European Championship - Albacete 7.-9.10. 2011


A so-so qualification, a bad start in the race, a great chase and a mistake at the end. This is how the performance of the sixteen-year old rider, Miroslav Popov, at the European Championship in Spanish  Albacete can be described. But eighth position in the 125GP category is not so bad in the end. Although the young ambitious Czech definitely wanted more.

For this season this ElleGi Racing team rider is racing in the CIV Italian motorbike series where he is fifth in the 125GP class standings. This gave him the opportunity to compete with the best European riders for the 2011 European Master title. A single race that did not go well for Miroslav Popov determines who will get the title.

He already knew that the Albacete track did not suit him well when he travelled to Spain. And this was immediately proved in Saturday’s qualifying. Only twelfth time and fourth row on the grid. And this meant that the Czech rider had to have a perfect start on Sunday so that the leading competitors did not leave him irretrievably behind.

And no wonder Popov was very critical about himself after the qualifying. “Apart from one minor issue this morning my motorbike was still very fast and therefore I am not at all happy about the free session’s result. I tried hard and even though my best time is only half second slower I finished far behind the leaders.”

“A good start will be extremely important in the race. And I have to get the pace right at the beginning otherwise the riders in front of me will create a big gap and will ride their own race without me,” Popov realised on Saturday morning.

Unfortunately the start for the lowest class race did not go as planned and he even fell to p16 after the first lap. But typically for him he quickly overcame this, got the right rhythm and started to gradually regain lost positions. It was a wonderful pursuit ride. He was even in p6 on the last lap but a mistake occurred a few turns before the finish. Popov got a highsider and was fully occupied with just staying on his bike. He finally managed this but it cost him two positions. So now he is in position eight among the European riding elite.

Miroslav Popov (ElleGi Racing Team)
Albacete, 125ccm – race p. 8

“Another start that I would rather forget! First of all starting from the fourth row was not so good. Moreover I lost more positions and was sixteenth at the end of lap 1. Then I started to gradually improve until I overtook Calio and Amato. Unfortunately a few corners before the finish my rear wheel slipped and I was in danger of falling right at the end of the race. I would like to thank the entire team for their work because the bike was simply perfect and fast. I am disappointed that I messed up the entire weekend during the free session when I failed to come to terms with the locacircuit. At the same time I congratulate my former colleague Fenati. He had an excellent ride and it was not easy to beat the Spaniards.”