New Zealander Cormac Buchanan has secured his second consecutive podium, finishing third in today’s FIM JuniorGP race at Circuito Estoril.

In fast-changing conditions, the New Zealander opted to switch to slick tyres while on the grid and his experienced AGR crew quickly delivered.

Scorching off the line, Buchanan reinforced it was the right decision by leading the first six laps of the shortened 10-lap stanza. Forced to avoid a crash in the lead group of four riders, the kiwi battled to the line, narrowly missing out on second by just 0.04 seconds.

“It was a really good race for me. We went with the slicks last minute and it was still quite a wet track so the priority for me was to come home with some points. Third place is a solid result,” he said.

“I think today the win was on the cards but there’s a few little things to improve and that comes with experience. Avoiding the crash detached me from the leader so I think if that didn’t happen we could have been in for more but third is still really good points for the championship and we keep focused on this.

“With such a cold track the tyres weren’t performing to their optimum and I still had the wet set up so in those circumstances you have to consolidate. Considering where we were on Friday with the big crash and injury, I’m really happy to get another podium.

“My plan was always to get away fast and try to make the group as small as possible. I made a strong start and pushed really hard in the opening laps. It was really difficult because the conditions were changing all the time but it was good to lead the race and I felt really comfortable so this gives me really good confidence heading into Barcelona.”

Fellow JuniorGP racers Kgopotso ‘KJ’ Mononyane, of South Africa, and Geoffrey Emmanuel, of India, finished 19th and 28th respectively.

“I had some good battles in the group but I felt I could have gone faster and wanted more. It’s the past now and obviously it was a difficult weekend but the learning curve continues. We have to look on the positive side and we finished the race, we gained some good data and got a lot of experience,” Mononyane said.

Emmanuel was satisfied with his efforts.

“We’ve made some good steps in both dry and wet conditions this weekend. I’ve worked on very important things so I’m looking forward to Barcelona to put them into action again,” he said.

In the European Talent Cup ranks, American Kristian Daniel Junior had a challenging day, crashing in slippery wet conditions in race one. Despite two long lap penalties for a jump start in the second event, he fought hard to finish P15 and get points on the championship ladder.

“After a good Saturday, it’s a little bit infuriating to end Sunday on this note. We had pretty good pace in the wet but I crashed out of 6th place in the first lap as I was too eager to get past and move up positions,” he said.

“In the second race, I barely moved but the FIM is super strict – and rightly so, they should be like that – and I got a double long lap for a jump start. We got P15 and it’s an improvement because we finished the race and got on the points ladder. We have the pace to be at the front and I proved that – in the next race we just have to push a little bit more and not make any mistakes.”

After suffering a knee injury in qualifying, Afonso Almeida showed impressive strength of character to complete both races.

“Today I considered not racing but then the motivation hit me as this is my home round in Portugal and I am the only one from my country on the grid,” he said.

“I tried my best to ignore the pain to finish the races as strong as possible. I’m not completely happy because if I wasn’t injured, I know I could do better. I want to say thank you to my team because we achieved my first goal of getting to Q2. My next goal is to catch the points and I am confident we will do that in Barcelona.”