The Yamaha ParkinGo Team rider claimed his best WorldSSP result to date and outlined why he felt it was his “best race” in WorldSSP
Sixth overall, two fifth places in the first round of the season, fourth place in Race 2 at the Circuito Estoril, Manuel Gonzalez's (Yamaha ParkinGo Team) progression at the start of the FIM Supersport World Championship has been nothing short of eye-catching as he continues his impressive consistency with better-than-ever results in the class.
In 2019, Gonzalez made history by becoming the youngest World Champion in any road racing motorcycle competition, wrapping up the title just a month after turning 17. He moved up to WorldSSP for 2020 and showed impressive consistency by finishing all 15 races, all between sixth and tenth place. His consistency has continued into 2021, taking three top-five finishes out of four and his best WorldSSP result with fourth last time out. The next objective for the Madrid-born teenager will be to claim his first WorldSSP podium.
He came close to getting it at Estoril last Sunday, when he fought in the leading group from mid-race, after starting from tenth on the grid. His battle with rivals such as Steven Odeendal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team), Phillip Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha), Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) or Raffaele de Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura), left him at the gates of the podium and wanting more in the next appointments on the calendar.
“I'd say it was my best race in this category," explains the 18-year-old. “I started very far back, and I knew it would be very difficult to get to the top, but I also had a pretty good pace, especially at the end, because I usually save tyres quite well. At the beginning of the race, I suffered a lot because the setting was not very well adjusted for the weight with a full tank and the bike started to skid very soon, so I decided to stay in the group and recover during the last laps. I was overtaking, especially in the last six or seven laps, and regaining places up to fourth position, very close to third. I saw it was possible, but after the chicane, Oettl gained a few meters on me and I couldn't catch him. With one more lap, I might have been able to get third or second place.”
Can Gonzalez see the first victory or the first podium getting closer? He said: “The objective with the change to Yamaha was to have a motorcycle to be able to fight for the World Championship and I think that for the next race we will be able to have it perfect and fight for the podiums. We are close. And if it can, we will fight to win. I don't know if it will be in Misano… I have done tests there and I have raced in the Italian championship, so, if it is not achieved there, at least I know that it is a circuit where I can be fighting again. It will arrive when it has to arrive, there is no rush, but what I do have for sure is that when it arrives it will be there forever.”
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