Plenty to play for during the Pirelli French Round as Yamaha can seal the 2020 Manufacturers’ Championship title.
After the drama of the Catalunya Round, the FIM Supersport World Championship heads to the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours for the penultimate round of the Championship, with the Riders’ Championship decided but plenty to play for up and down the grid at the Pirelli French Round. There’s a strong home presence which promises to bring battles of great magnitude to Champion Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team), as the Italian heads to another new circuit.
Locatelli’s run of victories may have come to an end in stunning fashion during Race 1 at Catalunya but he responded in perfect fashion in Race 2 to claim his tenth victory of the season and secure the Riders’ Championship. Magny-Cours is a new circuit for the Italian, but new circuits have not stopped him winning so far in 2020 as Locatelli will look to continue his dominant season and end the year with more victories and more records in what is already an historic season. His BARDAHL Yamaha team suffered a double DNF last year and will hope that luck is back on their side this year.
Now second in the Championship, Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) took two second-place finishes at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and now, the Frenchman looking to go one better at his home race and claim his first victory of 2020. He won at Magny-Cours in 2019 after a last lap scrap with Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing) and has three podiums in his last four races, not finishing outside the top four in WorldSSP. Mahias could be a home hero once more.
Having been unfit for Catalunya, Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) is currently on the entry list for WorldSSP’s visit to Magny-Cours but will need to be declared fit for the round; Cluzel suffering two fractures to his left leg following a crash in the Pirelli Teruel Round with Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse). It’s a circuit that Cluzel goes well at having won four times in WorldSSP and is the home round for the GMT94 Yamaha team.
Following a strong Catalan weekend, German rookie Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) visits yet another new track but hopes his momentum from Montmelo will carry him forward. Oettl may be competing at Magny-Cours for the first time in his career but the German has shown strong pace all season and will be hoping he can stand on the podium once again and perhaps even bag his first win.
Italian rider Raffaele de Rosa lies fifth in the Championship after battling from the pitlane in Race 1 to 14th and fourth in Race 2 and will be looking to continue his strong race pace. De Rosa’s best finish in WorldSSP at Magny-Cours is fourth, achieved last year, but has continually improved his results with every race here. He was 12th in his first race at the circuit in 2013 before returning in WorldSSP five years later with seventh. The Italian also has WorldSBK experience at Magny-Cours, securing a top ten finish in Race 2 in 2017.
Corentin Perolari (GMT94 Yamaha) seemed to thrive as the sole full-time rider in the GMT94 Yamaha squad over the Catalunya Round and showed strong pace throughout; fighting in the lead group and, in the early stages of both races, leading the field. Perolari has raced at Magny-Cours twice in WorldSSP, securing a top-seven finish in both 2018 and 2019.
Catalunya Race 1 winner Andy Verdoïa (bLU cRU WorldSSP by MS Racing) is full of confidence following his shock victory and will look to be fighting in the top ten once again – this time, in front of his home crowd. He secured a fourth-place finish at Magny-Cours in 2019 while in WorldSSP300; the experience of the track is something he will hope will give him a slight advantage over some of his competitors.
There are two One-Event riders taking part in the Pirelli French Round with Stephane Frossard (Moto Team Jura Vitesse) and Karel Hanika (WRP Wepol Racing) lining up on the grid. Hanika has experience in WorldSBK having secured two points finishes at Laguna Seca in 2018 and joins Danny Webb in the team managed by James Toseland, while Frossard last competed in WorldSSP in the same year. Yamaha will be able to seal the Manufacturers’ Championship for 2020 by outscoring Kawasaki by three points across the two races; one Yamaha bike in the top 12 will crown the Japanese manufacturer as Champions, regardless of Kawasaki’s performance.
Championship Standings after Race 2, Round 6
1. Andrea Locatelli (ITA) Yamaha (263 points)
2. Lucas Mahias (FRA) Kawasaki (159 points)
3. Jules Cluzel (FRA) Yamaha (146 points)