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Rookie Howden wins Women's European Cup opener

Jessica Howden dominated her debut race in the Women's European Cup at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli last weekend.

Celebrations saw her newly-founded all-female squad, WithU 511 Racing, claim it’s maiden victory in the class as the South African held off double champion Beatriz Neila Santos (Team Trasimeno) and Racestar’s Sabrina Della Manna in the podium fight.

The first race of the 2022 Women’s European Cup saw 20 starters battle it out on the wet asphalt of the Adriatic circuit, with conditions rapidly evolving throughout the race. Howden, who started fifth, wrestled her way to the top, showcasing unmatchable pace over the course of the ten lap race. The 18-year-old Kawasaki rider built a gap of over seven seconds in the mixed conditions, after besting Santos for position. The reigning champion, who slipped into the pack after starting from pole, managed to recover in the closing stages, fighting hard with Della Manna and Sara Sanchez before consolidating second on the final lap, and snatching the fastest lap (2’02.473) in the process.


Della Manna, having placed fourth in qualifying, closed the race weekend on a positive note after fighting at the front and proving her podium potential. Sanchez, also involved in the CIV races during the weekend, was forced to settle for fourth at the end.

Yamaha Motoxracing’s Roberta Ponziani remained competitive throughout qualifying and the race, gaining the upper hand in an exciting duel with Isis Carreño (Kawasaki - GP3 AD11) and reigning champion Santos before the pair crossed the line fifth and sixth respectively.

Sara Cabrini (Yamaha - Team Trasimeno) crossed the line in seventh but shone bright in the first half of the race’s wet conditions, running as high as second. Martina Plenario (Kawasaki - Runner Bike), Anna Mercuri (Yamaha - Officina Dei Talenti) and Ran Yochay, making her debut in the championship, rounded out the top ten.

Another debut sees the Women’s European Cup head to Spain for the first time as the "Ricardo Tormo" Circuit in Valencia hosts the second of six rounds on April 23-24.

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