Yuta Okaya claimed his first WorldSSP300 victory in Race 2 with his three teammates finishing directly behind him
The MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT team made FIM Supersport 300 World Championship history during Race 2 for the Acerbis Catalunya Round at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as it became the first team in WorldSSP300 to secure a podium lockout with the race victory going to Yuta Okaya; Okaya becoming the first rider from Japan to win in WorldSSP300 and the third rider from MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT to win in 2020.
Okaya had qualified in second place in the Tissot Superpole session as he showed strong pace over one lap to start on the front row. The 21-year-old from Tokyo used his front row starting position to fight at the front and secured his first victory with a move at the final corner on teammate Scott Deroue; Deroue finishing in second place with Jeffrey Buis and Koen Meuffels in third and fourth respectively.
Discussing his historic victory, Okaya said: “Really happy because I liked this circuit from Free Practice 1, I had a good feeling from FP1. I had a good confidence for the race, but the race was in difficult conditions for me because track temperatures were high. I got a little bit lucky but finally I was able to overtake Scott in the last corner so happy with the first win.”
Deroue’s weekend was impacted by weather conditions throughout the weekend with the Dutch rider not able to be inside the top 30 to automatically progress to the two races. Deroue progressed through the Last Chance Race on Saturday before finishing in 13th in Race 1. He started Race 2 from 29th place and was in the middle of the pack after just one lap, before progressing to the front of the field to secure a sensational podium.
Reacting after battling his way through the field, Deroue said: “I didn’t have a good start, but my first lap was quite good, I was immediately around 15th, I’m not sure. Then it was quite difficult to get to the front. I did three or four laps but in the end I was there. It was a difficult race; the temperature was high and there wasn’t much grip, so it was quite difficult. In the end, the last lap I think we were lucky to just not crash and to finish second is awesome.”
Second place meant Deroue gained ground on teammate and Championship leader Buis with Buis finishing in third place. 18-year-old Buis had qualified in 13th place following Superpole but, like Deroue, was able to fight at the front of the field during the 10-lap race; albeit unable to get ahead of Deroue. It means Buis leads the Championship by 16 points ahead of his teammate.
Buis said: “I am very happy with the results this weekend. The Catalunya circuit was new to me. I could have done more in qualifying, but I set my fastest lap just after the flag. In the first race, we made the most of it on a drying track. The second race was a good fight. I was a bit lucky on the last lap, but you need that sometimes. Very happy with the podium and the points for the Championship!”
Meuffels, who finished just 0.078s away from Buis, added: “I enjoyed the races this weekend and that was important after all the bad luck we had in previous races. Riding on a drying track is always a challenge, but I was happy with eighth place. The second race was a great team success, although I would have liked to be on the podium myself. I was just 0.078 seconds short for third place, but we can be very satisfied with this weekend!”
You can follow the thrilling final two rounds of the WorldSSP300 2020 season with the WorldSBK VideoPass!