A third win in succession would leave the title in a very favourable position for the Spaniard at Brno, an unfamiliar track for many riders
Four down, four to go. With the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship hitting its midway point, the season so far has told a tale of two halves. A pair of opening races with incredibly small margins separating a dozen riders was followed by two absolutely ruthless displays by championship leader Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team). A new page turns at the Acerbis Czech Round: Brno is a circuit unfamiliar to most of the field, where innate talent will represent the clearest path to success. After the Czech Round there will only be one race left until September, so it may be several riders’ last chance for form and momentum to play a part.
At Donington Park, Ana Carrasco wasted little time, leading an unprecedented second consecutive race from lights to flag. Her ‘Grand Slam’ – Tissot Superpole, race win, all laps led and fastest lap – was a first in the WorldSSP300 category, and is unlikely to be repeated any time soon. She is one of the few riders on the grid to have competed before at Brno, racing twice in the Moto3™ category. A third consecutive win would not only be a WorldSSP300 record, but could leave her a step away from taking the championship.
It was also a great weekend for her teammate Dorren Loureiro (DS Junior Team), who sneaked to the front of the chasing pack at the final bends of Donington. The South African’s second place was his best result on a WorldSSP300 bike, a shrewd bit of riding that shot him up to a joint-fourth position in the standings. Still eighteen, the future is bright for Loureiro, but so is the present.
The third rider on the podium at Donington and tied with Loureiro in fourth is Borja Sánchez (ETG Racing), a second consecutive appearance at Parc Fermé following a shaky start to the season. Building on his 2017 experience in the championship, the man from Galicia will be one to watch at Brno, his stock rising every passing lap.
While Carrasco’s win at Donington was a huge moment for the championship, it was amplified by her closest rivals’ performance in Leicestershire. Scott Deroue (Motoport Kawasaki) was in second place much of the race, but after a mistake on the final lap at the Fogarty Esses he lost 5 places and 10 points in a matter of seconds. Deroue actually has a podium appearance at Brno, from his Red Bull Rookies Cup days. Can he put that experience to good use and mount a championship comeback?
As things stand, just one rider is within 25 points of the leader. Luca Grunwald (Freudenberg KTMWorldSSP Team) could only come in tenth last round, but his win at Assen and mostly consistent performances all around keep the German in second position on 51 points. A second victory of the season at Brno could propel Grunwald into the lead at Brno, although first the German will need to improve his Friday and Saturday form: he’s started from the fifth row of the grid in the last two races.
Two podium-less races for the ample field of Dutch riders stands in stark contrast with the early season, when several seemed unbeatable. Koen Meuffels (KTM Fortron Junior Team) took the opening win of the season but is yet to return to the rostrum since. He was back in the top-five at Donington, however, so perhaps a Brno battle featuring the WorldSSP300 rookie is on the cards. His KTM compatriot Glenn van Straalen (KTM Fortron Racing Team) is also on 36 points, and after a UK crash should be back in the mix.
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