A pivotal Portimao has seen the grid form for the first WorldSSP300 encounter
The 2021 FIM Supersport 300 World Championship is up for grabs this weekend with the title on the line at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve. The Motul Portuguese Round at Portimao is the final round of the WorldSSP300 season, with teammates Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) and defending Champion Jeffrey Buis going head-to-head. Following a Red Flag for safety conditions at the start of the session, Huertas came out on top for back-to-back poles, whilst Buis took fifth.
With the session getting underway with more consistency for the riders following the Red Flag, the times came in and Iñigo Iglesias (SMW Racing) was the first rider to hit the top spots and set the fastest laps of the session. Meikon Kawakami (AD78 Team Brasil by MS Racing) was initially up inside the top three with Jeffrey Buis also in contention. With the final ten minutes beckoning, Adrian Huertas was outside the top 40 without a reflective lap time. However, on his first flying lap, the Championship leader blasted up the order to provisional pole. Daniel Mogeda (Team#109 Kawasaki) suffered a crash at Turn 3 but was OK. Having been fastest on Friday in the Free Practice sessions, Tom Booth-Amos (Fusport – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki) was only 19th.
FRONT ROW: Huertas’ dream start
As the session came to a close, it was a frantic finish. Adrian Huertas held on to his pole position despite suffering a Turn 5 run-off, making it back-to-back pole positions and the third of his career. Huertas’ pole gives him the perfect shot at the title, but he’ll need to keep out of trouble on the opening lap. Barcelona pole-sitter and Jerez double podium finisher Iñigo Iglesias took second place, making it four consecutive top five Superpole results. Completing the front row was the rider in form Bahattin Sofuoglu (Biblion Yamaha Motoxracing), with the Turk looking at building on his run of four podiums in the last four races, which consists of two wins.
PODIUM FIGHT: the ones on the edge of the top three
Leading the charge from the second row, Ton Kawakami (AD78 Team Brasil by MS Racing) made his Superpole session count as he looks to finish a race for the first time since his Catalunya Race 1 podium. Fifth place and improving his lap time late on was Jeffrey Buis, as he goes in search of trying to take the title fight to Sunday afternoon. The Dutchman was over half a second off his Championship-leading teammate at the top but will be there come the race. There was a third MTM Kawasaki inside the top six, as Yuta Okaya took sixth at the circuit where he was the pole-sitter in 2020.
From row three, Oliver Konig (Movisio by MIE) was back on some sort of form as he took seventh place at Portimao, ahead of Meikon Kawakami (AD78 Team Brasil by MS Racing), with the Brazilian joining his teammate inside the top ten. Victor Steeman (Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team) completed the third row to make it three manufacturers inside the top nine, whilst Alfonso Coppola (Team Trasimeno) was tenth.
OUTSIDE THE TOP 10: big names down field
Further down the field, Tom Booth Amos could only manage 13th, meaning he will have his work cut-out despite being fastest on Friday. Uruguayan sensation Facundo Llambias (Machado CAME SBK) was only 18th after showing strongly on Friday, although he was held up by traffic on his fast laps. Samuele Di Sora (Leader Team Flembbo), who is in contention for third in the title race overall was only 19th, whilst Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki Provec WorldSSP300) was 22nd.
Top six after WorldSSP300 Superpole, full results here:
1. Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) 1’.55.466s
2. Iñigo Iglesias (SMW Racing) +0.171s
3. Bahattin Sofuoglu (Biblion Yamaha Motoxracing) +0.230s
4. Ton Kawakami (AD78 Team Brasil by MS Racing) +0.424s
5. Jeffrey Buis (MTM Kawasaki) +0.583s
6. Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki) +0.710s
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