Maria Herrera starts Moto E season with top-10
Updated: May 6
The Spanish rider Maria Herrera was ninth in the first Moto-E race of the season at Jerez, holding her qualifying position and scoring points.
Jerez played host of the first round of the 2021 season for the all-electric championship Moto E World Cup, with Maria Herrera making her return in the series for team Openbank Aspar for her third year in a row.
After the first two practice sessions on Friday, Spanish rider Maria Herrera was 14th in a field of 18 Energica bikes. Sessions were topped by Eric Granado, the One Energy Racing Brazilian rider being one of the most experienced on the grid.
The only female competitor improved her times in the second session.
"It is difficult for me to adapt to the bike at the beginning, when I come from another motorcycle. But little by little we have improved, especially in the second session, towards the end. We need to get a good lap when the bike has more battery, to be as fast as we were in the tests. We have to see where we are failing, because small mistakes lead to losing a lot of time." Maria said after sessions on Friday.
In the E-Pole session, Herrera was one of the firsts to go out and to set her lap time. She led the timesheets for quite some time, before her effort was beaten by Casadei. In the meantime, 2019 champion Matteo Ferrari's impressive lap was canceled due to track limits.
Herrera fell back to P9 as more riders improved; pole position was claimed by Granado, who rode a great, aggressive lap despite a mistake. The other Asperbank rider, Fermin Aldeguer, was third.
Maria Herrera was pleased with her performance on Saturday - "I am very happy. I knew I had to improve on one lap and I succeeded, I have reduced my time by a second and tomorrow I will start from the third row. I am looking forward to the race."
At the start of the race on Sunday, the 24-year old Spanish rider kept her position, while pole-sitter Granado fell back, which promoted Lukas Tulovic to first place. But it wasn't a long-lasting leadership, as the Brazilian rider claimed back his position.
Zannoni and Perolari crashed - then Ferrari moved to 13th position. Unfortunately, Maria dropped to P10.
Aldeguer and Tulovic fell and couldn't rejoin - likely due to the heavy weight of Moto E bikes and for the risks of potential battery damage, which is the reason why bikes cannot be touched after a crash.
When Granado was building his lead, Maria Herrera found speed and attacked back, advancing to P9 again, which she lost sometime later when Matteo Ferrari overtook her.
The race leader crashed, and Cardelus quickly after - the female rider found herself in 8th position. Ferrari moved to 6th place and Eric Granado stood up to rejoin the track.
New race leader Zaccone was chased by Dominique Aegerter and Jordi Torres moved to 3rd position.
2019 champion Ferrari made a good move to move into fifth, just as the race control started to hand warnings about track limits to some of the riders. The former champion had lost his position, while Maria Herrera was hanging on to 9th place - and she managed to keep it to the end, taking seven points out of the Jerez round.
The race was won by Octo Pramac's Alessandro Zaccone, followed by Aegerter and Torres.
As later confirmed by the team, Maria Herrera suffered from mid-race problems caused by a pain in her right forearm. Despite the issue, Herrera finished just a little over ten seconds seconds behind the race leader.
"I am happy because in the preseason tests we worked well, but I lacked the ability to go fast riding alone. We have achieved it this weekend, in the ePole we have seen that the work is paying off. In the race I knew that I could go out and beat the group. I have had problems with my forearm and I couldn't stand it for more than four laps. That has prevented me from following them, but I have the potential and I will fight to give my best" - she concluded, rounding out the weekend.
The next Moto E round will be at the French Grand Prix at Le Mans, on 16th May.