive. I thought I had Kurvinen behind me; if I had known it was Cardús I would have let him go because I didn’t need to beat him for the title. I realised too late and by then he had hit my arm and I lost control of the bike. I didn’t agree with the referee but that’s racing. Really that was my only mistake of the season, but because there are just two Rounds it has been costly. I would like to congratulate Lasse who was the first to commiserate with me; I respect him a lot as a person and as a rider.”

Ferrán Cardús (Grau Racing Suzuki): “We’re really happy. It’s my first season of FIM Flat Track and I was caught out in Pardubice where the track was very different to what we usually see in Spain. The track and surface was more similar here in Italy and we were able to fight for the win. I was a bit nervous at the start of the Final, the track was very damp; I had a collision at the first bend and the race was re-started. I calmed down for the second start and I was able to gradually find my way to the front. Once I got onto Francesco’s tail it was the penultimate lap and I thought it was now or never, knowing that on the last lap he would defend. I felt confident so I made the move; my intention definitely wasn’t to touch him and I’m very sorry he went down but I don’t think I was to blame. This season has forced me and the team to make a step forward; it was a shame we couldn’t fight for gold but I’m pleased with this podium.”