With track temperatures hitting and exceeding 60°c during the FIM Supersport World Championship Race 1, the opening WorldSSP race from the Pirelli Spanish took place in sweltering conditions but that did not stop Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) taking victory despite an early-race battle with Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha).
Locatelli held the lead off the line but French rider Cluzel made the move to take the lead on the opening lap of the race. He was able to hold the lead until lap five when Locatelli was able to make a move back to take the lead and promptly extended his lead to Cluzel to take the Italian rider out of range; eventually finishing the race three seconds clear of Cluzel.
Cluzel finished a comfortable second, with a margin of almost five seconds, despite the lead group of three to break away along with Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing); Cluzel able to finish over four seconds clear of German rider Oettl. Oettl also had a comfortable run to the podium on his Kawasaki ZX-6R, the top Kawasaki rider in Race 1 with both Locatelli and Cluzel both riding Yamaha YZF R6 machines.
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) claimed a hard-fought fourth place ahead of Raffaele de Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) in Race 1; the pair fighting on the last lap with Mahias making a move through the fast right-handers towards the end of the lap to secure fourth place. De Rosa had been closing in on Mahias throughout the latter stages and passed him at Turn 6, the pair getting their elbows out as they made their way through the corner.
Steven Odendaal (EAB Ten Kate Racing) finished in sixth place as he held off a challenge from Corentin Perolari (GMT94 Yamaha). The pair were separated by just three tenths of a second as they crossed the line with 2019 WorldSSP300 Champion Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) finishing in eighth. Spaniard Gonzalez had to fight off Can Öncü (Turkish Racing Team) and Hannes Soomer (Kallio Racing) who rounded up the top 10; the trio separated by seven tenths as they crossed the line.
Alejandro Ruiz (EMPERADOR Racing Team) finished an impressive 11th place after starting at the back of the grid following a penalty for incorrect tyre pressures; making up a number of positions throughout the 17-lap race to secure a points finish. Ruiz, the highest-placed finisher in the WorldSSP Challenge, finished two-and-a-half seconds clear of Danny Webb (WRP Wepol Racing) in 12th.
Federico Fuligni (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) finished in 13th place, three seconds behind Webb but a comfortable nine seconds clear of Belgian rider Loris Cresson (OXXO Yamaha Team Toth). Cresson was 16 seconds clear of WorldSSP Challenge competitor Luigi Montella (DK MOTORSPORT), who claimed the final point to be awarded in the race with 15th. Lachlan Epis (MPM Routz Racing Team) was classified in 16th place.
Axel Bassani (Soradis Yamaha Motoxracing) was running strongly in the points during his race but the WorldSSP Challenge competitor had a crash late in the race; the Italian taken to the medical centre for checks following the incident but was declared fit after the check-up. Peter Sebestyen (OXXO Yamaha Team Toth) and Andy Verdoïa (bLU cRU WorldSSP by MS Racing) had an incident at Turn 4 which meant Hungarian rider Sebestyen retired from the race and was taken to the medical centre for a check-up following the incident; later being declared unfit due to concussion. Verdoïa was able to continue in the race but later had an issue which meant he temporarily stopped on track.
Other retirements in the race included Indonesian rider Galang Hendra Pratama (bLU cRU WorldSSP by MS Racing), Hikari Okubo (Dynavolt Honda), Patrick Hobelsberger (Dynavolt Honda) and Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing); the Spanish rider starting from the back of the grid following a stewards’ decision for incorrect tyre pressures.
P1 Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team):
“It’s a fantastic day today, we did a good job, but the conditions are very crazy. It’s so hot and so difficult to push on the bike but we need to understand to take a bit more confidence in these conditions because it’s important for tomorrow and the second race. I think we did a really good job today and this is important for the Championship and also for me. “
P2 Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) :
“I’m happy. It was the target after practice and qualifying. We knew we could not really follow the rider of the BARDAHL but I gave my best to be second. I tried my best, for sure, to be first but today was too difficult, too much risk. With the hot conditions I was sliding the front, sliding the rear. Actually, I’m happy, I’m proud because I trained hard for these hot conditions. I knew more or less the feeling and I tried to improve the bike in these conditions. It worked today so second is a good result. We still have a race tomorrow so we have to improve a little bit tomorrow and maybe I can fight with him.”
P3 Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) :
“I’m really happy. We had a good Philip Island race until the crash so when we came here, I did a lot of preparation at home with my training bike thanks to Puccetti. He gave me a good training bike I could use to get back into a rhythm after a very long break. I’m just happy. Today is the birthday of one mechanic from my side of the team and I think it’s a good birthday present for him! The race was good, I had a good start and I could immediately check out with the front three and then I had to calm down because it was so, so slippery out there with so much grease from the asphalt. It was really a high chance to crash with the front. I’m happy with third place, we get 16 points and that’s a lot. For the moment, I’m really happy.”
#ESPWorldSBK WorldSSP at Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto – Race 1
- Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team)
- Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) +3.052
- Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) +7.766
- Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) +10.908
- Raffaele de Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) +11.979
- Steven Odendaal (EAB Ten Kate Racing) +17.464.
Championship Standings after Race 1, Round 2
2. Jules Cluzel (FRA) Yamaha (40 points)
3. Lucas Mahias (FRA) Kawasaki (26 points)
Credits : Photos and content courtesy of WorldSBK.com