22 riders from seven different countries gave their all over the course of two fantastic races at Portimão circuit as they fought it out for the chance to win the ‘crown’ and a supported ride in next year’s Yamaha R3 bLUcRU European Championship.
In Race 1 it was 15-year-old Sanchez who took command, pulling out a very impressive lead of over six seconds on the chasing pack. Behind him a large group of riders were in contention for the final two podium spots and a superb last lap from fellow Spaniard Natalia Rivera saw her take second place. Italy’s Christian Pucci completed the Race 1 podium.
With his confidence levels high following such a dominant victory, Sanchez seemed odds on favourite to take a second win when Race 2 rolled around, and while the youngster was in fact able to make it two from two it was a much more closely contested competition. Unfortunately Race 1 podium sitter Rivera was ruled out in a crash on Lap 4, a real pity considering her excellent performance throughout the weekend. Meanwhile, new names were ready to rise up the ranks, and a hard-charging Cameron Swain was determinedly carving his way through the field. The Australian took the final spot on the podium, while an equally impressive Mario Salles (Brazil) managed to better the fourth place he achieved in Race 1 when he charged through to a great second. Italian star Pucci suffered a crash in the closing stages of the race which brought out the red flag and halted the race prematurely - he thankfully avoided serious injury, although he was taken to hospital.
The Top 3 in the final standings of the R3 SuperFinale were Sanchez, Salles and Swain. Sanchez will now be given a fully supported ride in next year’s R3 bLUcRU European Championship series, which runs alongside selected rounds of the FIM Superbike World Championship. A second competitor will also be offered support from Yamaha for 2024, and this rider will be announced in due course following a meeting of the Yamaha Racing Committee.