History was made at the Motul Portuguese Round as rookie Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) claimed his fifth consecutive FIM Supersport World Championship win, becoming the first rider to achieve the milestone; Locatelli claiming his second victory at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve.
Locatelli had to fight his way back from fourth despite starting from pole position, with both Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha), teammate Corentin Perolari and Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing) all getting ahead of the Championship leader. Locatelli quickly passed Viñales and Perolari but had to fight his way past Cluzel; the pair battling for half the race before Locatelli got by on Lap 9. Cluzel completed the 17-lap race in second place with Spanish rider Viñales claiming the final podium place.
It means Locatelli extended his Championship lead even further following his record-breaking race after fighting his way through the field to claim victory, with Locatelli now 35 points clear of Cluzel at the top of the standings; more than the 25 points available for a race victory in a WorldSSP race.
Steven Odendaal (EAB Ten Kate Racing) claimed a fourth-placed finish in Race 2 at Portimao as he got by Perolari, with the Frenchman falling back behind Philipp Oettl during the race and then Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) on the race to the line; Oetll finishing in fifth with Gonzalez pipping Perolari to sixth place by just 0.045s.
Hannes Soomer (Kallio Racing) closed in on the battle between Oettl, Gonzalez and Perolari as he missed out on a higher-placed finish by just one tenth of a second; the Estonian gaining almost half a second in the second half of the final lap to miss out by the barest of margins. Soomer was four seconds clear of Miquel Pons (H43 Team NOBBY), who secured a top 10 finish in a wildcard appearance in WorldSSP. Can Öncü (Turkish Racing Team) completed the top 10 following a battle through the field.
Hungarian rider Peter Sebestyen (OXXO Yamaha Team Toth) completed the race in 11th place with Raffaele de Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) finishing 12; the Italian coming off his bike on Lap 11 of 17 at Turn 5 but able to re-join the race to claim a points finish, beating WorldSSP Challenge rider Kevin Manfredi (Altogoo Racing Team) by just over a tenth of a second; Manfredi the highest-place WorldSSP Challenge rider. Loris Cresson (OXXO Yamaha Team Toth) finished 14th with Indonesian rider Galang Pratama Hendra (bLU cRU WorldSSP by MS Racing) picking up the final point from the race.
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was the first faller in the race as he came down at Turn 2 on the opening lap, retiring from the race shortly after. Lachlan Epis (MPM Routz Racing Team) was not classified following a crash on the exit of Turn 3; Epis able to get up of his own accord but taken to the medical centre for a check-up.
P1 Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team)
“It’s an incredible job and we win everything! We stay calm and we worked a lot, we need to understand what the problem was in the first part of the race. For me, the track is not so easy and Jules was very fast, and for the final race we are stronger and thank you very much to the guys because every time, they do an incredible job.”
P2 Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha)
“I gave everything yesterday and today. I knew this was a circuit I’m faster than a lot of guys, especially Locatelli as well, because in practice I was feeling good with the used tyres. We are still trying to understand but more races are coming, and we still finish second. Yesterday I said to the team, and we decided to try to win. I was losing the front everywhere and losing so much time on the straight. Today, we started again but I felt like I was going to crash at every corner. I still fight and try but I understand in the end that I can’t, so I decided to concentrate on the gap to Viñales because he was riding really fast it was not easy. I am really happy with second place. We are the best of the rest, it’s a little bit disappointing because of that, but I’m racing doing what I love, and I need to enjoy these things.”
P3 Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing)
“I’m finally here on the podium. I tried hard at Jerez, but it was not possible because I had many problems. I tried yesterday and got nothing. Today, I’m on the podium and I’m very happy. Thank you to the team for all the work.”
#PRTWorldSBK Autódromo Internacional do Algarve – Race 2
2. Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) +2.889
3. Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing) +5.517
4. Steven Odendaal (EAB Ten Kate Racing) +9.547
5. Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) +16.743
6. Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) +17.035.
1. Andrea Locatelli (ITA) Yamaha (125 points)
2. Jules Cluzel (FRA) Yamaha (90 points)
3. Lucas Mahias (FRA) Kawasaki (62 points)
Credits : Photos and content courtesy of WorldSBK.com