The 2019 WorldSSP title fight is a scintillating one and things took dramatic twists and turns under the floodlights of Losail on Thursday night…
The final World Supersport session of the day in Qatar kicked off with much drama, as the Championship battle took another turn. The night sky offered no hiding place for the field as the lights shone down onto the battles on and off track. Leading the way come the conclusion of the opening day was Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA), with a huge advantage over the rest of the field, doing what he needs to do in order to keep his title hopes alive.
There was drama from the off in the 45-minute session, as Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) crashed at Turn 4, running fractionally wide on the exit of the corner and low-siding out. He wasn’t the only crasher in the first third of the session however, as Assen podium finisher Thomas Gradinger (Kallio Racing) tucked the front at the final corner. Moments later, Jaimie van Sikkelerus (MPM WILSport Racedays) ran on at Turn 1 but didn’t topple over – the exact same thing happened to the Dutchman in FP1.
Picking up from where he left off in FP1, Jules Cluzel was right in the mix for the leading positions again. The French rider is looking for his first back-to-back wins since Assen and Imola in 2018, in order to have a chance of claiming WorldSSP glory. With a massive 0.7s margin to his rivals, he is the man to beat after ending day one on top. In the final ten minutes, Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) began to show his pace, finishing second. He’ll be eager to capitalise on the Swiss rider’s bad form of late and pinch the title away from the other side of the garage. Second overall, Caricasulo is in fine form. Continuing to show his promise at the pointy-end of WorldSSP was veteran, Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing). The Italian was as high as second in FP2 and come the end of the day, was up in third.
Coming on leaps and bounds in recent rounds, Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing) was right up the sharp end of things on Friday. The Spaniard took advantage of his track knowledge from his Moto3™ and Moto2™ career and put it to good use to finish day one in fourth. Remounting from his crash in the early stages, Randy Krummenacher was back inside the top five with less than five minutes to go in the session. The Swiss rider was the lowest place of the Championship contenders after the first day of action but that in itself will give him plenty of motivation for Friday and Saturday. Fifth in the end, he has work to do to keep his title lead. Raffaele De Rosa (MV AGUSTA Reparto Corse) was sixth overall, 0.909s off a rampant Cluzel.
Seventh at the close of business on the opening day went to Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), as the Frenchman dropped away a little bit during the flurry of fast laps at the end of the session. Corentin Perolari was looking in good form in Qatar, as he chases down his first WorldSSP podium after achieving a first pole in Argentina. But from South America to the Middle East, Perolari looks poised for another strong weekend and finished in eighth overall. Two-time Losail winner Kyle Smith (Team Pedercini Racing) was ninth, whilst Hungary’s Peter Sebestyen (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) completed the top ten as top Honda.
Top six after day one in WorldSSP, full combined results here!
- Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA) 2’01.518
- Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) +0.742
- Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing) +0.746
- Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing) +0.817
- Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) +0.872
- Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) +0.909
Watch the three-man fight for World Supersport supremacy unfold on Friday and Saturday with the WorldSBK VideoPass!