Joe Francis A points bonanza and a championship-topping performance ensured Team WD-40 enjoyed their best weekend of the season at Scotland’s Knockhill circuit.

Chester teenager Joe Francis led the way by finishing in third position in the Moto 3 class of the Monster Energy Motostar race in sunny conditions.

A fourth successive podium finish ensured Joe opened up an 11-point advantage over the chasing pack in the championship standings.

Team-mates Tommy Aquino and Jon Railton were also in the points after finishing eighth and 11th respectively in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000.

Indeed, such was the pace of Tommy, a podium finish was a possibility had the race not been red-flagged with six laps remaining.

Joe produced hugely impressive qualifying performances to ensure he started from second on the grid.

The opening laps of the race were exciting with the lead exchanged on almost every corner. In one audacious move into the hairpin, Joe produced a stunning surge from third to first.

A small error in the super-fast chicane saw Joe clip the kerb and run over the gravel, the youngster doing well to stay on board.

The 15-year-old dropped to 10th spot overall but quickly re-discovered his poise to work his way back up the field to secure a podium finish.

“I was disappointed to make the mistake because I was really confident of getting a race win,” said Joe.

“But overall I’m happy with how the weekend went. Qualifying was good and I came back well having dropped to 10th spot. To be leading the championship is great.”

In the Superstock 1000, Jon qualified in sixth spot and Tommy in 15th before both performed with distinction on race day.

Tommy produced a spectacular burst through the field to climb into the top eight by the two-thirds stage of the race. At that point, he was recording faster times than the leaders and realistic ambitions of a top three finish were surfacing.

But, just as he moved into seventh place, his hopes of further progress were dashed by a crash from another rider on lap 18 which led to a red flag and a premature end to the race.

“I was really confident during the race and delighted with my performance,” said Tommy.

“I’m learning all the time and my results are showing that. I’m confident that if the race had gone the full distance, I would have been in the top three.

“The bike set-up is fantastic and everybody at Team WD-40 is confident about the rest of the season.”

Jon, of Grapham and who continued to battle a knee problem suffered in the last round at Donnington, produced a determined display to battle through the pain and secure an 11th place finish which was well within the points.

“It was very warm during our race and that led to the knee swelling up a little bit,” said Jon.

“But I wanted to get as much as I could out of the weekend and I think I did that.”

Team WD-40 manager Brent Gladwin was hugely encouraged by the performance of all three team members.

“It has been a fantastic weekend and everyone involved with Team WD-40 should be very proud of what we have achieved,” said Brent.

“To be top of the Monster Energy Motostar Moto 3 championship standings is very satisfying and the challenge now is to stay there for the rest of the season.

“Joe had damage to his bike and himself after his incident so to come back and finish where he did was a fantastic achievement.

“Tommy just got his head down and was producing some excellent times which proves he is improving with every meeting and Jon can be really pleased with his weekend as well.

“He had an excellent qualification and produced a very gutsy performance in the race, despite his knee causing him major discomfort.

“We will have a few days off now because it’s a long trip for us up to Knockhill and it’s been a busy weekend.

“We will then sit down with the boys and try and make some further improvements to their bikes and continue the excellent progress we are making.”

David Whittome, of team sponsors WD-40 Specialist Motorbike, said: “It was another fantastic performance from Team WD-40 and all three riders displayed plenty of skill and determination.

“To be top of a championship at this stage of the season is a massive boost to everybody and gives the whole team a confidence boost for the rest of the season.”

The next meeting is at Snetterton from July 5 to 7.



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