Cortese slid out at turn five, accidentally taking out his main rival for the title with him
The FIM Supersport World Championship returned to action in incredible fashion at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve. In a race full of twists and turns, the first came very early on when championship leader Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) slipped while trying to overtake Jules Cluzel (NRT), second in the standings, leaving both men on the floor.
The pair had previously clashed at several different rounds of 2018, providing some of the most enthralling moments of the championship. This however was an outcome that neither man was expecting – or hoped for.
Cortese was quick to apologise after the race for the unfortunate accident: “I want to say sorry to Jules and his team because I really didn’t want to make him crash today. When I overtook him, I was already nearly past when I lost the front. Unfortunately, I hit him, and he crashed. It’s really not my intention to make someone crash during a race, I just wanted to overtake him because I saw that Lucas was very fast, I just wanted to follow him”.
There was no consoling Cluzel at the end of the race, however. The Frenchman shared his thoughts on the incident, a big setback to his title aspirations: “What can I say? I made a really strong start, I wanted to just do my best. At turn five Sandro passed me. I felt like he was too late and that he might go wide, but he crashed, and I couldn’t do anything. It was something like 5-10 centimetres that meant that I couldn’t make my turn. I was unlucky”.
The Frenchman was the unluckier of the pair, as Cortese did manage to get his bike back running and cross the line in fifth position after an amazing comeback. With Cluzel now 16 points down, he prefers to just focus on the next race at his home country: “I want to enjoy, that’s all I have in my mind. I don’t want to think about the championship, I haven’t really thought about the championship from the beginning of the season”.
On the championship fight, Cortese adds: “We’ve been really lucky here. I leave with a 16-point lead, but It’s not nice to enjoy it. I want to be fair, I want to win fair”.
Relive the extraordinary WorldSSP race and all the best action from the Nolan Portuguese Round thanks to WorldSBK VideoPass.