Explore the stunning action fans were treated to in the inaugural season
Anticipation filled the air at MotorLand Aragon as the stage was set for the first ever WorldSSP300 race, with the new series introduced for 2017 as another stepping stone into the WorldSBK paddock. An incredible season followed, and fans were treated to a season of impressive racing, which culminated in Marc Garcia (Halcourier Racing) crowned World Champion in the final round of the season. We take a look back over the season’s highlights.
Beginning the season in Northern Spain, 37 riders lined up on the grid at MotorLand Aragon for the championship opener as the front runners were set to be revealed. Debuting at the undulating and sweeping 5.07km circuit, for some youngsters it was their first ever racing appearance but this didn’t alter the quality of racing we were treated to. Coming down to the final lap, Scott Deroue (MTM HS Kawasaki) crossed the line as the victor ahead of Spaniards Daniel Valle (Halcourier Racing) and Mika Perez (WILSport Racedays) with the top four split by less than a second.
Heading to TT Circuit Assen, home favourite Deroue performed a heroic race as he battled against an injury, and race two went down to a final lap thriller once more between 11 riders in front of the passionate Dutch fans. Heading into the infamous Gert Timmer chicane, Deroue secured the victory ahead of Wild Card Glenn van Straalen (Vos – TKR Racing) with Alfonso Coppola (SK Racing) making his debut with the Prosecco DOC.
The Spanish armada invaded the WorldSSP300 podium as the series hit Italy, tackling the tight and twisty Imola Circuit. Despite handling red flags throughout the dramatic Sunday, Coppola was hunting for home glory, and was leading the pack on his YZF-R3 for the majority of the race. However he was unable to hold off Marc Garcia (Halcourier Racing) on the final lap, and the Spaniard secured his debut victory of the season ahead of Coppola and Ukrainian Mykyta Kalinin (Team MOTOXRACING).
Finding their feet in the new class by the time the circus rolled up to Donington Park for the Pata UK Round, the battle was on and thoughts were already beginning to turn to the world championship standings – which Deroue led by 14 points ahead of round four. Despite an incredible race around the fast and flowing British circuit, the result was altered post race as original winner Coppola was disqualified, which meant Perez took his debut victory of the season ahead of Garcia whilst Deroue made his return to the podium.
Spaniard Perez began to build his momentum as he took his second victory around Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, using the power of his Honda CBR500R down the home straight to secure victory under the scorching summer skies. Whilst the Italian fans had something to shout about as Armando Pontone (IODARacing) and Alfonso Coppola completed the podium, with the battle sizzling down to the final corners of the vast and varied circuit. Heading into the summer break, Deroue was clinging onto his championship lead by only three points from Perez, with all left to play for.
Never far away from drama, as the WorldSSP300 action returned at the German circuit of Lausitzring, the championship was blown wide open as MTM HS Kawasaki team-mates Scott Deroue and Chris Taylor and Mika Perez were disqualified from the round, announced post race. In the race itself it was time for Coppola to take his debut victory, as Yamaha locked out the podium with Garcia in second, and Dutch youngster Robert Schotman (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP300 Team) secured a podium for the first time in the class. Following the disqualifications, Garcia led the championship by three points ahead of Coppola as the series left Germany.
History was made as the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship made its return to the Portuguese circuit of Portimao, with Ana Carrasco (ETG Racing) putting on a phenomenal performance to take her debut victory, as well as becoming the first female to win a world championship race. Showing steely grit and determination throughout the 11 lap race, the Spanish rider beat Coppola and Garcia to the line and it was clear to see the delight her rivals felt for her post race. With the championship battle now down to one point, the series intensified with two rounds remaining.
Alfonso Coppola had the upper hand heading into the penultimate round of the season, as the Italian was in with the opportunity of sealing the World Championship title at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours. But main rival Marc Garcia wasn’t going down without a fight, and he took the race victory in France ahead of Coppola, meaning the title battle went down to the wire in the final round. With all to play for in France, Garcia rode a mature race and took hold of the lead, but in true WorldSSP300 style he had to give his all until he crossed the line, with Coppola right on his tail.
The season finale at Circuito de Jerez was a weekend that will go down in history as the first WorldSSP300 champion was crowned, following an intense race. As the head to head battle between Coppola and Garcia was the main talking point, one event rider Galang Hendra (Team MOTOXRACING) took the series by storm as he secured a stunning victory and became the first Indonesian rider to take a world championship race win. Further down the field, fans could barely keep up with the championship standings as Coppola and Garcia were giving it their all on the Yamaha R3 machines, and the champion was changing lap by lap. Italian Coppola gave his all and took third position in the race, but this was not enough to take the title and Garcia was crowned 2017 World Champion by just one point from fourth position in the race.
Review and enjoy all the remarkable racing action we have been treated to throughout 2017 with the WorldSSP300 debut season which is all available on the WorldSBK VideoPass.