ESS riders get in on the action and home hero hits the podium
Reigning Champion Kenan Sofuoglu took a commanding victory at MotorLand as the FIM Europe Supersport Cup riders joined the WorldSSP grid for the first European race of the season, with 7 nationalities in the first 8 positions as the flag dropped at the end of the race. Turkish Puccetti rider Sofuoglu cut the Championship lead of his Swiss teammate Randy Krummenacher as fellow contender Jules Cluzel struggled slightly to find pace, crossing the line in P4 just behind home rider Nico Terol, who gained his first podium in WorldSSP.
Pole sitter Kenan Sofuoglu got away in the lead, with Honda rider PJ Jacobsen his closest immediate challenger after a great start for the American. He then attacked for the lead after Sofuoglu ran wide, unfortunately losing the front and sliding early out of the race.
A high rate of attrition in the first few laps saw Roberto Rolfo first forced to leave his 11th place grid spot before the getaway, before a multi-rider incident at Turn 1 saw debris litter the run off area. Wagner, Licciardi, Rea and Orellana all found themselves suffering the same fate as Jacobsen. MV Agusta rider Lorenzo Zanetti was then unfortunately forced to pull off the circuit with a technical problem, as Sofuoglu began to pull away in the lead ahead of Cluzel, Krummenacher and Baldolini. The number 25 of the Italian then pulled off the racing line along the start-finish straight as a plume of smoke from the back of his MV Agusta announced an early end to his race.
San Carlo Team Italia riders Bassani and Zaccone were the key players from the new FIM Europe Supersport Class as they challenged the regulars in the top 5, with Schmidt Racing’s local rider and former 125 Champion Nico Terol getting past both and able to get himself into podium contention before pulling away to find a margin to breathe, crossing the line for his first rostrum of the year.
Malaysian rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin, who had begun the race from 17th after a problem with the foot rest on his Orelac Racing VerdNatura machine in Tissot-Superpole, made progress up into the top 5 before finally crossing the line in 8th for a great haul of points, with teammate Nacho Calero also coming home in the points.
Randy Krummenacher retains his points lead in WorldSSP after MotorLand, with the Swiss rider adding another 20 and forcing teammate Sofuoglu to play catch up. The action will get underway again in two weeks in Assen as Cluzel and Jacobsen look to bounce back and Sofuoglu looks to keep cutting that gap.