The FIM Supersport World Championship returned to action on Friday at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve for the first of four decisive rounds, and it was Jules Cluzel (NRT) who was back on top. The Frenchman improved later on in the day, as he was only fifth in the opening free practice session at Portimao, but in FP2 he found the pace to fly above the other frontrunners by 0.104 seconds.
Cluzel was joined by Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) in a French one two at the top of the timesheets. The Frenchman had also finished FP1 in second position and a late charge in the latter session guaranteed that the 2017 WorldSSP champion would remain amongst the best on the day.
Championship leader Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) – five points ahead of Cluzel in the standings – ended Friday 0.120 seconds behind his championship rival and will have to find matching pace in tomorrow’s Superpole 2.
Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) topped the timesheets in FP1 and remained on top throughout most of FP2 but, unable to improve on his earlier time, dropped down to fourth at the end. Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) followed in fifth, while the remaining championship frontrunner Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) crashed during his flying lap and will have to fight through tomorrow’s Superpole 1.
British duo Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing) and Kyle Smith (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) ended Friday in sixth and seventh, respectively, followed by Hannes Soomer (Racedays) in eighth, Ayrton Badovini (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) in ninth, and Corentin Perolari (GMT94 Yamaha) closing the top ten. WorldSSP debutant Hector Barbera (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) finished Friday in 23rd position.
Who will take the ninth pole position of the season? Find out on Saturday from 14:00 local time (13:00 GMT) with Superpole 1.
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Autodromo Internacional do Algarve: Friday
1. Jules Cluzel (NRT) 1:54:054
2. Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) +0.104
3. Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) +0.120