Mahias edges out title contenders with sixth pole of 2018

Friday, 26 October 2018 15:28 GMT

Frenchman will share the front row at Losail with Cortese and Cluzel

Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) has taken the final Tissot Superpole of 2018 with a record lap of 2’00.461 around Losail International Circuit, as the FIM Supersport World Championship battle heads into its final day. The Frenchman was unmatchable around the Qatar circuit and will head into Saturday alongside the two title contenders, as Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) and Jules Cluzel (NRT) complete the front row in second and third.

Separated by just five points in the standings, both men headed out onto the Losail tarmac knowing that whoever wins the race tomorrow will also take the title. The competitiveness was apparent right from the get-go, with Cortese’s first lap only four thousandths of a second faster the Cluzel’s. However, both men were quickly surpassed by the 2017 Champion, who has introduced himself into the championship equation.

That didn’t change in the final minutes of qualifying, with a confident Mahias claiming pole despite Cortese’s best efforts, with the German finishing 0.149 seconds behind. Cluzel finished third and a whole four tenths behind his championship rival,and knowing that even a reversal of their positions in tomorrow’s race would not be enough to claim the title if his countryman remains ahead.

Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing) was fourth fastest at the end of Superpole 2, in his best qualifying performance this season, particularly since making the change to Yamaha machinery. He is joined on the second row by Corentin Perolari (GMT94 YAMAHA) in fifth and Kyle Smith (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) in sixth position, the first non-Yamaha rider.

Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) will start from seventh after a disappointing qualifying session – the first time since Donington Park that he finds himself confined to the third row of the grid. Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) was eighth fastest, with Thomas Gradinger (NRT) in ninth place. Hector Barbera (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) completes the top ten after making it into Superpole 2 for the first time.

It’s set to be an all-out dogfight on Saturday! Can Cortese or Cluzel claim victory and with it the title in Qatar? Find out tomorrow from 17:30 local time (14:30 GMT) live thanks to WorldSBK VideoPass.