Leading the championship heading into the GP of Euskadi is surprisingly not the rider that’s won the most races. Instead it’s the only man to have stood on the podium at every round. Gas Gas’ Ivan Cervantes was a model of consistency in South America and now holds a slender nine-point advantage over second place rider Cristobal Guerrero (KTM). It’s certainly seems that Gas Gas’ efforts to reunite the Spaniard with his love of four-stroke power is paying off.
Securing two second place results in Chile, Cervantes then ended an 18-month winless streak on day one in Argentina to inherit the championship points lead before overcoming a tyre issue early on day two to finish third. Displaying the confidence that has previously seen him win four world titles, Cervantes will be hoping the support of his home crowd in Spain will urge him towards another winning result.
Also assured of endless crowd support is Cristobal Guerrero. The Spaniard has also recorded some consistent results to date with a pair of fourth place finishes in Chile and two runner-up positions in Argentina. However, it’s his second place on day two in Argentina that is the most significant of all. Showing immense grit and determination in the extreme heat, the KTM rider overcame a five-second deficit to pip his fellow countryman for second by just three tenths of a second. In Spain he’ll be hoping for a repeat performance.
Husaberg’s Pela Renet sits in third. With a dominant win on day two in Chile, the Frenchman has proven that he’s capable of winning races. With conditions expected to suit the Husaberg rider in northern Spain, Renet will be focused on closing the gap to the leading duo.
Husqvarna’s Juha Salminen is the rider with the most race wins in 2012 but unusually sits fourth overall in the championship standings. Snatching victory on day one in Chile and then again on day two in Argentina, it’s his results in between that hold him back. Etching out an early lead during day one in Argentina, Salminen looked on course for a commanding win until a derailed chain during the third cross test knocked him out of the reckoning. As an eight-time world champion, Juha knows that the season is a long one but he also knows that the only way to work his way back into contention is with race wins. This weekend he’ll be settling for nothing less.
Italy’s Alex Salvini, teammate to Salminen, completes the top five. With a third overall in Chile, the Enduro 2 rookie has delivered some impressive rides. And now, having tasted the podium champagne, Salvini will be eager to taste it once more.
KTM’s Johnny Aubert is a rider that will be focused on a better result in Spain. Recording some below par performances by the two times Enduro 2 world champions very high standards, Aubert’s only shining moment in South America was a third place on day one in Argentina. However, after ending day two early with a technical issue, he will have to roll up his sleeves and fight for a top result if he wishes to climb up the leader board.
Championship Standings (after round two)
1. Ivan Cervantes (Gas Gas) 69pts;
2. Cristobal Guerrero (KTM) 60;
3. Pela Renet (Husaberg) 56;
4. Juha Salminen (Husqvarna) 51;
5. Alex Salvini (Husqvarna) 45;
6. Oscar Balletti (Beta) 34;
7. Julien Gauthier (Kawasaki) 32;
8. Antoine Basset (Yamaha) 32;
9. Johnny Aubert (KTM) 31;
10. Fabio Mossini (KTM) 30…