Last lap push earns Paz Top 7! CEV Moto2 Race 1 in Portugal
Date posted on July 4, 2021
Filipino McKinley Kyle Paz of Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team made history today at the Autodromo do Algarve in Portimao, Portugal by finishing in 7th position in Race 1 of the FIM CEV Repsol Moto2 European Championships.
The weekend started with a good omen as Paz was finally able to carry the Philippine Flag on his bike. It was something that all the fans were questioning and it was finally there on the front fairings from Thursday onwards.
Paz #32 started on Row 5 on grid position 13. The race start was a bit frantic with Kyle in the midpack and he finished Lap 1 in P15. By Lap 3, he did a 1 min 47.568s to move up to P11. Two laps later, he went faster with a 1 min 47.112s and moved into the top 10! The Filipino fans who were watchimg on YouTube gave a collective cheer as his name was mentioned in the broadcast.
On Lap 5, he improved again with a 1min 47.112s and then 1 min 47.102s on Lap 6! Surely he is catching the two riders in front of him.
By Lap 9 he was just 0.77s behind P9 but with a comfortable 4 sec gap to P11. With 6 laps to go on L12, Kyle does his best of 146.900s and is right on the tail of P9. He managed to overtake him 3 laps later as they zoomed past the start finish straight. He actually overtook another rider a few corners later to sit in P8 to the big roar of Pinoy fans and media who were watching together organized by Yamaha Motor Philippines!
However, just a couple of corners later, he seemed to have looked back over his shoulder and probably lost a milli-second of concentration that resulted in a small mistake while braking and ran wide into the next left hander. He lost positions again and was back to P10. This was all caught on camera and it made our hearts jump! It was scary to watch him recover the bike and avoid crashing.
With 3 laps to go, his Thai teammate, Keminth Kubo, who was sitting in top 5 then, crashed out of the race and Paz moved back to P9. Kubo was uninjured but his race was over.
Then Paz surprized everybody on the last lap and managed to redeem himself from the earlier mistake. He did an almost impossible overtake and took back the two poditions he lost to finish a fantastic P7!
“Nakakapagod po ang race! Nag overshoot po ako. Then tumutok na lang po ako sa dalawa kasi nakakapagod pag nasa harap. Nagpahinga muna ako sa likod nila. Then sa last lap ay ginawa ko na ang pinaka mahirap na overtake ko sa buhay ko! May contact and almost nag crash pero buti na lang nakalusot,” said Kyle after the race.
“Walang problema po ang size and weight ng bike dahil magaan ang Moto2 compared sa Supersport 600. Ang pinakamalaking adjustment ni Kyle is sa braking. It requires 3 to 4 times the amount of braking force to stop these Moto2 bikes! Hindi pa sanay at malakas ang arms ni Kyle kaya ang buong katawan nya ang nag-aabsorb ng forces kaya mabilis mapagod si Kyle, ” explained Paz’s Manager Mr. Jordan Cornista of YMPH.
“Grabe po ang braking dito compared sa atin sa Pilipinas. Sa atin maaga ang braking at mahaba. Dito halos nasa apex na, nag-eendo and minsan sumisyete pa,” added Kyle.
Paz’s 7th place finish was a surprise but was not impossible as he showed consistent lap times and showed tremendous maturity over the weekend and more importantly, not crashing in any session so far despite the totally new bike, new team, new race track and new environment.
His first finish in Moto2 is also the first Top 10 finish and first FIM CEV points for a Filipino! All milestones for the Philippines in road racing!
And there will be another race just 2 hours later. Great job and Good luck Kyle!
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