At Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli the debut of Leopard Racing Italia in ELF CIV Moto3 was full of mixed feelings. The performance of Joel Kelso and Matteo Ripamonti, the two riders chosen for Leopard Racing's Italian campaign, proved the huge technical merit of the team. However, a couple of unlucky events prevented them from achieving more than they did.
After scoring pole position with an amazing lap in 1'43"671, Joel Kelso left Misano with no points in his pockets. His pace was good enough to be in the front, but the 15-year-old Australian crashed out in both races and so he finished the first round of 2019 with two DNFs. In any case, Kelso got the pole position and proved his speed, so he can expect to fight for the win in the following races.
On the other side of the team, Matteo Ripamonti finished the weekend with some valuable points. After performing a great comeback to 5th place in Race 1, Ripamonti finished Race 2 inside the Top 10, as he crossed the line in 10th place (9th of the Moto3 riders). The young rider from Milan is now the fifth in the championship standings with 18 points.
The third and fourth round of 2019 ELF CIV Moto3 will take place the 27-28th April at Mugello Circuit.
Joel Kelso (Leopard Racing Italia)
"I'm really sorry for what has happened. I had the pace to do it very well and fight at least for the podium. Unfortunately, I had a crash in both races and I couldn't take advantage of the pole position and the great speed I had. I want to say sorry to the team: they did an amazing job since the first sessions. I will learn from this experience to improve myself ahead of the next races."
Matteo Ripamonti (Leopard Racing Italia)
"I had two difficult races, but we learnt a lot. I had to push very hard, since I started from the last part of the grid, but I gave my best in both races and the fifth place I achieved in Race 1 proves our potential. The team is helping me a lot in improving my feeling on the Honda, so I'm looking forward to the following rounds of the season. The fact I'm fifth in the championship standings boosts our confidence ahead of the next races. We'll do our best to reach our goals."
Alessandro Tonucci (Leopard Racing Italia - Team Manager)
"The weekend had started well, since we had scored the pole position, but unfortunately we couldn't achieve the results we aimed for. Joel showed great speed during the whole weekend, but he crashed in both races due to heat of the moment. It's a pity, but we look at the positive side of this, because these crashes will help him in growing as a rider. For what concerns Matteo, I expected more from him after the comeback he made in Race 1. He still doesn't feel so good on the bike, so we'll work hard to find the right setup in the next races. After this weekend, we have full awareness of our strengths, what we are capable of and the strong competitiveness of our package. We have got everything we need to be in the front, so we're looking forward to the next races of ELF CIV."