Baltus scores points in season opener in Portugal, Van den Goorbergh struck by illness

Baltus scores points in season opener in Portugal, Van den Goorbergh struck by illness

Barry Baltus finished 12th in the Moto2 race at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve on Sunday afternoon, scoring four points. Zonta van den Goorbergh did not make it to the finish as he was struggling with several health issues.

Baltus lost several places at the start but soon managed to make them up again in the opening phase. Immediately the Belgian rider moved up to a position in the top fifteen, even fighting for a place in the top ten halfway through the race. In the end, the 18-year-old crossed the line in twelfth place, scoring four points for Fieten Olie Racing GP.

Van den Goorbergh was anything but fit but still started in the 19-lap Moto2 race in Portimão. The Dutchman lost several places at the start but managed to keep a couple of riders behind him. On the fourteenth lap, the illness became too much for the 17-year-old rider and he decided to ride his machine into the pits.

Barry Baltus – P12: “It was not a bad day today but still I’m a little bit disappointed as I expected a bit more. I was struggling to pass other riders but our pace was quite good. We start the season with four points in our pocket and we need continue to work in this way. In general it was a great weekend where we showed our potential. It was very important for me to finish the race and score some points. Now we look towards the Argentinean Grand Prix, it will be the first time there for me so a new track to learn.”

Zonta van den Goorbergh – DNF: “I am obviously not happy with how today turned out, there was just no other way. I have been sick all week and it only seemed to get worse. Last night I started coughing and I suffered from that on the bike today as well. I saw there were nine laps to go and I was in a group fighting for a position outside the points, so that wasn’t something I wanted to risk. The pace was very slow and so I wasn’t riding the way I wanted to. That made me decide to come in, something I have never had to do before in my career. At least I tried, even though I felt incredibly bad. Now I hope to recover a bit and then in Argentina we’ll just have to see how it goes there.”

Jarno Janssen – Fieten Olie Racing GP team manager: “It was a good start to the season here in Portimão, with both riders we showed that the speed is definitely there. Barry rode a good race today and scored the first points, we are obviously very happy with that. He looked like he could be in the battle for eighth place but some guys around him still had a second wind at the end of the race. Anyway, a good race and we can build on that.

For Zonta, it is incredibly unfortunate that he has been ill all week. On Saturday he managed to get to Q2, which was impressive, but today it simply wasn’t doable. Respect that he tried, now we hope that he can recover in the coming days and be fitter in Argentina. The team has worked really hard the last few days and I’m proud of that, the season has started and now it’s on to the next one.”

After a busy schedule of five test days and the first Grand Prix of 2023, there is no rest yet for Fieten Olie Racing GP. The team travels to Argentina on Monday to take part in the second Grand Prix of the year at Termas de Río Hondo next weekend.