FIM Supersport World Championship action came to a thrilling conclusion at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the Hyundai N Catalunya Round as Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha ParkinGo Team) claimed an incredible victory by just 0.021s ahead of Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) in Race 2, while Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Corse Clienti) ensured all three manufacturers were represented on the podium.
Turkish star Can Öncü (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was the big mover in the early stages of the 18-lap battle as he made moves on Randy Krummenacher (CM Racing) and Gonzalez to take the lead of the race after starting from tenth place. The move for the lead came at the start of Lap 4 as he passed Gonzalez on the brakes into the right-hander of Turn 1.
As Lap 6 started Krummenacher and Öncü got as close as they could which slowed the pair down int Turn 1, allowing Gonzalez to reclaim the lead of the race with Krummenacher passing Öncü as well. A lap later and De Rosa was through on Öncü as well as Krummenacher to move into second place. Öncü’s fight for the podium came to an end on Lap 8 at Turn 5 as the Turkish rider came off his bike, re-joining the race down in 29th place and then bringing his bike back to the pits.
Öncü’s incident allowed the lead group to fracture out a little bit but there were still four riders battling for the race win, with De Rosa able to get alongside Gonzalez lap after lap but Gonzalez able to defend the position on the brakes. On Lap 13, De Rosa made a move stick on Gonzalez at Turn 4 to take the lead of the race, with Krummenacher and Tulli still in the fight for the podium. Gonzalez lost time at the start of Lap 14 as he ran wide at Turn 1 and fell behind both Krummenacher and Tuuli but remained in the lead group although moved back in the podium places on the following lap with a move on Finnish rider Tuuli. Gonzalez recovered from running wide as he passed Krummenacher for second before setting his sights on De Rosa. On the last lap, Gonzalez made his move for the race win and despite the Italian’s best efforts he was unable to re-take the lead.
It meant Gonzalez claimed his second WorldSSP victory and his fifth podium in WorldSSP while De Rosa came home in second place behind Gonzalez, his second podium of the Catalunya Round; just 0.021s behind Gonzalez as they crossed the line. Tuuli claimed his first podium since Magny-Cours 2017 with third place after a Krummenacher save on the final lap; just 0.074s between the top three.
P1 Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha ParkinGo Team)
“What a race! What a couple of last laps! When I went wide in the first corner, I thought I had the same problem as Misano. I pushed really hard in the last laps. I saw Tuuli and Krummenacher suffering a bit with the rear tyre. I was always on the limit, I tried to push. I thought I couldn’t take De Rosa in the last corner on the last lap, but the plan went perfectly. I tried to close in the last sector because I was suffering there a lot in the race. In the last corner, I tried to stop the bike and tried to accelerate. To finish in first position is incredible, my second win of the season. I will continue working like this because the team were incredible. The bike was working really well. The race was really fast.”
P2 Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura)
“Very, very close to winning! I’m happy after a good race from yesterday, today we needed to confirm and I’m happy because the team worked every weekend, they believe in me. I try to win but I couldn’t make the overtake at that point. I’m happy and confident for the rest of the season.”
P3 Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Corse Clienti)
“It didn’t come easy. I don’t know what happened with the setting. We are always so strong in the morning, and also this weekend, we feel the pace is good and the setting is perfect. I can stay in the low 1’45s and riding feels really easy. When the temperature goes 15 degrees higher, the bike changes totally and it was so difficult to ride. I was sure I was not going to make a podium and I was really mad about it during the race. I just tried to focus to make more or less the same lap time without mistakes and in the last lap I saw a couple of guys started to make small mistakes. I caught the group. It didn’t come easy.”
WorldSSP Results Race 2
1. Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha ParkinGo Team)
2. Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) +0.021s
3. Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Corse Clienti) +0.095s
4. Randy Krummenacher (CM Racing) +0.568s
5. Marcel Brenner (VFT Racing) +6.159s
6. Federico Caricasulo (Biblion Iberica Yamaha Motoxracing) +7.137s.
Championship Standings (after Race 2, Round 9)
1. Dominique Aegerter (SUI) Yamaha (302 points)
2. Steven Odendaal (RSA) Yamaha (257 points)
3. Manuel Gonzalez (ESP) Yamaha (203 points).
Credits : Photos and content courtesy of Dorna WSBK Organization Srl