The opening race of the FIM Supersport World Championship was full of drama after a restart caused by a Red Flag shortened the race to 12 laps, with Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) claiming victory in Race 1 for the Motul French Round at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, extending his lead in the Championship to 52 points over nearest rival Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team).
The original race of 19 laps was Red Flagged on the opening lap after an incident involving Michel Fabrizio (G.A.P. MOTOZOO Racing by Puccetti), with the Italian coming off his bike before his Kawasaki machine went barrel rolling on the grass. With the amount of damage to his bike, the decision was made to Red Flag the race, with Race 1 restarted after with a 12-lap distance. Fabrizio was taken to the medical centre for check-up following the incident, before being declared unfit with multiple contusions and abrasions. The restarted race also gave Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Corse Clienti) a second chance after his MV machine suffered a technical issue on the opening lap, but he was able to join the restarted race.
Luca Bernardi (CM Racing) was unable to keep the lead from the start as Championship leader Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) jumped the Sammarinese rider into Turn 1, with Bernardi falling to fifth before he started to fight his way back through the field. Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) had a good start as well as he looked to claim a home victory, applying pressure to Aegerter in the first part of the race.
Spanish rider Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha ParkinGo Team) had an eventful race as he battled for a top four finish with Championship contender Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team), with the South African rider battling back after a difficult Tissot Superpole session. Aegerter was able to go on to take his ninth victory of the season but Odendaal was able to claim second place with a Lap 11 move on Cluzel at Turn 5, with French rider Cluzel claiming his fourth podium of 2021 with third.
P1 Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha)
“It was a nice race. I could make a good start and immediately got to the front, and I’m there for all 12 laps. I hope Fabrizio, who crashed in the first race, is okay. I was consistent and I’m very happy to take a victory. It’s very nice here to ride on a track that is very close to my home to take a victory. The Ten Kate Racing Yamaha Team did a very good job, they brought me one of the best bikes. It’s fun to ride with a bike like this and if you can fight for the victory, it’s always nice. Tomorrow is the next race and we try to continue like this and hope we can be on the top step again.”
P2 Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team)
“It was a very difficult race. There’s a lot of fast guys in the field who are super late on the brakes and that makes the job just that much more difficult. Super happy to get second place, it was a hard-fought race. It’s great to be back on the podium and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s race.”
P3 Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha)
“To be honest, a few months ago, I was disappointed with a third place but today it feels like victory. I was saying to my friends and family that a podium for me today would be like a victory because we suffered a lot in the past races. Today, third place, for sure second was close, the leader was close as well, but we are still missing a little bit. I feel like maybe tomorrow I can fight for even better. I enjoyed today, I’m so happy to do it in front of my family because my daughter and wife are here. My parents are here. After a long period like we had before, today it feels like a victory.”
WorldSSP Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours – Race 1
1. Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha)
2. Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) +0.869s
3. Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) +1.188s
4. Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha ParkinGO Team) +1.356s
5. Luca Bernardi (CM Racing) +2.348s
6. Federico Caricasulo (Biblion Iberica Yamaha Motoxracing) +3.957s.
Championship Standings (after Race 1, Round 8)
1. Dominique Aegerter (SUI) Yamaha (282 points)
2. Steven Odendaal (RSA) Yamaha (230 points)
3. Philipp Oettl (GER) Kawasaki (165 points).
Credits : Photos and content courtesy of Dorna WSBK Organization Srl