The 2019 WorldSSP300 Champion had been on course to take advantage of others’ misfortune, but a late-race error cost him at least a podium
Sunday’s Race 2 for the FIM Supersport World Championship left some riders asking ‘what if?’ including Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha ParkinGo Team), who made a late error at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” that cost him his first podium in WorldSSP, and potentially a win, at the Pirelli Made in Italy Emilia-Romagna Round.
As the restarted race made its way to a thrilling conclusion after a 12-lap race following an earlier Red Flag, race leader Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. Yamaha WorldSSP Team) was given a Long Lap Penalty, converted into a three-second time penalty for not taking it, with Gonzalez running second behind Odendaal as late as Lap 10.
However, on Lap 10, the Spanish rider made a mistake and allowed both Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha), Luca Bernardi (CM Racing) and Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) through, demoting Gonzalez down to fifth place as they crossed the line, although he was promoted to fourth as he finished within three seconds of Odendaal. It meant Aegerter claimed his third consecutive victory while Gonzalez missed out on his first podium and potentially win.
“On Sunday, frankly we expected a little more,” said Gonzalez. “But in the fight with Odendaal I lost both the podium and the chance to win the race. We will certainly do better at TT Circuit Assen because with the team we have found the right way to be competitive and stay with the best.”
"I finished Race 2 with immense rage," acknowledges Gonzalez. “It is not that we have touched the podium, it is that the victory has slipped through our fingers! One lap from the end I only had Odendaal in front of me and when I slowed down on the back straight, I got out of gear and I went long... in the end I was fourth and I set the fastest lap of the race. It's a shame, because we were really fast in this race. The team has given me a bike ready to be more competitive when braking. We are going home aware of being really competitive in a Championship where the level is very high.”
The 18-year-old added: “On the other hand, we have to be very happy because we are not arriving, I think we have already arrived. My team is giving everything for me and I know that we are going to enjoy many triumphs together.” Gonzalez left Misano maintaining sixth place overall, just one point behind Cluzel in fifth and 55 points away from Championship leader Aegerter.
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