WorldSSP300: Gonzalez grabs crucial WorldSSP300 Portimao pole 1The WorldSSP300 championship leader will attempt to secure his first championship from pole position tomorrow afternoon, with Ana Carrasco challenging from third.

After a lengthy break, it was time for the riders to dial themselves back in across both the groups in their 20-minute sessions. The top 30 would make it through to the main race on Sunday, whilst those outside of it would have to finish inside the top six of the Last Chance Race. Not needing to worry about that, it was Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) who stormed to pole position.

Group A saw two of the championship rivals clear at the top, with Galang Hendra Pratama (Semakin Di Depan Biblion Motoxracing) topping the session ahead of Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki Provec WorldSSP300). The Indonesian riders lap time was an all-time lap record for the class at the circuit; Hendra Pratama had to give it his best shot, as he has a 12-place grid penalty to contend with for irresponsible riding at Donington Park. Manuel Bastianelli (Prodina IRCOS Kawasaki) was third ahead of Koen Meuffels (Kawasaki MOTOPORT), with four race winners in the top four after Group A Superpole.

Group B soon took to the circuit and the times were immediately right on those of Hendra Pratama. Victor Steeman (Freudenberg KTM Junior Team) was getting quicker and quicker early on, straight away going into second on the grid. Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) was also quick straight away, whilst Scott Deroue (Kawasaki MOTOPORT) was also in the mix for pole position.

With just under 12 minutes to go, championship leader Gonzalez hit top spot on combined times but there was plenty of time left to run. Victor Steeman, who had been lapping consistently fast and looks to have good pace, took pole position away from Gonzalez five minutes later, as he chases his second pole position of his 2019 WorldSSP300 campaign. It was a disaster further down the field for Beatriz Neila (BCD Yamaha MS Racing), as she suffered a flat rear tyre with less than five minutes to go.

Manuel Gonzalez’ bid to become WorldSSP300 champion grew stronger as in the closing two minutes, he 17-year-old took pole position back from Steeman and remained ahead overall. Steeman took second place and Hendra Pratama was third from Group A but will start in 15th due to his 12-place grid penalty. This means that championship challenger Ana Carrasco will inherit a front row grid start. Scott Deroue finished fifth overall but will start from fourth, whilst Andy Verdoïa (BCD Yamaha MS Racing) will start from fifth after completing the session sixth, whilst Bruno Ieraci (Kawasaki GP Project) will move onto the row two due to Hendra Pratama’s penalty.

Marc Garcia (DS Junior Team) heads up the third row on the grid, ahead of Manuel Bastianelli and Beatriz Neila, who achieves her best grid position with tenth but will start ninth. Completing the top ten on the grid, Aragon 2018 race winner Koen Meuffels. It was a disaster for Hugo De Cancellis (Team Trasimeno Yamaha), who suffered two crashed and will start down in 29th position on Sunday.

Oliver König (ACCR Czech Talent Team – Willi Race) breezed clear to take the WorldSSP300 Last Chance Race win, as the battle ignited behind him. The Czech rider eased away in the early stages of the race and soon found himself away at the front of the field, whilst behind him, the positions from third back to sixth had not been sorted out. But who would come out on top?

With König away and running at the very front of the field, it would be Dion Otten (MTM Racing) who took second place, although he had little company in the closing stages of the race. Behind, however, the battle really had come alive in the closing stages. Mateo Pedeneau (Team MHP Racing – Patrick Pons) would get the better of his teammate Enzo De La Vega to take the final position in the top three, whilst both made it through to the main race tomorrow.

Bahattin Sofuoglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing by TSM), who ran fourth for most of the race was fifth in the end after a tricky final lap, but he held off Adrien Quinet (TGP Racing), who completely missed FP1 on Friday. Just missing out on racing action tomorrow was Marco Carusi (Team Trasimeno Yamaha), with the Italian coming home seventh.

Pole Position – Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team)
“It was an incredible qualifying, and I think it was probably the best I have done in my life. The lap was almost perfect, and there was just a corner where I felt I was a bit slow. But I have to say thanks to the team because the whole package of the bike was working perfectly and I think we are in the condition to fight for another win tomorrow and hopefully even the championship title”.

#PRTWorldSBK WorldSSP300 at Autodromo Internacional do Algarve:
Tissot Superpole

1. Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) 1’55.345
2. Victor Steeman (Freudenberg KTM Junior Team) 1’55.513
3. Galang Hendra Pratama (Semakin Di Depan Biblion Motoxracing) 1’55.873





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