Press releases from the series organizer and some of the teams after the championship-defining races on Sunday at Magny-Cours:
#FrenchWorldSBK Day 3 - No easing off for the champion: Rea makes it a double in France
Eighth consecutive win for the KRT rider who matches best WorldSBK winning streak since 2006
No risks for Rea with the gold faring for Race Two
The champion is not taking an early vacation just yet: Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) roared ahead to grab a phenomenal double at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours as the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship shut up shop for Round 11 and the European season. The Northern Irishman has now made it eight consecutive victories in a row, matching the best WorldSBK winning streak since Troy Bayliss did the same back in 2006.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) started from second on the grid and immediately grabbed the holeshot, powering away from Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), while Race Two polesitter Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) quickly fell down the order. But inside just half a lap Rea had already managed to climb into third position and set his sights on the race lead, eventually managing to outpace van der Mark at the Imola chicane in lap 3.
Davies leading, Rea in hot pursuit – the same scenario we’ve witnessed countless times across the years, and as recently as Race Two in Portimao. Even with an unassailable margin of points separating them in the standings, the pair fought as fiercely as ever. Rea singled out the Adelaide hairpin as the point to make his pass, but lap after lap the moment didn’t come, the Welshman forcing his Ducati in front on the exit every time, with the Kawasaki rider twice running in too hot. But then Davies opened the door in lap 12 through turn 9, and Rea emphatically put his foot in, flying into the race lead. With an open track ahead, the KRT rider was just too strong to match, with Davies crossing the line in second and van der Mark putting his R1 onto the podium again in third.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) couldn’t return to the rostrum after his P2 yesterday, but the move he put over Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) with one lap on the clock did net him P4 in Race Two, with the Italian following behind and completing the top five.
Savadori managed to steady his pace after a few dubitative opening laps and claimed sixth place, closing off his best weekend of the season. Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) crossed the line in seventh and saves some points from a mostly disappointing weekend, with Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) in eighth and as the top independent rider.
Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) returns to the top ten for the first time since his injury in July, leaving Magny-Cours with a P9, with hometown boy Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW Racing Team) closing out the top ten. Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) crossed the line in 11th, with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in 12th.
That’s a wrap in France! WorldSBK now leaves Europe behind until 2019, but there’s still two rounds more to come, Round 12 kicks off at the brand-new San Juan Circuit in Argentina in just two weeks’ time.
P1 - Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
“It’s incredibly, absolutely unbelievable and I want to thank all my team for getting me here today. I made some smart choices on the opening lap, and then I had a little tussle with van der Mark which let Chaz get a bit further away, but once I got onto the back of him he was so difficult to pass as he rode a perfect race, but I picked my moment after a few failed attempts and then got my head down. It was unbelievable. I was really worried about using the gold fairings today and the team were pushing really hard, so I thought I’d use my gold helmet as well and it paid off. I’m going to forget today, think about yesterday and go out and party really, really hard tonight.”
P2 - Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati)
“It was tough, very tough! I’m super happy and I knew it was possible to have a good rhythm at the start, but I needed to make a good start in itself, which I did and then put in a move at the first corner. Then I got my head down early to try and make a bit of a gap as I didn’t know how I was going to fair in the latter half of the race; I could see on my pit board that Jonny was closing but not overly quickly, and once he got side-by-side with me it was all about trying to make life as difficult as possible for him and hit my marks so that if he tried to overtake he’d run deep, which happened plenty of times. Once he got past I didn’t really have an answer for him, but overall I’m very happy for him as it’s been a long few months since Misano – it felt like we really earned this one.”
P3 - Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)
“Really happy with today’s result as yesterday wasn’t so good. We changed a lot on the bike this morning but it didn’t feel so good, however for the race I got a really good start and was really aggressive; I thought my pace was good but Jonny and Chaz had a little bit extra. But anyway, I’m really happy to be on podium and hopefully next time out in Argentina we can be on the podium again.”
Rea Takes Double Win With Sykes Fourth
Jonathan Rea (KRT) completed his championship-winning weekend with a second race win on Sunday, after securing his fourth consecutive WorldSBK title on Saturday. His team-mate Tom Sykes (KRT), like Rea, started from the third row today under the reverse grid rules, and he finished fourth.
After his unprecedented fourth consecutive championship win on Saturday Jonathan Rea rode in celebration livery today, unfettered by thoughts of potential championship positions.
Starting from the ninth grid slot and with data from his first race win to help his cause in race two, he rode with freedom to go third on lap three and take the lead on lap 12.
Rea eventually beat Chaz Davies by 1.8 seconds to record his 14th win of the season so far, and his fourth double win in succession. It is still possible for Rea to even exceed the record of 17 race wins in a single season, as there are two rounds and four races remaining.
In race two Rea also set a stand-alone record for the number of podium places in WorldSBK, with a new total of 131 across his career.
Now almost fully recovered form a training injury suffered during the summer break, Sykes pushed in the early laps to go from eighth on the grid to fifth. He passed Marco Melandri in the final two laps to add a fourth place to his second place finish on Saturday.
In the championship, after 11 of 13 rounds have been completed, Rea has 470 points, Davies 335, Michael van der Mark 309 and Sykes 273.
The next round will be held at the all-new Argentine circuit of El Villicum, between the 12th and the 14th of October.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) followed up yesterday’s eighth place with 12th today. Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) got a point for 15th as he approaches his home round next time. Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) ended his Sunday in France 18th. Substitute rider Jeremy Guarnoni (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) was 19th.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It was an awesome weekend. With the pressure off I was able to ride a bit more aggressively. I put myself in great positions in the first laps and found great track position early on. It proved pretty hard to get past van der Mark, as he kept counter-attacking but once I got clear track I was able to catch up to Davies. But he had, again, proved quite difficult to pass. My team gave me the perfect bike today, also in terms of final gearing. Especially on the straight, I could really make some inroads into Chaz and draw alongside. I tried to outbrake him twice and just went long, missed the apex and then he cut back. So I readjusted the strategy a little bit to go and pass on one of the other corners. My bike was turning really tight and I could see he was struggling to find that apex in turn eight. Then I made my rhythm and rode to my pit board. It was a really nice feeling.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “Overall it was not too bad and consistently we were there, but it is a little bit of the same story as we had at previous events, where we have not got the initial lap time from the race tyre. Pirelli has two rear tyre solutions and we tried both of these of the races and finally our set-up is really quite good. It has advantages and disadvantages. I felt quite comfortable on the bike in race two, but I just missed a little bit of turning. I felt good while turning yesterday but missed a bit of edge grip. We started from row three and got through the traffic, but this race was a lot closer than yesterday and there were two guys in between Jonathan and me. It was nice to actually close some guys down at the front and make some passes at the end of the races, but we just lacked the initial speed again.”
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team on the podium in Race 2 at Magny Cours with Davies (2nd), Melandri 5th
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team stepped back on the podium in Race 2 at Magny Cours, home of the 11th round of the 2018 WorldSBK Championship, with Chaz Davies. The Welshman, fifth in Race 1, got off to a blistering start from first row and led the race until lap 12 despite his far-from-optimal physical conditions, finishing second to seize his 12th rostrum this season. Marco Melandri also put up a fight, fighting in the leading group until half-way through the race. The Italian eventually suffered some cornering issues, but gave his all to finish in fifth.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi, at his last race with the Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team, finished 13th at the end of a weekend hindered also by some technical problems. The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will resume action in San Juan - Villicum (Argentina) for the penultimate round of the season, scheduled for October 12-14.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 2nd
"It feels great to be back on the podium after a difficult few months. We had a tough summer with the double collarbone injury, but here we are, back on the box after a couple of races. Magny Cours is definitely not a friendly track for my kind of injury, because there are a couple of really hard braking areas followed by right-hand corners. The plan was to get a good start and drop the hammer for as long as I could, and we did that. We tried to make it a little bit difficult for Rea, hitting my marks and making sure that, if he tried to pass, he was on the limit just as much as I was. He made a few mistakes and I was able to cut back on the inside, but eventually he passed me and we lacked a bit of efficiency while turning and picking up the bike. We weren't far off in the end anyway, so there's a lot to be happy about. Now I'm really looking forward to Argentina."
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 5th
"I'm a bit disappointed because, while trying to improve the bike under braking compared with Race 1, we unfortunately took a step back in terms of handling. I was struggling in direction changes and, to make up for that, I was forcing a lot with the front. After the mid-point of the race, the front grip decreased significantly and I couldn't do more. It's a shame because a podium was within our reach, but we look ahead and we'll try to be back on the rostrum in Argentina."
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team #21) – 13th
"We did our best as always, but it's been a below-par last round for us. Unfortunately we encountered some issues and we couldn't really show our potential to finish on a high note. I'm sorry but I want to thank the team for giving me such a great opportunity to grow as a rider and as a person. Now we'll recharge and continue preparing for the future."
Serafino Foti, Team Manager
"After a difficult Race 1, today we managed to be more competitive with both our riders. Chaz rode a superb race, fighting the pain and pushing hard to finish very close to the winner. Marco encountered a bit more difficulties but gave his all as usual, taking home the best possible result. Now we head to Argentina, a new track, so it'll be a very interesting round."
Van Der Mark Challenges for Victory In Magny-Cours Thriller
After a tough Race 1 yesterday, Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team rider Michael van der Mark bounced back impressively today, with a superb ride to third place in a thrilling Race 2 encounter at Magny-Cours. Alex Lowes also staged a comeback with a solid ride to seventh place today, after a crash in the early stages of Race 1 dashed his hopes of a points scoring finish yesterday.
Van der Mark's crew made significant changes to the set up of his Yamaha YZF-R1 ahead of Race 2, in a bid to solve some of the issues he experienced in the race yesterday. It was a carefully calculated gamble, but one that paid dividends for the 25-year-old this afternoon.
Starting from the head of the second row of the grid van der Mark made a fast and aggressive start that saw him slot into second place behind early race leader Chaz Davies. The Pata Yamaha rider then managed to fend off a concerted attack from Jonathan Rea, but the newly crowned World Champion eventually forced his way through and set off in pursuit of Davies, with van der Mark in his slipstream.
Van der Mark kept Rea and Davies in his sights until the closing stages of the race when the two leaders managed to pull a small gap on the Pata Yamaha rider, leaving him to cross the line in third for his tenth podium finish of the season. Van der Mark remains third in the championship standings, but now trails second-placed Davies by 26 points with four races remaining.
Having crashed and remounted to finish outside the points yesterday, Lowes went into Race 2 today determined to salvage his Magny-Cours weekend with a solid result. Starting from 10th on the grid the 28-year-old Briton got caught up in an early battle for position and, by the time he'd forced his way to the front of the group and had clear track in front of him, had lost contact with the leading group of six riders.
The Pata Yamaha rider's pace over the second half of the race was fast and consistent, but the gap ahead of him proved insurmountable and he crossed the line in seventh position, well clear of the pursuing pack. Lowes was disappointed with his race results after a strong qualifying performance, but heads to the next race in Argentina determined to rediscover the form that saw him take his first WorldSBK race win in Brno earlier in the season.
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 3rd + 3.552
"After such a difficult race yesterday, I'm really happy to finish off the Magny-Cours weekend with a podium today. We changed a lot on the bike ahead of warm-up this morning, but still I didn't feel really comfortable on the bike. So Lez and my guys made a few more changes before the race; it was a bit of a gamble, but it paid off. I made such a good start, probably my best of the season, and I able to be aggressive from the first lap. I tried to get past Chaz, who was also quick off the line, but I couldn't quite make it happen. Then Johnny passed me and I for the first time this weekend I felt like I had the bike I needed to fight with top riders. They were a bit stronger than me at the end, but I'm really happy with the improvements we made overnight and to have finished on the podium at the end of what had been a difficult weekend."
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 7th + 15.077
"Overall it's been a disappointing weekend. My speed was quite good, but we just didn't get the results we should have had here in Magny-Cours. I didn't get the best of starts from tenth on the grid and I ended up in a bit of a battle in the opening laps; I'd make a pass then another guy would come past me and it just held us all up. Once I'd fought my way clear my pace was good, but it was too late because the leading group had pulled too big a gap ahead of me. From that point it was just a case of keeping focused, staying consistent and making it to the end of the race. We've worked hard this weekend to get me more confortable on the bike, but we still need to find improvements in some areas if we are to turn things around at the next race in Argentina."
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK - Team Principal
"A huge improvement today from the whole team, in particular Michael with a brilliant podium on a circuit that's clearly been difficult over the course of the weekend to get to his and the R1's recently expected levels of performance. Michael's start and first laps showed very positive levels of confidence and aggression and he was able to finish quite close to Jonathan in the end. His application and the efforts of his crew to take a good step forward with the bike overnight are appreciated and applauded. Alex effectively missed yesterday's race, riding a badly damaged bike to the end, but we were unable to judge anything in terms of performance. Therefore a tenth place start, a really difficult track position in the early laps and getting involved in the upper midfield melee made life difficult, but he applied himself very strongly. I'm sure Alex will look back overall on the weekend, with a strong qualifying performance, a more confident pace than Portimão and a good recovery today, as a positive step forwards as we go into the last four races of the season."
Resurgent Camier claims ninth place in Race 2 at Magny-Cours
Circuit Nevers Magny-Cours, France
A determined ride from Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team’s Leon Camier saw the Briton claim ninth place in Race 2 at Magny-Cours, while Jake Gagne finished just outside the point-paying positions in P16.
Starting Race 2 from thirteenth on the grid, Camier bolted out of the blocks and made up two positions to move into eleventh place on the opening lap. From there, Camier’s strong pace saw him work his way through the field to ninth place by the halfway point of the race, a position he held until the chequered flag was waved.
After a good race yesterday, today proved to be more challenging for Gagne, who made up positions early in the race but struggled for grip to finish the race in sixteenth place.
With just two rounds of the 2018 season remaining, Camier moves up one place in the championship standings to thirteenth overall on 102 points, while Gagne remains in seventeenth position with 51 points.
Argentina’s new Circuito San Juan Villicum will host the next round of FIM Superbike World Championship, the action taking place from the 12th to the 14th of October.
Leon Camier 2
I felt a lot happier in today's race, the changes we made to the bike helped the bike turn so I could really attack and make my way through the field. It was definitely a positive step we made with the Fireblade, my pace for the second half of the race was good for a top-six place, and that's where we should have been had our starting position been a bit better. Our performance in Race 2 was a good way to finish the weekend and we'll try carry the momentum into the next round at Argentina.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Jake Gagne 45
It was a struggle today for me, the changes we made in Warm Up actually worked quite well and I had better pace, but in the race it was really hard. Already after a couple of laps I struggled a lot with the front tyre which basically meant I had to manage my pace and couldn't push at all, so in the end it was a lonely race back in sixteenth. It's a shame as I was a lot more confident going into this race than yesterday, but we'll take a look at what happened and get ready for Argentina in a couple of weeks time.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Today was a better day for us given Leon's performance. Although on paper ninth place isn't where we want to be, his pace was good enough to have him in the top six which is a step in the right direction. We were able to make a change which made his CBR1000RR better on corner entry without sacrificing his corner exit, so credit to him and his team for their hard work all weekend. On Jake's side of the garage a step was also made in the Warm Up session this morning, but unfortunately in the race Jake struggled a lot with his front tyre which compromised his race.
The results still aren't where we want them to be, but in terms of bike performance we moved in the right direction this weekend and we'll be looking for more of the same in Argentina.
Baz rounds out his home round in tenth place at Magny Cours
Magny Cours (France), Sunday 30 September 2018
On track at Magny Cours in France, the Gulf Althea BMW Racing Team and rider Loris Baz have closed the weekend’s second WorldSBK race in tenth place. Young Italian Alessandro Delbianco crossed the line sixth in the final Superstock 1000 race of the season.
Superbike - Race 2 – lining up on row four of the grid today, the Frenchman lost a few positions off the line, caught up in traffic and lying fifteenth through the first corners. Moving up three positions over the course of the first three laps, the Frenchman was lapping twelfth until almost the mid-race point when he was able to pass both Laverty and Razgatlioglu to move up into tenth place. A constant pace throughout the final stages allowed him to hold his position to the line, thus replicating yesterday’s race 1 result.
STK1000 - Race – eighth in qualifying, Delbianco lined up on the third row of the grid today. Making a good start, the Italian was quickly up into fourth. Pushing hard, Alessandro was able to pass both Scheib and Reiterberger on lap two. The German got back past him soon afterwards but Delbianco did not give up, fighting hard with Tamburini during the second half of the race. Losing ground while battling the Italian, the Gulf Althea BMW rider crossed the line sixth; a good result at the end of a race in which he showed great determination from start to finish.
Having now concluded eleven championship rounds, Baz lies eleventh in the general standings with 115 points. At the end of the Superstock 1000 season, Delbianco finishes in final seventh place, having scored 55 points.
"It went a little bit better than yesterday if I’m honest. I made a terrible start and then had to fight back but I was able to make up some positions, getting past both Laverty and Toprak. I had a big battle on my hands, as I had to pass them more than once and this meant I lost valuable time. If I hadn’t lost so much time off the line I could have done more, but anyway, my performance was a little better than yesterday’s, despite my still finishing tenth.”
“An excellent final race. I’m really pleased though unfortunately I started to have some physical problems and arm pain in the final laps. But I’m happy anyway because I know that I gave 100% for the entire race. I want to thank the team and everyone who’s supported me this year – I think we’ve enjoyed ourselves and I’ve learned a great deal also thanks to them.”
“Once again today, Loris did the best he could with the technical package we have available. Being in the top ten right now, with the competition we have, is very difficult, so I think we can be relatively satisfied with the results achieved up until now with the bike we have. As for Delbianco, he put on an exciting show in the final Stock1000 race. Unfortunately, he’s been penalised by too many accidents this year and although he started the year with great potential, he’s lacked a little endurance. Having said that, today he entertained us. We chose him as a rider with the aim of helping him to grow, and I think he’s demonstrated this growth each week, in all conditions, and particularly today, so we can be proud I’d say.”
European season complete for Triple M Honda World Superbike Team
Circuit Nevers Magny-Cours, France
The Triple M Honda World Superbike team finished the European rounds of what is a rookie season for both team and rider in the WorldSBK Championship with important lessons learned for the final two rounds of the year.
The challenges of the Magny-Cours circuit were new for the Triple M team and PJ Jacobsen, and after Friday practice, Jacobsen qualified 17th of 21 riders on the grid, after Superpole 1 on Saturday morning.
The opening race took place at 13.00, the Sunday race at the new normal of 15.15, with each lasting for 21-laps of the 4.411km circuit in the very heart of the French countryside.
Moving up to 15th position in race one, a position he held from lap three to lap six; PJ would eventually drop down one place to finish 16th, and just one position away from scoring a championship point.
The second race, held in only slightly warmer conditions, saw PJ ride behind his countryman Jake Gagne for a time, ending up 17th and again just missing a championship point.
After 11 of the 13 rounds, PJ sits 19th overall in the championship standings.
WorldSBK will hold the next round in Argentina for the very first time, at the all-new El Villicum circuit, between 12th and 14th October.
PJ Jacobsen 99
It has been quite difficult here but I am still trying every weekend. We have just got to keep moving forward and think positively. We have to keep doing our thing. It was quite a rough start but race two was OK. I still think we maybe picked the wrong tyre for race two. I liked the tyre I was on yesterday even though the gap was a bit more. With the changes we made for today we could have maybe been better with this tyre.
- Triple M Honda World Superbike Team
It was not so bad this week but yesterday we struggled a bit with rear grip. Today the grip was not so bad; it is just that the tyre dropped after 15 laps. But the rhythm in the beginning was quite OK. It was the best of the weekend and we found something that worked well with this track. It is just sad that there was a drop with the tyre. We were close with Jake Gagne in the race and the rhythm was similar.
Savadori and Laverty take home points after tough Race 2 at Magny-Cours
Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours 30 / 09 / 2018
Race Two Report #FrenchWorldSBK
Race 2 at Magny-Cours yielded a double points finish for Milwaukee Aprilia
After finishing fourth in Race 1, his season-best result, Lorenzo started on pole position for Race 2. After a torrid time on Saturday Eugene aimed to make amends from P6.
A slow start saw Lorenzo drop to P6 on the first lap. A pass on Razgatlioglu who forced his way past at the start initially worked to regain P5, but opened the door for Sykes to push through and demote Lorenzo to sixth. His race then ebbed between closing the gap to Sykes ahead, before dropping back and managing the barrier to Fores and then Lowes behind. After a lonely final stage of the race Lorenzo held on to P6 across the finish line, earning 10 points and capping off a strong weekend for him after disappointing races in Misano and Portimao.
Eugene's unfortunate run of pace this weekend continued on Sunday, losing out at the start to Rea, Sykes and Fores to end the first lap in P9. He held position until Lap 6 when Lowes passed, and dropped further back to P12 on Lap 11 after a mistake let Camier and Baz through. He eventually forced his way past Razgatlioglu in the closing stages, taking P11 with 7 hard-fought points.
After mixed fortunes this weekend, highlights including Lorenzo's third place in qualifying and fourth place finish in Race 1, the team and the championship leave Europe for the last time in 2018 for South America. Round 12 takes place at the brand new and un-ridden Circuito San Juan Villicum in Argentina. Presenting a new challenge a clean slate for the entire grid, Milwaukee Aprilia will aim to build on the progress shown in recent rounds to reach the sharp end of the grid and finish the season in style.
Round 12 of the WorldSBK championship takes place at the Circuito San Juan Villicum in Argentina, 12-14 October.
Keep up to date with the Milwaukee Aprilia team on their website, and Facebook, Twitter & Instagram channels
Shaun Muir - Team Principal
"I think Lorenzo rode with the maturity that we need to see from him this weekend, so we should be happy with fourth and sixth for him at Magny-Cours. He's been making steps forward and that shows, and he can go to Argentina now with confidence.
Eugene conversely really struggled this weekend, he didn't find that ideal setup and he had issues with grip here in the front tyre. It wasn't his best weekend, but he's been building and improving on the bike and I have no doubt he will bounce back.
We will hopefully see another strong improvement for Argentina. We'll start there afresh with both riders, and hopefully we can get them in the top six where they should be and finish the round on a high."
Lorenzo Savadori #32 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
Race 2 grid: Pole position
Race 2 result: P6 - 10 points
Total weekend points: 23
"It wasn't an easy race for me today. I lost too much time at the beginning when Razgatlioglu passed me and then I had to fight again. I closed the gap to Sykes and had a consistent pace, but it was difficult to close the front riders.
Compared to yesterday we made a few changes, some worked some not so much, but I didn't have the pace and rhythm to attack Sykes and Melandri at the end unfortunatley, so P6 was the best we could do today.
For Argentina I hope we can continue with the good work we have done recently. None of us know what the track will be like, or the lines and the surface, so it will be interesting to learn."
Eugene Laverty #50 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
Race 2 grid: P6 - Row 4
Race 2 result: P11 - 7 points
Total weekend points: 12
"Race 2 was so tough, yesterday was bad and this was no better. I had no rear grip for most of the race, the first three laps felt good and I thought we were on to something, but again it just disappeared completely.
I just want to put this round behind me and forget the struggle, honestly we didn't learn a great deal and whenever we tried to make positive changes it just didn't work.
I'm looking forward to Argentina; it's a clean slate for everyone and a good chance to make some steps on equal ground. Qatar after that is a good track for me too so I'm just aiming to finish the season on a high note."
WorldSSP: Cluzel out-battles Cortese to win on home soil
Frenchman takes fourth win of the season, with Championship leader and Mahias completing the podium
Fantastic show in front of the French fans from Cluzel
Jules Cluzel (NRT) secured his fourth win of the season at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours as the Frenchman took a controlling victory to beat Championship rival and second place Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) at the ACERBIS French Round, with fellow countryman Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) third on the rostrum as teammate and pole man Federico Caricasulo crashed out on the final lap.
It was Mahias who grabbed the holeshot as the lights went out from second on the grid as he and Cluzel made it an immediate French 1-2 at the front, before the latter took the lead heading into Turn 5 on the opening lap. Further back, Championship leader Cortese didn’t get off to the best start but the German rider soon found his rhythm to reel in the leaders a couple of laps later, making his way up to P2 after consecutive passes on Mahias and Caricasulo at the Adelaide hairpin.
The four leaders had broken clear from home rider Corentin Perolari (GMT94 Yamaha) at the mid-stage of the race, with Cluzel still holding P1 from Cortese before the 2012 Moto3™ World Champion made a move down into Turn 5. The Kallio Racing rider couldn’t make it stick though, but that didn’t stop the German trying it again a lap later, but the same happened – Cluzel getting the better exit to hold station. It was rinse and repeat for the duo a lap later as the two leaders in the Championship brilliantly fought for French honours.
Heading into the final lap, Cluzel had managed to get his head down to edge out a 0.7 advantage at the front, with Cortese suffering from front tyre wear which left him firmly in the clutches of the two GRT bikes behind. Then, late drama surfaced. Fourth place Mahias went for a pass into Turn 14 on teammate Caricasulo, the latter running a slightly wider line and losing the front trying to defend his position – hugely detrimental for the Italian’s title aspirations, who remounted to claim P13.
This left Cluzel to claim his fourth win of the season as the gap in the Championship between him and first place Cortese now stands at 11 points with two races remaining – Mahias claimed a home podium, his first since Thailand. Thomas Gradinger (NRT) was fourth as he continues to impress in his rookie WorldSSP season, with Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) completing the top five after a difficult race. Sixth was home rider Perolari, a great race for the Frenchman after battling with the leaders in the opening exchanges, with Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) crossing the line seventh – the Italian losing ground in the Championship.
After his podium in Portugal, Kyle Smith (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) could only manage eighth in France, with Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) getting the better of teammate Hector Barbera – P9 and P10 respectively for the Kawasaki paring.
The title race remains tight as the paddock heads off to Argentina for a brand-new challenge – who will emerge victorious as Cortese and Cluzel go head-to-head once again.
P1 - Jules Cluzel (NRT)
“Wow! It’s so, so, so good! Every two years I have won here, so I needed to win this year! It was a long race but I enjoyed it a lot and I thought the penultimate lap was the last one, but when I saw the chequered flag I was like “Oh shit, another one!”, so I pushed a lot and tried to make minimal mistakes, and we did it!”
Podium Finish for Home Hero Mahias in Magny-Cours
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team rider Lucas Mahias thrilled the French crowd with a heroic ride to third place in Magny-Cours, to claim his third podium finish of the 2018 FIM World Supersport season. Federico Caricasulo was part of a four-way battle at the front of the race until his podium hopes were dashed with a crash on the final lap. The Italian remounted to finish 13th and in the points. European Supersport Cup rider Alfonso Coppola rode a solid race to 25th position, having started from pit lane.
Mahias had to ride through the pain barrier to secure his podium finish today. The reigning World Champion slipped on a wet floor in his hotel room yesterday evening and sustained an injury to his left ankle, which he exacerbated in a crash during morning warm up. The joint was swollen and painful following the crash, but the swelling had subsided sufficiently to allow Mahias to race this afternoon.
It was Jules Cluzel who led the charge on the opening lap, shadowed closely by Mahias, Caricasulo and current championship leader, Sandro Cortese. By mid-race distance the leading quartet had pulled out a gap on the rest of the field and looked set to battle it out between them on the final lap.
The GRT Yamaha pairing of Caricasulo and Mahias had closed right onto the back of Cortese and Cluzel as they hit the braking area for turn 13 on the final lap. Caricasulo, pushing hard to find a way past the championship leader, ran slightly wide on entry and then lost the front and crashed as he tried to defend against Mahias, who'd taken advantage of the gap to dive up the inside of his teammate.
Mahias went on to claim third and the final step on the podium in his home race. Caricasulo managed to remount to finish in 13th place and pick up three vital championship points. The Italian drops to fourth place in the championship standings as a result, 37 points behind series leader Cortese with just two races remaining.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 3rd +1.903
"It's fantastic to finish on the podium here at Magny-Cours in front of my home crowd. It actually feels like a victory because of the bad luck of the injury and the fact that it's been such a long time since I last stood on the podium! The injury meant that when I started the race I didn't know if it was even possible to ride more than two laps because of the pain in my ankle after the crash this morning. In the end I was able to fight at the front and finish on the podium, so I'm happy. In the race I didn't push too much until right at the end because of the pain in my foot. With three laps to go I could see the guys in front of me were starting to struggle for grip so that's when I started to push. I passed Federico, who crashed unfortunately, and finished on the podium, which is good for me and good for my team."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 13th +31.992
"It was a hard race today. The pace was fast on every lap from the very start, but I had a very good rhythm and I was able to stay with the leading group for the whole race. On the last lap I was pushing a lot to close on Cortese, and at the same time defending my position from Lucas, but then I ran too hot into turn 13, ran wide in the corner and the front closed on me. My team did a great job this weekend, but I think we need to find some small improvements for the next two races, as we were losing out in some places to the other two Yamaha riders today."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Junior Team - 25th +1:31.517
"A difficult weekend for me overall and the race was also a hard one today, because I had to start from pit lane once again. I pushed from the very start to try and recover places, but then I ran on into the gravel five laps into the race and lost some time. From that point on it was a case of concentrating on gaining as much experience as possible over the remaining laps, working already for next year."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager
"Lucas did a fantastic job to finish on the podium today, given that we weren't even sure he'd be able to start the race until the very last minute, due to the injury he sustained on Saturday evening and the crash in warm-up. But he made it to the grid and then bravely rode through the pain barrier to claim his third podium finish of the season. I am sure that without the injury he would have been challenging for the win today. This was a very important race for Federico's title challenge. Right up until the end it looked like he could challenge for the podium or even the win, in what was an incredibly fast race but then a small mistake within sight of the chequered flag saw him lose the front at turn 13. He managed to remount to finish 13th in the end, but it was a big blow to his championship challenge and one that will be difficult to recover from with only two races remaining. We have shown we can run at the front every weekend; the team are doing a great job, Yamaha has provided a consistently competitive package, so we have everything we need to finish the season with strong results in Argentina and Qatar. Alfonso's race was made more difficult by having to start from pit lane again today, but he pushed hard to recover positions but was unable to close the gap to the group ahead after running off the track five laps into the race. But it's more experience for him, and that will be good for him in the future."
RANDY KRUMMENACHER LIES THIRD IN THE STANDINGS AS HE LEAVES THE FRENCH TRACK OF MAGNY-COURS
Magny-Cours (France) 30 September 2018
The curtain comes down on the final European round of the Supersport world championship taking place at the French track of Magny-Cours. At 1.45pm local time, under sunny skies and with a temperature of around 21°C, the lights went on and the tenth race of the season got underway, playing out over 19 laps. Randy Krummenacher, who got away from fifth place, made a good start but then lost a few positions, before making up the lost ground in the final stages of the race, to cross the line in fifth place. He thus scores eleven points which see him move into third place in the general standings with a total of 140 points. The Team Bardahl Evan Bros. rider is satisfied, despite having had to overcome difficulties in the first ten laps. The aim is to return to the podium and finish the season in the best possible way.
#RK21: “I leave the circuit one place further ahead in the standings than I was after Portimao. I was fourth on the same points as the third-placed rider and now I’m third, eight points ahead of fourth. It wasn’t an easy race, especially at the start, but I’m pleased because I gave it my all and couldn’t have done more. After lap ten, I started to pick up the pace, lapping with times similar to those of the leading group, but by then I was too far back to be able to reach them. We have two races left to run, at San Juan, in Argentina on 14 October and then Qatar on 27 October. I’m confident and my aim is to get back to the podium, I hope to do just that and round out the 2018 season as well as possible”.
Sebestyen scores first Championship points in France
Posted on 30th September 2018
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda’s Peter Sebestyen scored his maiden championship points with a 14thplace in the World Supersport race at a warm and sunny Magny Cours.
It was an intelligent performance by the young Hungarian who started 13thon the grid in only his third outing with CIA Landlord Insurance Honda.
Sebestyen said: “I’m happy with the points. After yesterday I felt I can be better, that I have a better race pace but the first few laps I couldn’t do what I wanted. I couldn’t stay with the group and then with the soft tyres it was impossible to minimise the gap in the second part of the race so I just tried to finish with some points. I am sure we can have much much better.”
A strong top ten finish in eighth position concluded a frustrating weekend for teammate Kyle Smith at the final European round of the World Supersport Championship.
Smith said: “I’d have to say it was a positive race after the difficult weekend we’ve had. The set up wasn’t perfect for the race after the crashes and technical issues but we’ve salvaged a finish and a couple of championship points.”
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “Great job by Peter today scoring his first points. It was important to grab those first points and build from there. He’s done that and worked really well with us. Let’s build on that and look forward to the last two races.”
“After the crashes this weekend which lost us all that track time and ability to start the race with the best set up, we made changes for the race back to a very similar set up we had in Free Practice 1. At the end of the day, to get eighth place it’s not what we wanted but it is all we could hope for after a difficult weekend with Kyle.”
Top Ten For Hikari And Hector
Kawasaki Puccetti Racing riders Hikari Okubo and Hector Barbera finished ninth and tenth respectively at the French round of the WorldSSP Championship, after 19 intense laps of the Magny Cours circuit.
Having qualified seventh Okubo stayed in that position on lap one but he and Barbera finally got involved in the three rider fight after Hector had moved up from his 15th qualifying place.
The end of the race was a close three-way fight between eighth place finisher Kyle Smith and the Kawasaki duo, with all three crossing the line within half a second of each other.
Barbera made improvements to some of his best pace even during the race as he gets used to both the WorldSBK class itself and his Kawasaki machine.
In the championship fight, Okubo is 13th, and Barbera moved up to 19th after just two races inside the WorldSSP paddock.
The next round for the WorldSSP riders will be at the all new El Villicum Circuit in Argentina for round 11, to be held between the 12th and the 14th of October.
Hikari Okubo, stated: “I am not that happy because my target was to finish inside the top sixth but I got ninth. We need to make some more good work and this is my position now. I need more good training and another way of thinking, so that for the last two races I can push harder.”
Hector Barbera stated: “Today’s race was better than Portimao. My best lap in the race was one second faster than the one I did in qualifying. Every day I get faster and I improve, so my feeling with the bike increases. We are not that far away from the first, and the gap is decreasing. I would like to thank the team because together we are doing a great job! It is not easy doing four races all on new tracks, so I need some time to get used to everything. Now I am starting to like this bike, it is becoming more my bike, thanks to the modifications we are doing. We still miss something to make the best result but the next race, which will be new for everyone, we will be easier for us.”
Christian Stange (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) was 16th at Magny Cours, one place ahead of newly crowned FIM Europe Supersport Cup champion Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Against Cancer). Now 16th in the overall rankings Hartog won today despite just missing out on a championship point.
Wayne Tessels (Chromeburner Wayne’s Racingteam MTM) was 19th in France, Javier Ezequiel Iturrioz (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) placed 20th and Kevin van Leuven (EAB Antwest Racing Kawasaki) 22nd. Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 24th.
WorldSSP300: Carrasco claims historic WorldSSP300 title as Valle snatches maiden win in dramatic race
Unstoppable Ana becomes first female motorcycle World Champion
Valle stormed to the win on his final lap in true WorldSSP300 style
In an unbelievable WorldSSP300 race at the ACERBIS French Round, Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team) became the first ever female motorcycle racing World Champion after clawing her way back from P25 on the grid to finish P13 at the chequered flag, just enough to see the Spaniard beat Mika Perez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) by a single point. The fellow Spaniard lost out on a Championship winning P1 to eventual race winner Daniel Valle (BCD Yamaha MS Racing) at Turn 15 on the final lap.
As the lights went out, Tom Edwards (Nutec - Benjan – Kawasaki) got the holeshot from P3 on the grid to lead the field on the opening lap, with title contenders Scott Deroue (Motoport Kawasaki) and Perez slotting into P2 and P3. Meanwhile, Carrasco remained outside the top 20 as it looked like an increasingly difficult task for her to be crowned Champion. But then, disaster struck for second in the title race Deroue with eight laps to go as he battled for the race lead, a mechanical failure leaving the Kawasaki rider having to pull into pitlane and out of Championship contention – desperately unlucky for the Dutchman.
This left Perez and Luca Grunwald (Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team) as the only two who could oust Carrasco from P1 in the Championship, both of whom were in at the front of the leading pack. The battle for first kept changing in classic WorldSSP300 fashion, with the Championship standings adjusting corner by corner as Perez kept threatening the lead of the race - Carrasco now starting to make her way into the points with three laps to go.
The tension was palpable and heading onto the final lap as Perez needed the race win to claim the title. The Spaniard sat in fourth but soon carved his way to the front halfway through the lap – Carrasco meanwhile was P13. Perez kept his cool to lead heading into Turn 15, but Valle then made his move – making it stick, giving Perez no time to respond. Valle took his maiden victory, Perez was a distraught second as Carrasco came over the line in 13th to create history by a single point.
Rounding out the podium was Manuel Gonzalez (BCD Pertamina Junior Team by MS Racing) to make it an all-Spanish podium after recovering from a mistake midway through the race, with Maria Herrera (BCD Yamaha MS Racing) producing a great ride to claim P4 at the flag. Fifth was Italian Luca Bernardi (Team Trasimeno), with sixth place going to Grunwald who finishes fourth in the overall standings. Seventh place at Magny-Cours was Nick Kalinin (GP Project Team), eighth was Dutchman Glenn Van Straalen (KTM Fortron Racing Team), Enzo De La Vega (GP Project Team) claims ninth after leading his home race at stages, with fifth in the Championship Dorren Loureiro (DS Junior Team) completing the top ten.
After a stunning and drama-filled final round of the 2018 WorldSSP300 Championship, history was created as Ana Carrasco takes the title. What a way to end another phenomenal season.
P1 - Daniel Valle (BCD Yamaha MS Racing)
“This is amazing, I never thought I could finish the season with a victory. In the first part of the race I was always at the front, but in the middle I made a mistake so I fell back. But I thought to myself, ‘Dani, this is the last race of the season, so you have to put in 100%’, so I went for it and here we are! I want to say thank you to my team, my sponsors, all of the people who support me; this could never have happened if they weren’t with me, so thank you to everyone."
Ride like a girl: Carrasco makes history to become WorldSSP300 Champion
First female world champion crowned at Magny-Cours
At just 21 years of age, Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team) has made history in the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship as she secured the world title in the final race of the season at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours. Becoming the first female to secure a world title, her performance this season has been nothing short of stunning, and it will be one that won’t be forgotten in a while.
Beginning her career in 2011, the Spanish sensation began in the CEV 125 championship and her points scoring performances saw her secure a seat in the Moto3™ World Championship for 2013. Making the move over to WorldSSP300 in 2017, she has been showered in success.
Returning to the scene of her historical debut victory, Carrasco signed off the title with an impressive fight in France. But she hasn’t had a totally smooth season, which makes the achievement an even stronger one. In an unpredictable championship such as WorldSSP300, her tenacious racing nature and skill have got her to the top.
Beginning the season at MotorLand Aragon, the Spaniard took a top six finish in her debut with the DS Junior Team but was only 0.4s off the race winner. With a strong pace established on-board the Kawasaki Ninja 400, she then headed straight to Assen with points to prove. Crossing the line in fourth position around the historic circuit, she was again just over half a second behind the race winner as the unpredictable nature of a final WorldSSP300 lap can make for a difficult race.
But it was the third round of the season around Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola that ignited her title chances, winning the 11 lap race by a dominant 11 seconds over her rivals. Leaving them for dust, Carrasco put on a sensational performance under the Italian sunshine and left with a three point championship lead.
Carrasco’s sensational form continued over to Donington Park, which is a very different style of circuit to Imola, proving her pace was there to stay. Crossing the line this time by a mere four seconds ahead of the rest, the 21 year old was looking unstoppable as they hit the half way point of the season. Stretching out her championship lead to 22 points, it was hers to throwaway.
However, she faced two tough races in the upcoming rounds and it was a big challenge for the rider from Murcia. Only able to leave Automotodrom Brno with a top 11 finish, and Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli with a top 10, Carrasco entered the summer break with a 16 point championship lead and two races remaining.
With strong memories of Portimao from her debut victory in 2017, she was ready for the battle and prepared to seal the title in Portugal. But the luck didn’t fall in her favour in the penultimate round of the season, and the fight continued on to France. Heading to the final round with a 10 point lead, Carrasco put on a memorable performance to prove she was the worthy champion.
In an emotional display following the 12 lap battle, Carrasco will forever go down in history as she became the first female to take a world title, with a 13th position finish in France.
Congratulate Carrasco and celebrate the history maker using #UnstoppableAna
Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team)
"Its unbelievable for me, we worked so hard to be here. I can only say thank you to all the Kawasaki team, I can only say thank you to David Salom and all the team, they worked hard to help me arrive here and also to my family because they gave me everything this year, and my friends. I wanted to dedicate this title to Luis Salom, we were good friends and the day we lost him I promised myself to dedicate my first title to him."
WorldSSP300 Race at Magny-Cours
1. Daniel Valle Yamaha
2. Mika Perez Kawasaki +0.168
3. Manuel GonzalezYamaha +0.259
Full Race Results
WorldSSP300 Championship Standings Acerbis French Round
1. Ana Carrasco (ESP) Kawasaki (93 points)
2. Mika Perez (ESP) Kawasaki (92 points)
3. Scott Deroue (NED) Kawasaki (80 points)
Carrasco Wins After Incredible Season Finale
Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team Kawasaki) became the first female winner of a full FIM World Championship road-racing category when she finished just one single point ahead of her closest rival in the WorldSSP300 championship race at Magny Cours.
Starting in a lowly 25th position on the grid Carrasco was involved in a fight for 20th place for much of the race but she made progress to 19th spot. In the closing laps she moved to a 13th place that would be enough to give her a one-point lead over Mika Perez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) in the final points table.
Perez was in a position to win the championship himself on the last sector of the final lap but his race leading position was taken from him with two corners to go, and his 20 points were not quite enough to give him the crown.
Carrasco was unaware that she had won the championship on her slowdown lap almost until her team stopped her for a trackside celebration, with her championship-winning T-shirt having the phrase ‘Ride Like A Girl” emblazoned on the front. In her post-race interview Carrasco dedicated her championship win to the late Moto2 rider Luis Salom, who was a friend of Ana’s and the cousin of David Salom, her team manager.
In another astonishingly close and battling WorldSSP300 race, Scott Deroue (Motoport Kawasaki) was also in contention for both the race and title wins until he was forced out with a technical issue.
Perez and Deroue battled it out for the championship up front but when Deroue suddenly slowed with problems changing gear, Perez was in the lead. He was then the driving seat for the championship itself until Daniel Valle ambushed him in the final two turns. Perez lost out on the title by just 0.168 seconds, in a race that was so close that Carrasco, in 13th place, was only 2.468 seconds behind the race winner.
Kawasaki wrapped up the championship at the previous round, and finally ended up with a 61-point advantage at the end of the eight round championship.
Nick Kalinin (GP Project Kawasaki was seventh today, but front row qualifier Robert Schotman (Motoport Kawasaki) did not finish. Enzo de la Vega (GP Project Team Kawasaki) led the race twice but finished ninth, while Dorren Loureiro (DS Junior Team Kawasaki) tenth. Tom Edwards (Nutec - Benjan Kawasaki) was another non-finisher.
In the final championship standings Carrasco has 93 points, Perez 92 and Deroue 80, putting three Kawasaki Ninja 400 riders in the top three positions overall.
Ana Carrasco, stated: “It is unbelievable to win the championship and we worked so hard to be here. I did not know I had won on the slowdown lap. I tried to see some TVs to check but I did not see any. I only realised when I got to turn five and I asked the spectators if I was first. I can only say thank you to a David Salom and all the Kawasaki DS Junior Team, it is for all of them. I also want to say thank you to my family who have done so much for me. I want to dedicate this title to Luis Salom. The day we lost him I promised to dedicate my first title to him. At the moment I am happy because we have achieved our goals, but I do not realise all of the things about being the first woman in history. I think after a few days I will be more conscious of this.”
Mika Perez, stated: “I gave my maximum today. I knew it was win or crash, and finally I got second. I tried everything and the team did a great job. We were very close to the win but we have to congratulate Ana and the race winner Dani because they did an incredible job.”
Scott Deroue, stated: “We had a really good weekend until now and I think we were one of the fastest. Every session we were in the top positions so I was feeling really good. I felt the same in the race and I was in the top three all the time. Then with seven laps to go my gear lever broke and it was over. We had good speed this season and were really consistent but in Misano we had a problem and today we were supposed to finish on the podium again, and then this happens.”