Buchanan back on podium

Cormac Buchanan celebrates finishing third at the second round of the JuniorGP World Championship...
Cormac Buchanan celebrates finishing third at the second round of the JuniorGP World Championship in Portugal. PHOTO: MANU TORMO
Cormac Buchanan has obviously got a taste for the podium.

The teenage Southland rider claimed a second consecutive podium finish in the JuniorGP World Championship when he finished third at the Portugal round of the series yesterday.

It followed his breakthrough third placing at the opening round in Italy.

In fast-changing conditions at the Circuito Estoril, Buchanan opted to switch to slick tyres while on the grid and his experienced AGR Racing 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 race.

Forced to avoid a crash in the lead group of four riders, the Kiwi battled to the line, narrowly missing out on second place by just 0.04sec.

"It was a really good race for me", Buchanan said.

"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.

"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."

Buchanan had a difficult start to the Portugal round of the championship when he crashed on the final corner of his second practice session.

He recovered wonderfully to claim pole position for the race.

"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."

The next round of the championship is in Spain on May 18-19.

— Staff reporter