2018 Qatar World Supersport Race Results: Worth The Wait

The last World Supersport race of the year was delayed by adverse weather in Qatar, first with a sandstorm, then a rainstorm. The championship decider between Sandro Cortese and Jules Cluzel was then reduced to just twelve laps on a dry track with rivers of water across a few corners. 

The race started with Lucas Mahias leading into turn one from pole position, but he went in too eagerly and took a wide line, clipping the outer kerb before recovering in fourth place behind Jules Cluzel, Corentin Perolari and Sandro Cortese. As the riders went through turn fifteen, a few wobbled as they hit the rivulet of water crossing the track. As the field hit the long straight, missing Hikari Okubo and Sam Hornsey after crashes on lap one, Cortese swooped past Perolari down the straight and got his hooks into Cluzel. 

Turn ten of lap two, Sandro Cortese took the lead off Jules Cluzel and the championship fight was on. They battled it out over a few corners but it wasn't until the straight that it was settled, with Cluzel beating the rookie Cortese to turn one and being helped by Corentin Perolari taking second from Cortese at turn six as Cortese had a little wobble. Cluzel tried to make a break from the six Yamahas behind him.

On lap four, Cortese took second place off Perolari and caught Cluzel passing him at turn thirteen after Cluzel went wide. 

At half race distance, Lucas Mahias joined the two at the front, passing and losing Corentin Perolari who was then passed by Thomas Gradinger and shoved into a fight between Randy Krummenacher and Federico Caricasulo. It was now Sandro Cortese's turn to try to clear off at the front, but Jules Cluzel and Lucas Mahias caught him. Cluzel made a hard tight pass at turn four to take the lead, and at turn nine Cortese's right foot caught on the tarmac and game him a bit of a wobble that he recovered from before Mahias could pass him. Cortese then closed the gap to Cluzel, passing him into turn one of lap ten but conceding the lead to Cluzel a turn later. 

At turn six, Sandro Cortese pushed Jules Cluzel wide and Lucas Mahias gave up on leaving the championship battle to it and took the lead. Cortese passed Cluzel the next turn, with CLuzel trying round the outside of turn ten to no avail, finally getting passed through the stream of water crossing turn fifteen. 

At the start of the penultimate lap, Lucas Mahias was almost a second clear of the championship battle behind him, and behind them, three seconds further back, was Federico Caricasulo and Thomas Gradinger. Jules Cluzel tried a pass into turn one, but overshot, giving Sandro Cortese second place back. As Cluzel tried to pass Cortese, Cortese played a game of slowing the pace mid-corner, giving Mahias room to get away over a second in front. On the last lap, Cluzel took second from Cortese into turn one but Cortese took it back on the exit.

At turn seven, Jules Cluzel lost the front, possibly applying too much brake to avoid touching Sandro Cortese's rear. Cluzel crashed out, ending his fight for the title and immediately removed a boot, the crash possibly affecting a previous injury.

As Lucas Mahias won the race, Sandro Cortese in second place took the title in his first year. Jules Cluzel's crash handed Mahias second place in the championship. Cluzel was the seventh rider to crash, with over a quarter of the starters crashing in the testing conditions of the last race of the year . 

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Gap
1 144 L. MAHIAS Yamaha YZF R6  
2 11 S. CORTESE Yamaha YZF R6 2.000
3 64 F. CARICASULO Yamaha YZF R6 3.137
4 36 T. GRADINGER Yamaha YZF R6 3.161
5 21 R. KRUMMENACHER Yamaha YZF R6 6.236
6 6 C. PEROLARI Yamaha YZF R6 6.608
7 98 H. BARBERA Kawasaki ZX-6R 6.709
8 3 R. DE ROSA MV Agusta F3 675 7.705
9 38 H. SOOMER Honda CBR600RR 13.060
10 56 P. SEBESTYEN Honda CBR600RR 23.199
11 86 A. BADOVINI MV Agusta F3 675 23.887
12 84 L. CRESSON Yamaha YZF R6 2'05.647 282,0
13 74 J. VAN SIKKELERUS Honda CBR600RR 38.099
14 88 C. STANGE Kawasaki ZX-6R 38.113
15 10 N. CALERO Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'20.910
16 12 A. MURLEY Honda CBR600RR 1'35.014
RET 16 J. CLUZEL Yamaha YZF R6 1 Lap
RET 34 J. ITURRIOZ Kawasaki ZX-6R 1 Lap
RET 51 G. VAN STRAALEN Kawasaki ZX-6R 4 Laps
RET 111 K. SMITH Honda CBR600RR 8 Laps
RET 81 L. STAPLEFORD Yamaha YZF R6 10 Laps
RET 78 H. OKUBO Kawasaki ZX-6R  
RET 49 S. HORNSEY Triumph Daytona 675  
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Round Number: 
13
2018
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Total votes: 86

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Comments

I wish World SBK produced action like that... Great to see the two top championships rivals battling it out to the end taking no quarter!

**One minor correction to the end of your story: Cluzel actually remounted and crashed a second time later in the lap, which is when he seemingly injured his foot.

Another Great article as always!! Thank you.

Total votes: 13

There was a lot going on and I did indeed miss that. Was it turn fifteen?

Total votes: 14

... it all go so wrong, in so many ways for a rider in one single race. I feel for Cluzel, that was brutal. The completely unnecessary highside after remounting from the initial lowside, ouch.

Total votes: 11

I guess Cluzel remounted in case he could get the needed 5 points if Corteze fell ?
Cluzel broke bones, so did Luke Stapelford and another WSS rider :O(
Guess that's why they didn't let the WSBK race 2 go ahead ?

Total votes: 8