The first race of the FIM Supersport World Championship’s first visit to the Circuito San Juan Villicum since 2019 was won in a dominant display by French rider Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) as he kept up his record of winning every race at San Juan Villicum with a five-second margin as racing got underway for the Motul Argentinean Round.
As the lights went out for the 19-lap race, Cluzel briefly lost the lead of the race into Turn 1 to the fast-starting Can Öncü (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) as he out-braked Cluzel into the opening corner but found himself behind the Frenchman after Turn 2 as Cluzel struck back. The pair were able to build a gap to the chasing pack, which was headed by Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) in the opening couple of laps.
Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha ParkinGo Team) soon found himself ahead of Odendaal before Championship leader Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) made a move on his title rival for fourth place into Turn 1 at the start of Lap 4. From there, Odendaal found himself going backwards after running wide on a couple of occasions.
Cluzel was able to resist the early challenge from Öncü to maintain his lead throughout the 19-lap race as he claimed his second victory in three races and his third at the San Juan Villicum venue, maintain his perfect record in Argentina. Gonzalez and Öncü spent a few laps battling with each other for second place, with Gonzalez making the crucial move on Lap 13 at Turn 1. Cluzel’s victory meant he claimed his 60th podium in WorldSSP while it was also Yamaha’s 115th win. Öncü claimed his second podium of his WorldSSP career and became only the second non-Yamaha rider to finish on the podium at San Juan Villicum after Lucas Mahias in 2019.
Odendaal battled his back way through the field to finish in fourth place after passing Aegerter on Lap 14 at Turn 8, but the South African was unable to pull away and Aegerter kept the pressure on, setting his personal best lap time on the penultimate lap. As the final lap started, Aegerter made a move at Turn 1 but ran wide, allowing Odendaal to keep fourth place with Aegerter in fifth.
P1 Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha)
“I’m so happy, it’s a perfect day. I enjoyed this race. I was actually feeling great on the bike. Physically, I was quite easy. I could still attack a little bit in the last laps because I was preparing for the second race tomorrow. It was cool, it’s perfect. I’m happy. We have to work a little bit in some areas for tomorrow morning. It’s a really perfect day.”
P2 Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha ParkinGo Team)
“It was a really difficult race because I knew I had a good rhythm, but the start was a bit difficult. I tried to overtake Odendaal but, in the straight, he gained some metres so under braking I had to brake really, really hard. In the first part of the race, I suffered a bit with the front. The pace was really good. I knew Öncü was a bit slow in the last laps in every race, so I tried to be calm, go lap by lap. It was a really long race. I’m really happy with second position, I think it’s the best I could’ve done today.”
P3 Can Öncü (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
“First of all, I want to say thanks to Kenan because we worked a lot for this. We waited for a long time and a special thanks to Kawasaki because, now, this weekend we worked very hard. We had a really impressive bike. I want to say thanks to all my supporters and family. My brother said hello on the Moto3™ podium, so now I say hello to Deniz because it was a bet!”
WorldSSP Results Race 1
1. Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha)
2. Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha ParkinGO Team) +4.774s
3. Can Öncü (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) +7.000s
4. Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. Yamaha WorldSSP Team) +11.169s
5. Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +11.324s
6. Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) +12.908s.
Championship Standings (after Race 1, Round 12)
1. Dominique Aegerter (SUI) Yamaha (365 points)
2. Steven Odendaal (RSA) Yamaha (313 points)
3. Manuel Gonzalez (ESP) Yamaha (269 points)
Credits : Photos and content courtesy of Dorna WSBK Organization Srl