Press releases from the World Superbike organizers and teams after the races on Sunday in Thailand
Chang International Circuit Day Three
Fourth successive win for dominant Rea
Rea takes advantage of restarted race in Buriram
The second round of the 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship concluded with another superb victory for Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) on Sunday at the Chang International Circuit, with Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) also on the podium.
In a restarted fourth race of the season, Rea took a brilliant win by just over four seconds from Sykes, to continue a brilliant start to the season for the Northern Irishman. Sykes made it a Kawasaki one-two with a last lap move on Melandri.
In the original Sunday race a big crash for Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) at turn 12 just after a technical fault saw the red flag come out due to track conditions, with debris left on track by the Italian’s accident.
After a quick restart procedure the riders did battle over 16 laps, with
Rea taking control as he got away from the front of the grid, which was based on the positions at the end of the fourth lap of the earlier curtailed race.
In the first race start Rea had shot up from ninth on the grid to soon contest the lead with Melandri who had started well from pole, with the World Champion taking over from the Italian at the front on the fourth lap. After the race restart Melandri could not hold Rea back with the Kawasaki man charging away as the laps progressed, with Sykes eventually also getting the better of the Ducati man.
Thanks to a perfect start to 2017 defending champion Rea now leads the championship by 30 points from Davies, ahead of the third round of the season at Aragon in three weeks time.
Meanwhile, the Motul Thai Round was a successful weekend for Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) who finished Sunday’s race six seconds off the podium in fourth, having finished sixth in Race 1. Spaniard Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) followed the Englishman across the line for fifth.
An solid performance by Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) after the restart saw him fight through the pack from 19th to eventually finish sixth - having gone down on lap three at the third corner in the initial race, losing the front end and rejoining at the back of the field.
Nicky Hayden (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team), Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team), Roman Ramos (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) and Markus Reiterberger (Althea BMW Racing Team) completed the top ten.
Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) missed out on the points due to technical issues with his bike, which meant he was unable to take part in the restarted race.
Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) unfortunately crashed out at turn 12 after five laps of the restarted contest and did not finish, whilst Randy Krummenacher (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) had to retire midway through the 16-lap second race of the afternoon due to a mechanical issue.
Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) crashed out of fifth under pressure from Torres at turn 6 with eight laps to go, whilst Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was advised by the marshals to stop six laps from the end of the race with smoke pouring from his MV Agusta 1000 F4 machine.
The WorldSBK riders return to action over the 31st March - 2nd April weekend at the aforementioned Pirelli Aragón Round, the third round of the 2017 season.
1st Jonathan Rea - Kawasaki Racing Team
“This is my best ever start to the season, I’m feeling good with the bike. I was so nervous about the ninth place start to be honest because this track is so hard to pass, especially with the speed of the Ducati’s. I’m really lucky that I had sector three pretty dialled in, and by T4 I put my head down and managed to snap Marco after three or four laps. This is a massive thanks to all my team, theyve been working relentlessly so these race wins are for them.”
2nd Tom Sykes - Kawasaki Racing Team
“We struggled all weekend a little bit, I’ve been working hard over the winter to try and overcome some limitations. I just had to change the way I ride and it shows, because on the last lap I did my fastest lap of the race. Today was hot, greasy conditions which normally work against us but we are trying. We kept going until the last lap and managed to get second position so overall not a bad weekend.”
3rd Marco Melandri - Aruba.it Racing - Ducati
“To be back on the podium is huge, but it was a very tough race, and we were passed two times with the same pass! I was struggling with the front break for the first few laps I knew Sykes was going to pass, because the lever was touching my hand when I was braking, so I knew he was going to be very strong. Thanks to my team and I can’t wait to be back on the podium again.”
Four Wins For Rea After Thailand Double
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) continued his perfect start to the latest FIM Superbike World Championship campaign on the Ninja ZX-10RR by taking his second win of the weekend today and his fourth in succession. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) had his best finish of the year in second place, in a second race, which was shortened to 16-laps after a red flag was shown early in the first attempted running.
After taking pole position and the first race win at the Chang International Circuit Jonathan Rea had to make two race starts today, just like his peer group. In the only race finish that mattered Jonathan scored his fourth win in a row, giving him a perfect score of 100 points so far and a championship lead of 30 over Chaz Davies.
Having won both Superpole contests this season, at Phillip Island and Chang, Rea has also grown his career win total to 42 after his second race success. His margin of victory in race two proved to be just over four seconds, from his own team-mate Sykes.
Sykes rode with consistency and determination again and in a copy of the Saturday’s race in Thailand he passed Marco Melandri right at the end, this time for second place and not third. A grandstand finish gave Tom his third podium of the season, and third place overall in the championship rankings, with a total of 62 points.
With the second race start based on where the riders finished the red flagged race, Rea and Sykes launched off the front and second rows respectively for the real 16-lap contest.
In the Manufacturers’ Standings, Kawasaki’s lead was extended to 24 points after two rounds. The next WorldSBK event will take place at Motorland Aragon in Spain, with racedays on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd April.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “The best start to a season ever in my career. It is important to maximise these points when we can because it is how I built my championships in the past. When we can win, make sure we win, and then we can try and consolidate. These four victories are nearly halfway to my win tally from last year already! It is a good start and I just feel comfortable on the bike. We took the bike set-up we had from Phillip Island to here and it just pretty much worked. That is unheard of, so I have a good bond with the bike. There are still some areas we need to improve for the coming races but KHI are working hard on this. We expect to improve the bike again in the next races.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “The race win was not on today but second place was, so it was all about making the smartest move possible at the end. I could see Marco had some limitations so on the last lap I knew I had a margin. He was faster than me in the twisty section before the last corner so I had to put the lap together. Finally on the last lap on my dashboard there was 1’33.7, which was the fastest of my whole race. We still have to find a little bit more from our package. I am slowly getting there and consistency has pretty much been there. We keep closing the gap but we need to try and close it a bit faster.”
Third place for the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team in Race 2 at Buriram with Marco Melandri, Chaz Davies is 6th
After finishing in second position in Race 1 with Chaz Davies, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team stepped on the podium again in Race 2 of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship at Buriram (Thailand) with Marco Melandri. The Italian took third place at the end of race split in two by red flags on lap five. Chaz Davies, who restarted from last position on the grid after a crash, showed tenacity by climbing back to sixth position under the checkered flag.
After a strong start, Melandri and Davies respectively took second and third position early on, behind the winner Rea. On lap 3, however, Davies lost the rear at turn 3 when he was just behind his teammate and rejoined the pack in last position. Shortly after, the race was interrupted due to oil on track.
At the restart, Melandri managed to set a fast and consistent pace despite some lingering issues under braking, and defended the second position until the last corner, losing it by only thousandths of a second. Davies, on the other hand, mounted a strong comeback from 19th on the grid but wasn’t able to set his usual lap times due to some issues with the throttle. Nonetheless, the Welshman finished in sixth position.
After two rounds, Davies (70 points) and Melandri (45 points) are respectively second and fifth in the championship. The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will resume action in Aragon (Spain) for the third round of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship, scheduled for March 31 - April 2.
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 3rd
“This has been a good weekend for us. In such difficult conditions, on a new track for me, it feels good to be close to the front. Being passed at the very last turn in both races isn’t ideal, but I struggled with braking since the first free-practice session and it wasn’t possible to be more aggressive in what is the most critical corner of the circuit. That said, the team has done a great job. We still lack something, but we have some good ideas and we’ll keep pushing at 100 percent to reach our rivals. I expect to do so already in Aragon.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 6th
“I was following Marco but I misjudged his speed a little bit so I went to the outside. For me the rear always locks there, but that time it did it more than usual, perhaps because I was on a dirty part of the track, and couldn’t recover the grip. Finishing sixth is a salvage after the crash, but we could have been close to the podium at the restart. Unfortunately, we had some issues with the throttle after some parts were changed for safety. Still, we have many more points than after two rounds last year, and now we’ll go to more favorable tracks. The championship is long.”
Serafino Foti, Team Manager
“This has been a tough weekend, mostly because of the high temperatures. It’s unfortunate that Chaz crashed in Race 2. Still, we were lucky because the red flags allowed us to collect precious points with him. Chaz is a fighter, and I’m sure he will be back at the top in Aragon. Marco rode a strong race. Unfortunately he missed second place at the last corner, but he deserved the podium despite having struggled to stop the bike all weekend. We’re happy with his season start: he’s always been with the frontrunners, and his feeling with the bike is growing every day. We need to stay focused and work hard to improve ahead of Aragon, a track where we’ve always been competitive.”
Fourth In Race Two Wraps up Thailand For Pata Yamaha And The YZF-R1
Alex Lowes scored strongly in the second race at the Chang International Circuit this afternoon, taking fourth place at the flag and with it fourth place in the championship standings after two rounds. His Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK team mate Michal van der Mark ran out of fortune on Sunday after his good showing in the opening race on Saturday, retiring after a technical issue intervened.
After the first planned 20-lap race was red-flagged due to oil on the track, the final full-point race was run over 16 laps of the 4.554km long circuit in Thailand. Thanks to his pace, and consistency from his machine, Lowes ran in fourth position throughout. He had made some set-up changes to his R1 after the first attempted race but found them a little less to his liking and he ended up in a lonely fourth place, ten seconds from the winner.
It was a day of tough luck for van der Mark, especially after finishing in fifth place and top Yamaha rider in race one. After the red flag, when returning to the box, an oil leak was evident on the bike. In the given 10 minutes before the race restart the team was not able to fully determine the reason for the leak and decided, for safety reasons, to not let Michael re-enter the track.
In the championship itself Lowes is fourth with 49 points, five points ahead of the rider immediately behind. Michael is now eighth, having been up to sixth place on Saturday after race one.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Rider
"Overall it was a good weekend for me. The team did a great job with the bike! I didn't have the best first two or three laps so I lost the connection with the front group when Eugene Laverty passed me but I managed to get past him again, but the front group were just too fast. Perhaps if I would have been there at the start, I could have challenged them a bit more. The two flyaway races have gone well for me overall, and it has been a solid start of the season. I feel confident for Aragon. There is still a lot I can improve in myself and there are things the team can improve on the bike, so we can go away for a couple of days rest and then start working toward the next race."
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Rider
"We had a technical problem with the bike in race two, which was a pity after all our good work. In the morning warm up we tried something on the bike set-up but I was not so keen on it so we went back to a set up almost similar to what we had yesterday. Then we had a red flag. It was a shame because yesterday was really good. I had a feeling that today would be the same, or even better, for both Alex and myself, but that is racing. At least this weekend I was fast from the start and hopefully we can continue this kind of form in Moorland Aragon."
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal
"Despite the technical fault for Michael this afternoon we have to look at the Thai weekend in context. We can conclude it was another positive step forward for Yamaha's WorldSBK project as well as for the performance of the team and the YZF-R1. We feel extremely sorry for Michael, he and his crew deserved more after a fantastic race yesterday, but this is motorsport. We have to accept that problems can occur and when they do we learn from them. Thanks to Michael for his very professional attitude, this is much appreciated by everybody.
Alex rode a very good race today even though he hasn't felt quite fully at home with the setting all weekend. I think the crew improved just a little bit more for this afternoon and especially the first part of the race before the red flag it looked like a podium challenge might be possible. The restarted race wasn't as easy in the first couple of laps and a gap to the front three developed that was impossible to pull back. Thanks to everybody at Yamaha for their support and partnership and to the crew for all their hard work. It has been a solid start to the season."
Fantastic performance by Torres and Althea BMW at Buriram
Buriram (Thailand), Sunday 12 March 2017
The second round of the 2017 Superbike World Championship concluded today at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand. In a race conditioned by both the sweltering temperatures and a red flag, the Althea BMW Racing team achieved an excellent result, crossing the line fifth with Jordi Torres who put Davies behind him. Tenth for Markus Reiterberger.
Superbike - Race 2 – fourth on the grid, Torres lost ground off the line and was lying eighth after the first lap. The Spaniard made up three places in the initial stages but the race was then stopped with a red flag after a crash for Savadori left oil on the track. Reiti, further back during the opening laps, was lying 15th when the race was interrupted.
Almost half an hour later, the race was restarted (16 laps), with riders lining up in the positions they held at the end of lap four, so Torres from seventh, Reiti from fifteenth place. This time, Jordi got away well, sixth through the opening stages behind Laverty. Thanks to a consistent pace, the Spaniard was in fifth at the mid-race point, a position that he was able to hold all the way to the line, giving Davies no chance to get past him through the final laps. An important result for the Italian team after some inconveniences this weekend.
Reiti was able to make up a few positions in the first half of the race and was lying eleventh. Passing several riders in the final phase, the German reached the top ten today, crossing the line tenth.
Two rounds into the 2017 championship and Torres lies seventh in the standings with 29 points while Reiterberger is 12th with 15 points. BMW positions fourth in the manufacturer's classification with 32 points, while Althea BMW also lies fourth in the team rankings (44 points).
“In the first ‘heat’ we started well and I was making good progress so it was pity about the restart after Savadori crashed because we were in fifth place at the time. After the restart, from seventh, I started to push and got into a really good rhythm, getting past several riders. I gave 100% in the race, more even, as I knew Davies was closing in on me at the end, and we were able to finish fifth, a great result, which I’m very pleased with.”
“Top ten sounds OK but there were also several crashes for other riders. The first laps were again not so good. I ran a little wide in traffic early on and lost too much time there. Then I was following Krummenacher and was worried when I saw him losing water. After he moved away, I tried to focus as much as possible and maintain a constant pace, which wasn’t so bad. I definitely need to work on my performance through the opening laps though, and also improve my feeling with the bike. I’m feeling positive and thank my team for their hard work here this weekend.”
“Today we scored a great result, with Jordi achieving fifth place after fighting at a very high level. This is fruit of the hard work completed by the team. In terms of the chassis, on which we’ve been working for some time, it seems we’re starting to see results, while we still need a little more with regard to the electronics and the engine, in order to be able to take another step. Jordi has proved to be able to fight against the best, defending himself from Davies all the way to the line, a demonstration of his strength. Reiti made some progress today but is still far from what we know that he and the bike can do. Jordi has made significant progress and we hope that Reiti can soon do likewise. I thank the entire team and the BMW engineers for their work over the weekend. Now we’ll prepare for the European rounds where, having more references, we hope to be able to achieve some important results.”
Hayden wraps up Thai Round with a seventh place finish
Chang International Circuit, Thailand
The second round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship has drawn to a close, with Nicky Hayden claiming his best result of the season so far, a seventh place in front of the Thai crowd at Chang International Circuit. His Red Bull Honda World Superbike team mate Stefan Bradl crashed out at turn 12 during the sixth lap and could not continue the race.
The initial race came to an early end on lap six, when Savadori suffered a technical problem that led to a high-side at turn 12; red flags were deployed and a new 16-lap race was called by World Superbike Race Direction.
With the new grid based on official race positions from the end of lap four, Hayden launched himself off eighth place, while Bradl was five slots back in 13th. Both riders enjoyed a good start to the new encounter and joined a five-strong pack battling for fifth place.
On lap six, Bradl lost the front of his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 while running in tenth place and closing in on his team mate. Hayden, on the other hand, moved up a couple of positions during the central part of the race and maintained his seventh place until the chequered flag.
The World Superbike championship will return to action in three weekends at the MotorLand Aragón circuit in Spain.
Nicky Hayden 69
The bike worked much better after the red flag and I was actually able to do my best lap-times of the weekend. We had a couple of good laps and I was quite consistent; I found myself in that group fighting for fifth place but then Leon’s bike started to blowing some smoke and all I did was trying to stay out of trouble. That cost me some time and when he retired I had already lost touch to Chaz for sixth place, so after that it was a lonely race for seventh. Things went a little bit better than yesterday but there is still a lot of work to do to close the gap with the leaders. Hopefully we’ll be able to get up there as soon as possible.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Stefan Bradl 6
Unfortunately today I made a mistake and crashed: when Davies got past I did my best to stay with him but I hit the brakes a little bit too late and didn’t release them early enough before ending up on the bump in the middle of turn 12. It’s a shame, because we could have easily have scored another top-10 result if not better. Now we must stay focused and keep working hard ahead of Aragón: we are heading to the European part of the season and I hope we can make some bigger improvement before the next race.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
This morning we tried a couple of changes and they worked out OK, especially with Stefan. At the restart of the race, both riders were able to ride at a much more consistent pace: their feeling with the bike improved a bit from yesterday and so did their overall performance. Stefan was closing in on Nicky when the crash happened, but he did look like he could have battled for a good result today. Nicky rode a great race and if he wasn’t held up towards the end, he might have battled for a higher position. Overall, progress was made but and we’re still not where we want to be, however we have some more time to prepare ourselves ahead of the next race at Aragón.
Milwaukee Aprilia faced another difficult race in Round 2 at Chang with a 15th and a DNF
Starting 10th and 12th respectively after their results in Race 1, Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori again made solid getaways to stay with the pack and make up places.
Eugene ran consistently in 6th before a red flag for a crash by teammate Lorenzo forced a restart. He then ran strongly in 5th place, but an unfortunate error caused him to drop his bike and rejoin in 16th place. He recovered to finish the race 15th with 1 point.
After a technical problem in Race 1 hurt his pace, Lorenzo suffered another, separate issue on lap 4 in Race 2. The problem resulted in a dramatic crash and a red flag for Lorenzo, who lost 8th place and was forced to retire. He visited the Medical Centre for treatment, but was deemed healthy and will be fit to race in Round 3 at Aragon.
The team now heads for Round 3 in Spain for the European stint of the 2017 season.
They have a raft of exciting upgrades to test at the Motorland Aragon circuit in 3 weeks’ time, which they will use to achieve another step in performance and fight for better results.
Round 3 of the 2017 season takes place at Motorland Aragon in Spain from 31st March - 2nd April.
Keep up to date with Milwaukee Aprilia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as they contest the 2017 WorldSBK Championship
Mick Shanley, Team Manager
It’s been a disappointing and difficult weekend for the team. We’ve shown promise and good speed, but at the moment there are a few other issues that aren’t allowing us to fulfil our potential.
We’ll leave here to lick our wounds and analyse the weekend’s data in full, and we will work hard with Aprilia to understand why we have these issues.
For Aragon we’ve already got a few things in the pipeline, so we need to wipe the slate clean, regroup and come back fighting in Round 3.
Eugene Laverty #50
Grid - 7th Race - 15th
The first half of the race was difficult as I started so far back, so I was extra aggressive to make up places. I was braking harder than usual in some places and worked the front hard, and in a way the red flag gave me time to regroup.
After the restart the conditions were slippery so the front tyre was moving a lot. I had a lot of warnings and I tried to settle into my position, but I lost the front so many times and finally after 8 laps I crashed.
It’s not nice to ride like this where you can’t push 100% without crashing, but we know where we have to improve. We’ve had so little time between Phillip Island and Chang to develop, but we’ve got some upgrades and new ideas coming for Aragon and I’m confident that we can make a big step forward.
Lorenzo Savadori #32
Grid - 12th Race - DNF
It has not been an easy weekend for me, with different technical issues in Race 1 and Race 2. Today I started far back which meant I had to push, but I was in the fight for a few laps.
I had a technical problem which led to me to crash; I am not sure yet exactly what happened, and is something we need to look at. The crash was pretty big, but I am OK and I am thankful to my helmet, suit
We are looking forward to Aragon now. We have some hard work to do to move forward, but I know that I am in good hands with SMR and Aprilia Racing. There are new things for us to try in Spain, and I think we will make good progress.
WorldSSP: Stunning win for Caricasulo in dramatic Thai race
Buriram thriller brings drama, black flags and home heroes
In a dramatic and incident packed race at the Motul Thai Round on Sunday it was Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) who took a superb win in the heat of the Chang International Circuit, with Thai wild card Decha Kraisart (Yamaha Thailand Racing Team) and Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing) also on the podium.
Late drama saw Kyle Smith (GEMAR Team Lorini) in the hunt for the victory but the Honda rider was disqualified on the last lap for failing to react to a ride through, after an earlier penalty in which he was requested to concede three positions due to unsporting behaviour. Caricasulo took advantage for a great win by 0.793s from the impressive Kraisart, with 2016 sensation Tuuli three seconds behind the race winner in third.
Caricasulo had taken over the lead with seven laps to go, with the leader up until that point Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) retiring from the race seconds later due to a technical fault having led from pole from the start.
Thai rider Thitipong Warokorn (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) produced a superb result in fourth place, riding as a substitute for injured World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu who is expected to return to action at Round 3 in Spain. Meanwhile, fellow Kawasaki Puccetti Racing man Kyle Ryde was fifth in a hectic Thai race which took place in sweltering 37°C temperatures.
Also in the top ten were Hikari Okubo (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda), Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing), Aiden Wagner (GEMAR Team Lorini), Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) and Robin Mulhauser (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda).
In close succession early in the race Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team), PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) were forced out with technical problems and then Thai wild card Chalermpol Polamai (Yamaha Thailand Racing Team) crashed out, having started second on the grid.
Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) was given a ride through penalty due to finishing the warm up lap after the safety car, but failed to react to the penalty notification from the stewards and was subsequently disqualified.
Christian Gamarino (BARDAHL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing) crashed out of second place with 12 laps to go, with Smith in close proximity. Smith then had two run-offs and dropped down the order, fighting back with great pace before his late disqualification.
The WorldSSP riders will be back in action over the 31st March - 2nd April weekend at the Pirelli Aragón Round, the third round of the 2017 season.
Race Winner - Federico Caricasulo, GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team
"I think it was the best race of my life, and I pushed hard from the first to the last lap. It was too hot with the weather conditions, but I am happy because I was able to do more than my competitors. I want to thank my Yamaha team because they worked so hard, and I am so happy!"
Caricasulo and the all-new YZF-R6 Lead a Yamaha 123 in Thailand
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team's Federico Caricasulo scored his first 2017 FIM World Supersport Championship race win with the all-new YZF-R6 after a dramatic 17-lap World SSP race at the Chang International Circuit. In the second round of the series, in a race that featured very high track and air temperatures, teammate Lucas Mahias looked set for a podium finish of his own but experienced a technical issue early on and had to retire. Two other Yamaha R6 machines scored podium finishes, in the hands of wildcard Decha Kraisart and privateer Niki Tuuli.
Intense heat in the build up to the WorldSSP race led to intense competition on track, in a race where three Yamahas finally completed the top three podium positions.
Starting from seventh place and the third row of the grid Caricasulo continued his upward trend of improving competitiveness through the weekend right into the race itself. Involved in a fight or the podium from the very first lap, he took the lead on lap 11, after long time leader Jules Cluzel retired, then never looked back in his determination to win after his first round no-score in Australia.
In only its second race, the new R6 powered Caricasulo to his first win at this level of competition, and put Yamaha on top of the Manufacturers' Championship standings after two rounds.
Having completed a positive race simulation and being fully prepared for a long race, Phillip Island podium finisher Mahias had to stop after three laps had been completed.
In the Riders' Championship Caricasulo is now third and teammate Mahias is in sixth place, tied on points with Chang runner-up Kraisart.
The podium places were dominated by one new model R6 and two previous variants. Decha Kraisart from the Yamaha Thailand Racing team was second, just 0.793 seconds from the win. Kallio Racing Yamaha's Nikki Tuuli, having survived a massive early highside that saw him swerve dramatically across the track, composed himself and caught up to third place at the flag, 3.164 seconds down on Caricasulo's winning pace.
After two long haul races the WorldSSP riders now go to Europe, and the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain, with raceday on April 2nd.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team rider
"I am so happy because today I made a very good race from the first to the last lap. On the final lap I made a little gap from my competitors. The conditions were very hard so I am happy to win here. It is very important now to continue all the races like this, fighting for wins, if I want to take a good place in the championship at the end. All weekend, after the experience of not finishing in Australia I worked to make sure I would be able to make good lap times all race long, and in all conditions. I did it like this and we won. I want to thank Yamaha and all in my GRT team who worked well on the weekend to find a good set-up for my bike after a difficult start."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team rider
"I had a technical problem and had to stop. Obviously I am not happy because for me it was possible to win the race. I had a good lap time in qualifying and had set good lap times during my simulation of the race. The season is long, I know, but these were a lot of points to lose. I will look to the next round in Aragon for a better result."
Fighting sixth for Okubo as Cluzel’s hopes of victory are denied
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider Jules Cluzel had his hopes of victory frustrated when he was forced to retire from the drama laden World Supersport race in Thailand today. Jules led from pole position and clearly had the pace to win until an engine problem put the Frenchman out of the race.
Teammate Hikari Okubo had better luck finishing a superb sixth in the race at Chang today. Despite the collarbone injury he sustained at the previous round in Australia, Hikari produced the best result of his Supersport career so far. He said: “This was a very difficult race because the temperature is very hot and I lost energy. I couldn’t push as hard as I wanted to but the result is my best so I am very happy. The next round I will feel even better so I can push harder. Thank you to my team and my sponsors.”
Newcomer Robin Mulhauser also produced an impressive performance, finishing tenth in only his second outing with CIA Landlord Insurance Honda and his very first visit to the Chang International Circuit.
CIA Landlord Insurance Team Manager, Simon Buckmaster said: “Realistically we should have been able to win the first two rounds of the Championship. We have a tremendous reliability record over the years, we didn’t have a single engine failure last year so we need to investigate what caused the problem with Jules’s bike. It is just heart breaking for everyone who works so hard in the team. We will see what, if any changes need to be made and move forward to Aragon and the victory that has to be coming our way. Hikari struggled to push as much as he wanted but he showed his true fighting spirit and came away with his best result ever. Robin also got a great result inside the top ten in only his second ride in World Supersport so that’s a great achievement for him and his crew.”
TOP FIVE RACE FINISHES FOR KAWASAKI PUCCETTI RACING
Stand-in rider Thitipong Warokorn (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and team regular Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) finished fourth and fifth respectively in a fraught and overheated WorldSSP race in Thailand today. The 11 points Ryde scored today keep him fourth in the overall championship fight.
The 17-lap WorldSSP race at the Chang International Circuit proved to be a dramatic affair from the start with many top riders crashing or having technical problems. For season-long official Kawasaki rider Ryde and stand-in rider Warokorn it was a long race, but a highly successful one.
Riding instead of the injured Kenan Sofuoglu at this round Warokorn relied on his local knowledge and home crowd support to take him and his Ninja ZX-6R from 18th on the grid after qualifying to fourth in the race itself. He finished seven and a half seconds from the winner as he got the better of a late battle with his team-mate for the weekend.
British youngster Ryde felt the heat on raceday, with official track temperatures reaching 50°C, but stuck to his task with enthusiasm and determination to score well. He was only four seconds from the podium, and just in the slipstream of Warokorn. With a total of 24 points to his name now Ryde is only six points behind the lead of the championship after two rounds.
Motorland Aragon in Spain hosts the third round of the championship, with raceday on April 2.
Kyle Ryde, stated: “I cannot argue with a top five. I am really happy that I was not that far behind first place. I was really nervous this morning because I was not particularly fast in warm up but I was seven seconds from the win. It is great be running in the front group but this weekend has been very hot. I thought I was quite fit but I think I will need to be a bit fitter for next time here. The last five laps were hard and even harder when there are people behind you. It was a good race. It was a great job from the team and I would like to say a big thanks to Andrew Pitt because yesterday and on raceday he has really helped with last year’s experience with Kenan and Randy. It all counts to get that fifth place.”
Thitipong Warokorn, stated: “It was an incredible race. I put a lot of effort into it because it is my home race and all my fan club and sponsors were here. The Kawasaki Puccetti Racing Team gave me the opportunity to do my best. There were a lot of riders in front of me and it was difficult to overtake, but I passed them one at a time and then took one more place in the last corner for fourth. I could hear the crowd a little bit but I could see them and my fan club cheering for me. Many thanks to Kawasaki and to Manuel Puccetti for this opportunity. I did my best and took a not so bad finishing position. ”
Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) was ninth in the race. Lachlan Epis (Response RE Racing Kawasaki) and Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) were 12th and 13th respectively. Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) was excluded from the results while Michael Canducci (Puccetti Racing Junior Team FMI Kawasaki) and
Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) experienced technical issues and retired.