The first World Supersport race of the year opens with some controversy before the race even starts, with four riders getting penalised three places for unsafe riding. During qualifying, Federico Caricasulo, Sandro Cortese, Raffaele De Rosa and Jules Cluzel were all deemed to have ridden unsafely in qualifying, slowing down at inopportune times to deal with rivals trying for a tow.
To make matters worse, with tyre problems causing issues, the race has been shortened to just sixteen laps with a mandatory pitstop on lap seven, eight or nine for a new tyre. Without a second bike, this will require every one of the twenty-two riders to get their rear wheel removed and replaced.
The grid penalties put Ant West on the front row alongside Lucas Mahias and Kenan Sofuoglu. After holding the riders back for a while, the lights went out and Lucas Mahias took off at the front with Kenan Sofuoglu and Federico Caricasulo behind him. Hikari Okubo crashed at turn two, meeting a slower rider in front of him. Ant West had a technical issue and pulled to the side of the racing line by turn two and retired.
On lap two, Lucas Mahias set the fastest lap and built a one second gap from the heating up fight for second place. A lap later, Kenan Sofuoglu and Federico Caricasulo swapped places back and forth, giving Mahias a bit of a gap and letting Luke Stapleford and Jules Cluzel catch them up. Just as it got interesting, Hannes Soomer and Michael Canducci crashed at turn eleven and the red flags came out to confuse everyone.
As only three laps had been completed, race direction decided to reduce the race to just nine laps to eliminate the need for a tyre change, ignoring the laps that have already run. The starting grid will be based on qualifying places, not the three completed laps. Ant West would not get to restart. Canducci was taken to the medical centre after the crash.
The nine lap restart used the new quick start procedure, putting one mechanic briefly on track with the riders, and only XX riders took part in the short sprint race.
The restart had Lucas Mahias bolt at the front again, with Kenan Sofuoglu taking second from Federico Caricasulo round the outside of turn one. Randy Krummenacher, Loris Cresson and Jules Cluzel rounded out the top six a few tenths further back. Caricasulo took second place but lost it back to Sofuoglu down the straight on the second lap only to take it back later round the lap.
At turn four, Sofuoglu and Cluzel went wide,lsoing a few places and leaving the battle for second place between Caricasulo and Krummenacher with Sofuoglu in fourth trying to get back to the fight. Lucas Mahias set the fastest lap on lap two in a race of his own.
Lap three, Mahias was a second clear of the fight behind him and the laps ticked off as his lead increased from the constant fight between Caricasulo and Krummenacher, with second place swapping between the two while further back, Sandro Cortese set a lap record clawing his way to the back of that fight.
Kenan Sofuoglu started dropping off the pace, falling behind Cortese, Luke Stapleford and eventually Raffaele Dr Rosa before looking behind him and seeing a four second gap dwindle away. Sofuoglu would finish in thirteenth place, almost twenty seconds off the win.
With just two laps remaining, the battle for second place was joined by Sandro Cortese, putting four Yamahas at the front of the race, and Cortese hounded Caricasulo, letting Krummenacher breathe a little in second place.
Lucas Mahias took the opening victory convincingly, over a second from Randy Krummenacher, while Sandro Cortese lined Federico Caricasulo up for a pass out of the last corner, using the slipstream to tuck in behind Caricasulo to avoid the punishing headwind and find a way to take third place by less than a wheel, breaking out of the slipstream at the perfect time. Caricasulo missed out on the podium by under four hundredths of a second.
Lucas Mahias missed out on the lap record needed for the Gentleman's set of pole position, race win and fastest lap, but he got the twenty five points to start his title defence in the best possible way.
|1||144||L. MAHIAS||Yamaha YZF R6|
|2||21||R. KRUMMENACHER||Yamaha YZF R6||1.274|
|3||11||S. CORTESE||Yamaha YZF R6||1.517|
|4||64||F. CARICASULO||Yamaha YZF R6||1.556|
|5||81||L. STAPLEFORD||Triumph Daytona 675||4.270|
|6||3||R. DE ROSA||MV Agusta F3 675||6.696|
|7||16||J. CLUZEL||Yamaha YZF R6||14.403|
|8||111||K. SMITH||Honda CBR600RR||14.476|
|9||86||A. BADOVINI||MV Agusta F3 675||14.926|
|10||36||T. GRADINGER||Yamaha YZF R6||15.124|
|11||66||N. TUULI||Honda CBR600RR||16.545|
|12||84||L. CRESSON||Yamaha YZF R6||17.789|
|13||54||K. SOFUOGLU||Kawasaki ZX-6R||19.210|
|14||78||H. OKUBO||Kawasaki ZX-6R||19.359|
|15||7||T. TOPARIS||Kawasaki ZX-6R||19.362|
|16||74||J. VAN SIKKELERUS||Honda CBR600RR||19.678|
|17||94||M. DI MEGLIO||Yamaha YZF R6||19.723|
|18||10||N. CALERO||Kawasaki ZX-6R||32.888|
|RET||83||L. EPIS||Kawasaki ZX-6R||4 Laps|
|RET||65||M. CANDUCCI||Kawasaki ZX-6R|
|RET||38||H. SOOMER||Honda CBR600RR|
|RET||13||A. WEST||Kawasaki ZX-6R|