Andrea Locatelli wins after race-long battle with Lucas Mahias ahead of an epic four-way battle for the podium in wet Race 1; Yamaha win Manufacturers’ Title.
Soaking wet conditions provided dramatic action up and down the FIM Supersport World Championship grid as the rain fell in France with Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) and Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) duelled it out in a race-long battle for victory in the Pirelli French Round at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours.
Locatelli started the race from a season-low fourth place on the grid but quickly made it up to the front of the field as he took the lead on the opening lap, with Mahias just behind. Locatelli and Mahias were able to pull out a gap to the riders behind as they duelled it out for victory across the 18-lap race, with Locatelli taking the race win ahead of Mahias; the Italian securing his 11th win of the season. Locatelli’s victory means Yamaha have now secured the 2020 Manufacturers’ Title for WorldSSP.
Hannes Soomer (Kallio Racing) was able to take his first podium of the season, and career, despite starting the race in 16th place and take the first podium for Estonia in WorldSSP. The Estonian battled his way through the field and joined the battle for third place early in the race, finishing ahead of Raffaele de Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), Kevin Manfredi (Altogoo Racing Team) and Can Öncü (Turkish Racing Team).
De Rosa, Manfredi and Öncü were separated by just under a tenth when a Red Flag was shown on the final lap after Glenn van Straalen (MPM Routz Racing Team) crashed, with the trio unable to take their fight to the line; with Manfredi being the highest placed WorldSSP Challenge rider in the race.
Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) finished in seventh place, just half a second behind Öncü, but 16 seconds clear of Federico Fuligni (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) as he scored his best result of his career. Hungarian rider Peter Sebestyen (OXXO Yamaha Team Toth) was in ninth place with Danny Webb (WRP Wepol Racing) completing the top ten.
Corentin Perolari (GMT94 Yamaha) finished the race in 11th place with South African rider Steven Odendaal (EAB Ten Kate Racing) in 12th. Spanish rider Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing) was in 13th place with Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Axel Bassani (Soradis Yamaha Motoxracing) completing the points finishes.
Kyle Smith (GMT94 Yamaha) had been in the podium fight but suffered two crashes as he showed rapid pace throughout the race; he first crashed on Lap 6 at Turn 15 and was able to re-mount. He then was able to fight his way back into podium contention but crashed at Turn 1 on Lap 12 as he caught the train and retired from the race.
Galang Hendra Pratama (bLU cRU WorldSSP by MS Racing) crashed out of the race on Lap 5 while Karel Hanika (WRP Wepol Racing), making a wildcard appearance in WorldSSP, crashed out of the race on Lap 8; with both Pratama and Hanika retiring from the race. Stephane Frossard (Moto Team Jura Vitesse) pulled into the pit lane in the early stages of the race while Hikari Okubo (Dynavolt Honda) also retired from the race.
P1 Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team)
“It’s amazing. It’s been a really difficult weekend for me because it’s a new track for me and also I have not run a lot in the rain. The feeling with the bike, the work with the guys is so good, and we did a really good job today. For sure, we are ready for tomorrow. I am happy because now I have also won in the rain, this is good.”
P2 Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
“This was not an easy race. I don’t know why but the conditions were a little bit different compared to the other sessions. I don’t know whether this was the temperature of the water on the track, but the bike was completely different; the grip on the rear was not nice especially in the middle of the corner. I think, in the beginning, I had the rhythm to overtake and push at the front, but I prefer overall because I didn’t have the rhythm to ride alone. Finally, in the last laps, I lost a bit of the rear and Locatelli. I’m happy because I’m fast in all conditions, but the problem is so is Andrea! Tomorrow, I’ll try a different setting and try to understand this little problem of the rear from today.”
P3 Hannes Soomer (Kallio Racing)
“It’s unbelievable! I cannot believe it. The beginning of the race was really difficult because I started from 16th and in the first laps I could not see anything, there was a lot of water. We did a really good yesterday morning; the bike is unbelievable. It’s been a long wait but it’s a really, really good feeling to be here.”
#FRAWorldSBK WorldSSP at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours – Race 1
1. Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team)
2. Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
3. Hannes Soomer (Kallio Racing)
4. Raffaele de Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse)
5. Kevin Manfredi (Altogoo Racing Team)
6. Can Öncü (Turkish Racing Team)
Championship Standings after Race 1, Round 7
1. Andrea Locatelli (ITA) Yamaha (288 points)
2. Lucas Mahias (FRA) Kawasaki (179 points)
3. Jules Cluzel (FRA) Yamaha (146 points)
#FRAWorldSBK WorldSSP at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours – Superpole.
1. Kyle Smith (GMT94 Yamaha) 1’49.318s
2. Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) +0.149s
3. Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) +0.746s
4. Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) +0.963s
5. Raffaele de Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) +1.259s
6. Galang Hendra Pratama (bLU cRU WorldSSP by MS Racing) +1.263s
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