The final race of the Motul French Round in the FIM Supersport World Championship provided action and drama throughout the race which was Red Flagged on the opening lap, with Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha ParkinGo Team) taking his first ever victory in WorldSSP, becoming the second-youngest race winner in the class, while Turkish star Can Öncü claimed his maiden podium as he finished in third place behind Championship leader Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha).
Like in Race 1 yesterday, there was an early Red Flag deployed after a crash on the opening lap involving Luca Bernardi (CM Racing), Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) and Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) at the Lycee Complex. Bernardi and Cluzel were taken to the medical centre following the crash, while Aegerter was able to take his bike back to the pits for his team to work on before the restart. Both Bernardi and Cluzel are conscious. Bernardi was diagnosed with a back injury and Cluzel with a head injury and cervical strain; both taken to Nevers Hospital for further assessments. The race after the Red Flag was shortened from 19 laps to 12.
Aegerter was able to re-join the race when the restart got underway and found himself as the de facto pole sitter with Bernardi not in the race, with the Swiss rider getting a good start to move into the head of the field. He found himself under pressure from Spanish rider Gonzalez and Can Öncü (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) with the Turkish star making a move at the Turn 5 Adelaide hairpin as he gained around five positions.
Aegerter soon reclaimed the lead of the race and Gonzalez followed him through on Öncü to move into second before he made a move on Lap 2 on Aegerter into the Nurburgring chicane to take first place, although Championship leader Aegerter responded into the right-hander hairpin of Adelaide a lap later. The battle raged on until the final laps with Aegerter and Gonzalez going elbow-to-elbow right until the Lycee Complex; Aegerter looking to make a move into Turn 15 but Gonzalez was able to cut back to take the lead through the chicane.
Öncü dropped back from the lead two as the race progressed into the clutches of teammate Philipp Oettl, with the pair separated by just 0.195s at the finish line as Öncü claimed his first WorldSSP podium and the first for Turkey since Kenan Sofuoglu at Qatar in 2017. Oettl came home in fourth place as he responded from a difficult Saturday.
P1 Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha ParkinGo Team)
“I don’t have words for this race. It was almost perfect. The feeling with the bike was really, really good. We worked really well from the Warm-Up trying to go with good rhythm. Aegerter is always really fast in the race, I tried to follow him but in the last sector, always in the chicane I didn’t see anything. I suffered a bit, but I knew I had to be more aggressive from the race yesterday because I was really fast. Today I tried to overtake him at the final corner. It was really difficult.”
P2 Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha)
“I think all the fans and teams enjoyed this race. It was a crazy, crazy race today. I crashed in the first race. I hope the other two riders are okay. At first, I had a lot of pain in my knee and then I was going back to the pits. The bike was quite damaged. The Ten Kate crew was amazingly fast, they helped each other to change the fairing, the exhaust and I could make the restart. I started well, led many laps but I couldn’t pull away. I know that there would be a battle for the last lap. I think we had a fair battle, we pushed each other. Today I lost the victory but I won for the Championship. This is the most important.”
P3 Can Öncü (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
“I just want to say thanks to everybody. When I was broken, he helped me and he is the legend, Kenan. I want to say thanks to all the Turkish guys and everybody at Puccetti. This is not the last, it’s just the first. We will do much more and better!
“WorldSSP Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours – Race 2
1. Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha ParkinGO Team)
2. Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +0.155s
3. Can Öncü (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) +1.438s
4. Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Racing Puccetti) +1.633s
5. Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Corse Clienti) +1.964s
6. Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) +2.900s.
Championship Standings (after Race 2, Round 8)
1. Dominique Aegerter (SUI) Yamaha (302 points)
2. Steven Odendaal (RSA) Yamaha (240 points)
3. Philipp Oettl (GER) Kawasaki (178 points)
Credits : Photos and content courtesy of Dorna WSBK Organization Srl