The final round of the 2021 Yamaha R3 bLU cRU European Cup is fast approaching, and after a hotly contested first season of the championship, five riders from three nations will be vying for the title across two races in support of the FIM Superbike World Championship at Barcelona (17-18 September).
Whoever claims the championship this weekend will earn a spot on the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship grid next year, fully supported by Yamaha Motor Europe. Second in the standings will get a wildcard WorldSSP300 ride and a 50 percent discount on their 2022 Yamaha R3 bLU cRU European Cup campaigns, the latter of which is also offered to the youngster placing third overall.
Having finished inside the top six in every race, including four second-place results, Spain’s Julian Giral currently heads the standings going into the final. The 19-year-old is yet to stand on the top step of the podium, but his consistency among the front-runners sees him head to his home round as one of the favourites for the title.
Fellow countryman Iker Garcia Abella had been leading the championship prior to Magny-Cours, having first hit the top at the Donington Park round. However, after recording his first two DNFs of the season in France, the 17-year-old is now four points adrift in second. With two victories and six podiums, Garcia Abella will be looking to add to that tally in order to give him the best shot at becoming the inaugural champion.
Slovakia’s Maxim Repak heads into the final round just 10 points adrift of the leader. Nicknamed ‘Terminator’, Repak has shown sensational speed this year, winning three times, including a dominant double at Most, which has brought him into contention. The 15-year-old has also been on the podium in six of the seven races he’s finished and is sure to be one of the main protagonists again at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Although he sits 22 points behind the championship leader heading into the weekend, Britain’s Fenton Harrison Seabright will be spurred on by his fantastic Magny-Cours performance. The 19-year-old was 68 points adrift after a Most weekend-to-forget, and despite carrying a collarbone injury, was able to cut that gap by 46 points with a double victory in France. With three wins to his name and plenty still to play for, the #47 rider could yet spring a surprise in the final championship duel.
Spain’s Juan Antonio Conesa Benito is also in with a slim chance at taking the title, but with 41 points to make up, he will have to rely on some misfortune from his rivals. At just 14 years old, he’s the youngest contender and the championship’s youngest winner, having taken victory in the wet Donington Park race.
Elsewhere, Beatriz Neila will be joining the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU European Cup grid as a wildcard in Barcelona. The Spanish rider secured her second consecutive Women’s European Cup title at Mugello in August on a Yamaha R3 and returns to the world championship paddock for the first time since contesting the WorldSSP300 class with the bLU cRU program in 2019, where she achieved a best finish of seventh.
Yamaha Motor Europe, Road Racing Manager
“We have witnessed some incredible racing this year in the first-ever season of the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU European Cup. It has been a pleasure to see these young riders develop throughout the campaign, and we now have one final battle, with five riders all having the opportunity to become champion. These five have shown incredible talent, constantly fighting for wins and podiums whatever challenge is thrown their way. Good luck to them, but also to all our other bLU cRU youngsters, who have shown great speed and maturity, and have taken on board everything they’ve learned to further improve this year. We also welcome back Beatriz to the world championship paddock – she has achieved great success in the Women’s European Cup and we’re excited to see how she will get on this weekend.”