Team MMR closed the first Moto2 weekend of 2023 with the first podium for Niccolò Antonelli in Race 2. A weekend of growth for Volpi and of apprenticeship for Toth.
The appointment with Estoril thus goes in the archives for Massimiliano Morlacchi and his team, capable of picking up the season from where they left off in 2022, namely as protagonists in the Moto 2 class. It was a demanding weekend as expected, but one that was excellently managed by all the staff and riders.
The numerous free practice sessions allowed the team to still grind out important kilometres and test new features and situations ahead of the season. On Saturday, at the Portuguese circuit, the Moto2 season finally got into full swing with the first qualifying session of the year. It was Niccolò Antonelli who led the way for MMR as he managed to improve his lap time in the second qualifying session available, finishing in third place (1.39.883 best lap) and therefore the front row of the grid for the race. Niccolò’s progression was excellent, constantly among the top drivers in his category.
Also good was the qualifying of Maxwell Toth, always fast in the confrontation with the stopwatch, in his real first appearance as a starting driver in the new category. Fourteenth time for him with the chance to improve again denied by a busy Q2.
Almost identical discourse for the third MMR standard bearer, Mattia Volpi, back from two sessions of not easy interpretation, ended with the twentieth time.
Sunday at Estoril saw, as usual, the whole team concentrate on two races on the programme. In Race 1 the unfortunate twist hit Max Toth immediately, who was forced to retire on the reconnaissance lap due to a problem on the front.
Race managed with experience by Niccolò Antonelli, despite a red flag that actually broke the rhythm forcing everyone to restart from the grid. The Italian did his best, fighting for the top positions for a long time and finishing in eighth place due to a small mistake during the race.
Mattia Volpi improved and moved up six positions from the start. He did well to reduce the gap and gather good feelings, P14 under the chequered flag.
The second and final race of the weekend at Estoril then rewarded all the team’s efforts even more, ending on a high note. Niccolò Antonelli again demonstrated his great experience and above all speed, completing a race that was intelligently managed from start to finish. Niccolò was able to exploit the potential of his Kalex to escape with the first two and fight for the podium right to the end. Third position for him, valid as his first podium of the season and first podium with the team colours. A decidedly sweet finale that projects Antonelli and the whole MMR towards the next commitments with greater awareness, also considering the times obtained during the race, lapping within a tenth of the lap record.
Also satisfied was Mattia Volpi, author again of a comeback, this time starting from twentieth place and ending in tenth with other important positive signs.
Unlucky weekend for Maxwell Toth, who was forced to retire towards the middle of the race due to some minor technical problems. The first weekend in Moto 2 for the reigning champion of the Aprilia RS660 Trophy is nevertheless to be considered positive, chronometer in hand.
M.Morlacchi – Team MMR Owner: “Like last season we started with a podium and I can only be satisfied. It was a debut weekend for many of us, starting with the drivers and some of the staff, but everyone proved to be amply up to the mark. I am delighted for Nicco’s first podium with our colours, especially after a race in the lead, and I am sure this is only the beginning. I also congratulate Mattia, who was good and had the right mentality to come back in both races. I’m sorry for Max because he would have deserved a lot more, especially for the results in practice and for the lap times that were clearly improving, but it’s only the first race of the year. A special thanks to all my staff, the drivers, our technical partners and of course our sponsors for all the support”.
Team MMR looks forward to the weekend of 13 and 14 May with the start of the adventure for the four riders involved in the Aprilia RS660 Trophy at the Mugello circuit.
Team MMR Press Office
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