A Red Flag brought Race 1 of WorldSSP to an early conclusion but not before Andy Verdoïa took the lead by not changing tyres
Andy Verdoïa (bLU cRU WorldSSP by MS Racing) secured his first FIM Supersport World Championship victory in dramatic fashion in Race 1 when a mid-race downpour changed the complexion of the race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya at the Acerbis Catalunya Round. Verdoïa was able to master the conditions to stay out on slick tyres on an ever-increasingly wet track to lead the race when the Red Flag was shown.
It meant Verdoïa became the first rider in WorldSSP in 2020 to deny Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) victory, but the Frenchman also broke other records as he claimed the stunning victory. At the age of 17 years old, Verdoïa became the youngest ever rider to win a race in WorldSSP; beating the record set by fellow French rider Yoann Tiberio in 2006.
With victory in Race 1, Verdoïa becomes the first rider who has graduated from the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship to claim a victory in WorldSSP as he put his name in the history books. Verdoïa’s victory came after a heavy shower soaked the track but the 17-year-old stayed calm on slick tyres to keep the bike on the track, leading the race when the Red Flag was shown at two-thirds distance to be declared the winner.
Reacting after Race 1, Verdoïa said: “I can’t believe it. At the beginning there was a dry race. It was quite sunny. But after about eight laps, something like that, I saw that it was a bit rainy. I thought I’d continue following the group and we see what happens. Two laps later it was raining so much. I braked and the guys overtook me, and I thought “maybe there can be a Red Flag, better to overtake them and score some points”. I continued and I saw the Red Flag wasn’t there and thought maybe race direction is waiting for two-thirds distance. This was a good decision because I thought I’m in the top 10 and this is very good, but in the end the team say I’m first. I asked for confirmation and they didn’t have it at that point!”
Discussing the dry part of the race, Verdoïa said: “Like always, the beginning of the race was a bit difficult because we don’t have a good feeling with the tyre – with the front tyre, it’s okay, but with the rear tyre it’s not. I was following the riders and at the end of the race I’m always faster than some riders in front, so I tried to stay close to the group and score some points. In the end, the feeling changed very fast.”
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