Drama and tension throughout the opening race of the FIM Supersport World Championship’s first visit to the Circuito de Navarra as Championship leader Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) secured a sensational victory for the seventh time this season after a race-long battle with Championship rival Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) at the Pirelli Navarra Round.
The opening laps of the race were unpredictable as the lead riders exchanged positions consistently. Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) and Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha ParkinGo Team) were the big winners as the lights went out with Spanish rider Gonzalez took the lead of the race from second, while Odendaal moved into second from fourth as Championship leader Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) fell to fifth.
After an impressive Friday and Saturday at Navarra, Simon Jespersen (Kallio Racing) moved into the podium places at the start of the race, challenging Gonzalez for second place in the opening laps after Gonzalez lost out to Odendaal. Gonzalez was able to respond on Lap 6 to re-take the lead in search of his first WorldSSP victory. Aegerter dropped down the order in the opening laps but fought back to be in the lead group on Lap 7 as he worked his way back through the field.
Aegerter’s fightback meant he was directly behind Odendaal in the middle phase of the race and soon found himself in second, behind Odendaal, as the pair made a move on Gonzalez on Lap 8 of the 20-lap encounter, with the top two in the Championship running as the top two in the race. On Lap 9, Aegerter made an aggressive move at the Turn 15 hairpin that ends the lap, but Odendaal was able to respond on the start-finish straight at the start of Lap 10.
Luca Bernardi (CM Racing) was another who battled his way up through the order including two aggressive moves into Turn 15 and joined the lead group, before an incredible move into the fast right-hander of Turn 1 on Gonzalez to move into third. He tried a similar move through the first two fast right-handers on Aegerter, but the Swiss rider was able to defend into Turn 3.
Aegerter eventually got past Odendaal after battling for a few laps and went on to claim victory at Navarra with Bernardi taking third; the Italian was unable to take advantage of the battling duo ahead although he did battle Odendaal for second throughout the final laps.
P1 Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha)
“It was a very good day for me. It’s very hot out here in Navarra and it was a long 20-lap race, but we had a great battle in the first few laps, a lot of overtaking, big battles to get the lead. When I had the lead, I could go at my own pace and in the end, I had a three-second advantage.”
P2 Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team)
“It was quite a hard race today, the temperatures were really, really hot. When Aegerter passed me, I held on for a little while. I thought I could try to block pass him again but I just didn’t have it in me. Unfortunately, we have to settle for what we can. It’s a long run in the Championship, not that I’m thinking of that, but it is important. The maximum we could take was 20 points today.”
P3 Luca Bernardi (CM Racing)
“Today was a very hard race, very hot. Step by step, I worked with my team and I have a good feeling with the bike. It was a very hard race and in the last lap I tried to take second position.”
WorldSSP Circuito de Navarra – Race 1
1 Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha)
2. Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) +4.425s
3. Luca Bernardi (CM Racing) +5.074s
4. Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) +6.124s
5. Federico Caricasulo (Biblion Iberica Yamaha Motoxracing) +6.674s
6. Randy Krummenacher (EAB Racing Team) +10.729s.
Championship Standings (after Race 1, Round 7)
1. Dominique Aegerter (SUI) Yamaha (232 points)
2. Steven Odendaal (RSA) Yamaha (190 points)
3. Philipp Oettl (GER) Kawasaki (146 points)
Credits : Photos and content courtesy of Dorna WSBK Organization Srl