Dominique Aegerter and Steven Odendaal engaged in a stunning battle throughout the 20-lap encounter at the Circuito de Navarra
Drama and tension throughout the opening race of the FIM Supersport World Championship’s first visit to the Circuito de Navarra as Championship leader Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) secured a sensational victory for the seventh time this season after a race-long battle with Championship rival Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) at the Pirelli Navarra Round.
UNPREDICTABLE OPENING LAPS
The opening laps of the race were unpredictable as the lead riders exchanged positions consistently. Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) and Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha ParkinGo Team) were the big winners as the lights went out with Spanish rider Gonzalez took the lead of the race from second, while Odendaal moved into second from fourth as Championship leader Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) fell to fifth.
After an impressive Friday and Saturday at Navarra, Simon Jespersen (Kallio Racing) moved into the podium places at the start of the race, challenging Gonzalez for second place in the opening laps after Gonzalez lost out to Odendaal. Gonzalez was able to respond on Lap 6 to re-take the lead in search of his first WorldSSP victory. Aegerter dropped down the order in the opening laps but fought back to be in the lead group on Lap 7 as he worked his way back through the field.
CHAMPIONSHIP PROTAGONISTS GET THEIR ELBOWS OUT…
Aegerter’s fightback meant he was directly behind Odendaal in the middle phase of the race and soon found himself in second, behind Odendaal, as the pair made a move on Gonzalez on Lap 8 of the 20-lap encounter, with the top two in the Championship running as the top two in the race. On Lap 9, Aegerter made an aggressive move at the Turn 15 hairpin that ends the lap, but Odendaal was able to respond on the start-finish straight at the start of Lap 10.
Luca Bernardi (CM Racing) was another who battled his way up through the order including two aggressive moves into Turn 15 and joined the lead group, before an incredible move into the fast right-hander of Turn 1 on Gonzalez to move into third. He tried a similar move through the first two fast right-handers on Aegerter, but the Swiss rider was able to defend into Turn 3. With eight laps to go, Odendaal made a move on Turn 1 on Aegerter before Aegerter responded through Turns 2 and 3 to regain the lead. Aegerter eventually got past Odendaal and went on to claim victory at Navarra with Odendaal in second and Bernardi third; unable to take advantage of the battling duo ahead although he did battle Odendaal for second throughout the final laps.
THE TOP TEN
Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) claimed fourth place in the thrilling encounter with his former teammate, Federico Caricasulo (Biblion Iberica Yamaha Motoxracing) in fifth, his joint-best result since his WorldSSP campaign. Just half-a-second separated Cluzel and Caricasulo at the end of the race, with Randy Krummenacher (EAB Racing Team) coming home in sixth place.
German Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) finished seventh after battling his way up through the field, finishing a second clear of teammate Can Öncü after the Turkish star battled his way up from 24th to eighth in Race 1. Jespersen lost ground as the race progressed but still claimed a stunning ninth place ahead of Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Corse Clienti); Jespersen taking the first top-ten finish for a Danish rider in WorldSSP since 2011 when Robbin Harms at Aragon.
COMPLETING THE POINTS
Indonesian Galang Hendra Pratama (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) came home in 11th place after a strong Race 1 at the Circuito de Navarra ahead of the returning Hikari Okubo (G.A.P. MOTOZOO Racing by Puccetti) in 12th; Okubo making his WorldSSP debut in place of the injured Shogo Kawasaki. David Sanchis Martinez (WRP Wepol Racing) was 13th on his WorldSSP debut with Vertti Takala (Kallio Racing) and Christoffer Bergman (Wojcik Racing Team) completing the points.
Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) had a crash but was able to re-join the race, although he brought his Kawasaki machine into the pits later on. Eduardo Montero Huerta (DK Motorsport), Oscar Gutierrez Iglesias (Yamaha MS Racing) and Michel Fabrizio (G.A.P. MOTOZOO Racing by Puccetti) also retired from the race. Gonzalez was taken to the medical centre following the crash. Peter Sebestyen (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) had an off in the closing stages of the race and brought his Yamaha machine back into the pitlane.
Gonzalez was out of the race after he crashed at Turn 9 after being shuffled out of the lead group, bringing to an end his record-equally run of points-scoring finishes of 25 consecutive WorldSSP races in the points, a record that stretched back to his WorldSSP debut at Phillip Island in 2020. Marcel Brenner (VFT Racing) was a late retirement after he had an incident at Turn 13 after a strong showing in the race, running inside the top ten.
The top six following Race 1 at Navarra, full results here:
1 Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha)
2. Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) +4.425s
3. Luca Bernardi (CM Racing) +5.074s
4. Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) +6.124s
5. Federico Caricasulo (Biblion Iberica Yamaha Motoxracing) +6.674s
6. Randy Krummenacher (EAB Racing Team) +10.729s
Fastest lap Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) 1’41.536s
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