With the top ten covered by less than a second, it promises to be a huge fight in the WorldSSP300 races at Magny-Cours
The 2021 FIM Supersport 300 World Championship took to the circuit for the first time on Saturday at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours for the Motul French Round. The Tissot Superpole session provided plenty of action and was crucial in order to grab important starting slots for what is set to be a closely fought contest. Making the most of the 20-minute session, Championship leader Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) snatched his first ever pole position, fending off his title rivals who join him on the front row of the grid for the two races.
DRAMA FROM THE START: close action and crashes
It was a crazy opening few minutes in World Supersport 300, with almost the entire field on track within a very small portion of the track. With plenty of jockeying for space and aiming for the ideal track position and finding a balance between getting a slipstream advantage and enough room on the circuit to take your own lines and not be held up. After the first ten minutes, it was Adrian Huertas who was on top, whilst there were numerous incidents behind.
Vincente Perez Selfa (Machado CAME SBK) crashed on the exit of Turn 5, having hit the back of Alex Negrier (Alexy Moto Racing) – thankfully, he was OK. More drama happened at Turn 5 as Ton Kawakami (AD78 Team Brasil by MS Racing) crashed, along with Antonio Frappola (Chiodo Moto Racing). Kawakami did get back on but was then black-flagged for not coming back into pitlane, meaning he lost all of his laps. Then, there was a technical issue for Yeray Saiz Marquez (Viñales Racing Team), and with the smoking coming from the back of his bike, he crashed at Turn 7. Yellow flags were also out for Johan Gimbert (OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing) who crashed at Turn 1.
THE FRONT TWO ROWS: heavyweight title duel in prospect
Adrian Huertas was fastest on Friday by more than eight tenths of a second and come Saturday’s Superpole and he was able to take pole position, a career-first for the Spaniard. Second in the Championship and resurgent on Friday afternoon, Tom Booth-Amos (Fusport – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki) was in fine form, as he takes up second place, whilst defending Champion Jeffrey Buis (MTM Kawasaki) completed the front row and having won the most recent race in the Championship at Most in Race 2, he could well be in the mix moving forward at Magny-Cours.
Leading the second row, fourth-place in the Championship Samuel Di Sora (Leader Team Flembbo), with him being one of the many home-favourites going into racing action, missing out on the front row by less than a tenth. Fifth place went to Inigo Iglesias (SMW Racing), his first top five in Superpole since the season-opening MotorLand Aragon round. Taking his first top six of the season in Superpole, South Africa’s Dorren Loureiro (Fusport – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki) was sixth, the first time he’s had a top six on the grid since Donington Park in 2019.
BEST OF THE REST: notable names headline down field
Heading up the third row on the grid is Jose Luis Perez Gonzalez (Accolade Smrz Racing), with the Spaniard looking in good shape for the races. Gabriele Mastroluca (ProGP Racing) will start in eighth place for his best ever Superpole session, whilst Bahattin Sofuoglu (Biblion Yamaha Motoxracing) takes a fourth consecutive top-nine Superpole result. Japanese star Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki) completes the top ten, but there’s notable stars that are further down the field. Most race winner Victor Steeman (Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team) was 12th, Ana Carrasco (Provec Kawasaki WorldSSP300) only 16th, Koen Meuffels (MTM Kawasaki) in 18th, whilst Most stars Alejandro Carrion (Kawasaki GP Project) could only manage 24th and fellow Most podium finisher Oliver Konig (Accolade Smrz Racing) was just 32nd. Kevin Sabatucci (Kawasaki GP Project) will start both races at Magny-Cours from pitlane, having exceeded his engine allocations.
Top six after Tissot Superpole in WorldSSP300, full results here:
1. Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) 1’52.918s
2. Tom Booth-Amos (Fusport – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki) +0.398s
3. Jeffrey Buis (MTM Kawasaki) +0.492s
4. Samuel Di Sora (Leader Team Flembbo) +0.499s
5. Inigo Iglesias (SMW Racing) +0.610s
6. Dorren Loureiro (Fusport – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki) +0.785s
Race 1 for WorldSSP300 gets underway at 12:45 local time (GMT+2), and you can watch it uninterrupted with the WorldSBK VideoPass!