Swiss rider extended his lead in the title race, but De Rosa and Caricasulo weren’t giving up without a big fight!
The FIM Supersport World Championship saw an intriguing race in the first part of the 16-lap encounter, before a traditional fairing-bashing battle took place in the final part of the race. Eventually, it was Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) who took the win to extend his championship lead at the top of the WorldSSP title race!
Starting well from pole position, 22-year-old Austrian Thomas Gradinger couldn’t fend off a courageous Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) into Turn 1, as the Italian took the lead. For Caricasulo’s teammate, Randy Krummenacher, it was another poor start, which saw Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA) take advantage. One rider who achieved a good start was Raffaele De Rosa (MV AGUSTA Reparto Corse), who, from sixth on the grid, was soon into fifth, ahead of Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and his Japanese teammate, Hikari Okubo.
Caricasulo and Gradinger pulled away, with a 1.7 second gap after just two laps of the MotorLand Aragon circuit. The battle for third saw Randy Krummenacher take advantage of Jules Cluzel at Turn 1 on lap three, and a lap later, it was De Rosa’s turn to pick off the fading Frenchman.
However, with the gaps forming, it was the riders in third and fourth who soon started lapping the faster times, and soon the 1.7s gap soon evaporated, with two back-to-back fastest laps coming from De Rosa on laps six and seven.
Despite Cluzel languishing in an isolated fifth position, the battle raged behind him, with Mahias, Okubo and Corentin Perolari (GMT94 YAMAHA) and Europe Supersport Cup rider, Kyle Smith (Team Pedercini Racing). Smith was able to get as high as sixth before dropping back, with Perolari coming through towards the end.
The battle at the front was now between four bikes and also, with a different race leader. Thomas Gradinger came through and passed Caricasulo at Turn 4, to become the first Austrian rider to lead a WorldSSP race. Austria’s dream of a WorldSSP race winner started to look like it was finally going to come to reality.
With four laps remaining, it was a wild WorldSSP race which saw Gradinger make a mistake at the final corner, dropping from first to fourth. Four riders abreast down the main straight, Caricasulo and De Rosa took over, whilst Krummenacher watched on holding his breath in third. The last lap was set to be a thriller, as De Rosa took the lead when Krummenacher made a mistake at Turn 12. Were we about to see the first non-Yamaha win for the first time in almost a year-and-a-half?
The last lap came around quickly and soon, the gloves were off! Krummenacher passed his teammate at Turn 1 and soon went in pursuit of race leader De Rosa. Gradinger was still in the battle in fourth, but unable to make any passes on the final lap, achieving his joint-best result. Down the back straight and Krummenacher slipstreamed his way through, before slamming his Yamaha down the inside of De Rosa’s MV Agusta. Through the final corner and over the rise to the finish line, Krummenacher took a second win of the season, whilst De Rosa took his first podium of the year, with fellow countryman Federico Caricasulo in third. Gradinger was fourth.
Behind the leading quartet, Jules Cluzel’s damage limitation efforts saw him conclude in fifth position, with teammate Corentin Perolari, who took his best finish of the season. Lucas Mahias finally got the better of his teammate Hikari Okubo for seventh place, whilst Kyle Smith was top ESS rider in ninth. Completing the top ten was Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing), who recovered to tenth after running wide in the early stages.
Completing the points was Peter Sebestyen (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda), who was top Honda in the race after Hannes Soomer (MPM WILSport Racedays) crashed on the final lap. Teammate Jules Danilo was just 0.116s behind him, whilst Federico Fuligni (MV AGUSTA Reparto Corse) was a further 0.314s back. 14th and 15th went to Loris Cresson (Kallio Racing) and Maria Herrera (MS Racing) respectively.
Krummenacher gave Yamaha their 81st WorldSSP win, whilst giving Switzerland their first win on European soil, as well as achieving the nation’s 16th podium – putting them one behind the United States overall, 22 years after the first Swiss rider achieved a podium, with Yves Briguet at Monza, 1997.
Watch the WorldSSP championship battle unfold through the year with the WorldSBK VideoPass!
Top six finishers, full results here
- Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team)
- Raffaele De Rosa (MV AGUSTA Reparto Corse)
- Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team)
- Thomas Gradinger (Kallio Racing)
- Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA)
Corentin Perolari (GMT94 YAMAHA)