The FIM Supersport World Championship action concluded at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in thrilling style with Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) claiming his fifth win of the season and denying Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) a Portimao double by just 0.011s across the line in Race 2 for the Motul Portuguese Round as the South African cut his gap in the Championship.
Although Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) got a good start as the lights went out, Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) was the rider on the move as he battled his way up from seventh to lead at the start of the second lap after passing three riders into Turn 1, with the action on the opening lap setting the tone for the rest of the race.
Soon, a lead group of nine riders formed with Odendaal leading as the seventh lap started before, he was passed by Championship leader Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) into Turn 1, with the lead constantly changing throughout the 17-lap race. As Lap 10 ended, Odendaal ran wide throughout the final corner and lost time and positions, allowing Cluzel to take the lead of the race with the South African dropping down into the mid-pack of the lead group.
The race would go down to the wire between Odendaal and Cluzel, as the lead group fragmented in the second half of the race, with the South African claiming victory for the fifth time of his season and his first since Race 1 at Most, ahead of Cluzel who doubled up on podiums at Portimao. The pair were separated by just 0.011s at the end of the 17 laps, with Federico Caricasulo (Biblion Iberica Yamaha Motoxracing) claiming his first podium since 2019 at the same venue. Just 0.364s separated the podium trio at the line.
P1 Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team)
“This victory means so much to me. It was a hard battle, one of the hardest battles I’ve had in a long time. To come away with a victory is just perfect. Yesterday we struggled quite a lot in the race and the guys worked overnight to give me and today I could see the bike was a lot better, it just gave me that little bit of extra to push for that victory.”
P2 Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha)
“It was really close! I did a really nice last turn, but we were missing a little bit of power. It’s a perfect weekend. Pole position, winning the race yesterday, nearly winning today. The job is done and I’m looking forward to Argentina to continue on this path.”
P3 Federico Caricasulo (Biblion Iberica Yamaha Motoxracing)
“I’m really, really happy to be back on the podium. The whole year hasn’t been easy for me. We were close in some races with fourth or fifth, sometimes fast in Superpole, but in the race we always missed something. Today, we did the setup adjustments from yesterday and we made a big step so I’m really happy.”
WorldSSP Results Race 2
1. Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. Yamaha WorldSSP Team)
2. Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) +0.011s
3. Federico Caricasulo (Biblion Iberica Yamaha Motoxracing) +0.364s
4. Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha ParkinGO Team) +0.629s
5. Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +3.196
6. Yari Montella (GMT94 Yamaha) +5.247s
Championship Standings (after Race 2, Round 11)
1. Dominique Aegerter (SUI) Yamaha (354 points)
2. Steven Odendaal (RSA) Yamaha (300 points)
3. Manuel Gonzalez (ESP) Yamaha (249 points)
Credits : Photos and content courtesy of Dorna WSBK Organization Srl