Spain’s Lucas, Malaysia’s Irfan crowned champions of MiniGP World Series in Valencia

The 2023 FIM MiniGP World Series Final came to a thrilling end on Thursday, with two world champions crowned at the season ending event at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, Spain.

All eyes were understandably on the new, feature 190cc category, which featured a pair of former champions in inaugural 2021 winner Izan Rodriguez of Spain and reigning champion Gabriel Vuono of Italy.

Rodriguez was set to start from second on the grid when he left the circuit on Wednesday night after qualifying behind his teammate Alvaro Lucas, but Lucas notably had his pole time disqualified and was sent to the back of the grid – the assumption being a post-race tech infraction, though no explanation was given by Dorna nor the FIM. 

Whatever the case, Lucas made quick work of the midfield in race one on Thursday, carving his way through the competition as he reached sixth place by just the fifth lap of the battle while Rodriguez led the pack.

Lucas continued to put pressure on the chasing pack for second as Rodriguez stretched out a somewhat comfortable lead, but the former title winner gifted his teammate a massive opportunity when he crashed out of a lonely lead at the halfway point.

Despite a stiff battle with Italy’s Lorenzo Pritelli, Lucas was able to capitalize and steal a sensational victory from last on the grid, with Pritelli edging Ben Wiegner of Germany for the final podium places. 

Race two was less dramatic at the front, as Rodriguez again jumped out to an early lead but this time avoided any mistakes as he scored a dominant victory. The real story was what unfolded behind the 13-year-old, as Lucas’ second charge was far tougher.

This time it was a group of four giving the Spaniard trouble, with the Italian duo of Pritelli and Edoardo Savino running in the final podium places. Lucas would apply all sorts of pressure to both, but the teammate stood firm to leave Lucas fourth, as Pritelli snatched a two-point title lead by way of his pair of runner-up finishes.

That left the Grand Final – worth double points – to determine the inaugural 190cc winner, but it was hardly a contest from the drop of the lights as Lucas led start-to-finish and rival Pritelli crashed on the opening lap.

Pritelli managed to keep things entertaining as he remounted and charged back to third, enduring an epic battle with Savino and Ryder Davis of the Unites States, but it wasn’t enough as Lucas held on with Savino and Pritelli again completing the podium.

That was more than enough to hand the inaugural title to Lucas, as the 12-year-old Spaniard has quickly emerged as the next potential star in Grand Prix racing behind his epic performances on Thursday.

As for the 160cc category, it was a dominant showing from Malaysian sensation Qabil Irfan, as the eleven-year-old swept the trio of races to take a maximum 100 points and secure his own MiniGP World Championship.

Irfan wrapped up the perfect showing after starting from pole position, fending off a set of familiar names in all three races as he was simply in a league of his own in Valencia this week. 

Each occasion began with home favourite Enzo Zaragoza as his closest challenger, with the duo enjoying a thrilling fight to the line in race one while the eleven-year-old Spaniard briefly took the lead in race two, but that was close as he would get as Irfan was unbeatable in the final moments. 

Race two was the most unpredictable, as Zaragoza went from the lead early on to missing the podium entirely, as the 12-year-old duo of Kotaro Togashi of Japan and the United Kingdom’s Ethan Sparks each unseated the home hero for the rostrum.

Zaragoza again had to deal with Togashi in the Grand Final, this time alongside American 12-year-old Nathan Gouker, but a late charge from Togashi would hand him the runner-up spot both on-track and in the championship while Zaragoza took third. 

Full video coverage from the FIM MiniGP World Series Final can be found on the series’ official YouTube account.