It was a battle until the very end of the race as Aegerter claimed a stunning victory after his rival crashed while looking to pass the reigning Champion
Race 2 for the FIM Supersport World Championship was decided on the final lap at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours during the Pirelli French Round as reigning Champion Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) claimed a hard-fought victory in France. It was a last-lap battle with Lorenzo Baldassarri (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) but the Italian rider crashed as the final lap came to a close.
DRAMA UNTIL THE END: Aegerter and Baldassarri fight it out
Baldassarri was originally fighting with Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing) for the lead of the race, with Caricasulo running a different tyre strategy to Baldassarri, before he went down on Lap 14 at Turn 13. This allowed Aegerter, who had to fight his way up the field having dropped down in the opening laps, to move into second place and he set his sights on the title challenger.
The pair could not be separated throughout the final laps, with Aegerter initially making his move on Lap 16 with the duo side-by-side throughout. Although Aegerter was able to stay ahead, Baldassarri kept the pressure on and was able to get alongside Aegerter on the short run to Turn 13 but on the outside. As he tried the cutback on Aegerter, he lost the front of his machine and crashed; before re-mounting to take fifth place. The results allowed Aegerter to extend his Championship lead with his 20th win in WorldSSP, becoming the only rider to have two seasons of double-digit wins in the Championship’s history.
EMOTIONAL PODIUM: Cluzel’s last home round ends on the rostrum
Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) was one of the main beneficiaries of other riders having misfortune ahead of him, as he moved up when Caricasulo and Baldassarri crashed. He was running in third place until Aegerter overtook him at Turn 5 on Lap 13, demoting the Frenchman to fourth, but he moved up to third and then second with respective crashes. Cluzel, who has announced his retirement at the end of the season, claimed a third podium in his final home round and takes his tally to 63 for his WorldSSP career and the first since he claimed victory in Indonesia last season.
Aegerter and Cluzel were joined on the podium by Italian rookie Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) who claimed his eighth podium of the season, putting him level with Lorenzo Zanetti, Niki Tuuli and Sandro Cortese. Bulega was almost eight seconds down on race winner Aegerter after having to fight his way up the field throughout the 19-lap race.
FIGHTING BACK: two French riders in the top four
Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) put two French riders in the top four as he gained a mammoth 11 positions during the race, finishing in fourth place and equalling his best WorldSSP result to date. Baldassarri remounted his Yamaha machine to claim fifth place, finishing half-a-second career of Turkish star Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in sixth, with Oncu fighting all race for a place in the top ten. Stefano Manzi (Dynavolt Triumph) was another who had an epic comeback as he battled his way up to seventh place, only three tenths back from Oncu.
COMPLETING THE TOP TEN: mixed emotions
It was a strong showing from Australian rookie Oli Bayliss (BARNI Spark Racing Team), with Bayliss moving up four places at the start of the race into fourth place, before dropping back as the race progressed. He was able to recover to eighth place at the end of the race ahead of Caricasulo, while Yari Montella (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) rounding out the top ten.
TAKING HOME POINTS: scoring in Race 2
Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was 11th, two seconds away from a top-ten place in Race 2, ahead of rookie Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki). Huertas was fighting at the front in the early stages of the race but found himself outside the top ten after the 19-lap race, while he was ahead of Andy Verdoia (GMT94 Yamaha) by just two tenths. Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura WorldSSP) recovered from a Lap 16, Turn 5 crash to take 14th place ahead of Isaac Vinales (D34G Racing) with the Spanish rider taking the final point and finishing as the highest-placed WorldSSP Challenge rider.
TO NOTE FROM RACE 2: the drama kept coming
The first retirement of the race was Hannes Soomer (Dynavolt Triumph) after the Estonian rider crashed on the opening lap of the race at Turn 13. He was able to re-join but a lap later he brought his machine into the pits. Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) was a retirement on Lap 10 after he crashed at Turn 5, with De Rosa going down at the same time in a separate incident but re-joining the race. Leonardo Taccini (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) was forced to retire with a technical issue. It had looked like being a good race for Hungarian rider Peter Sebestyen (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) after he spent a lot of the run running inside the top ten, but a crash at Turn 13 on Lap 16 dropped him down the order. He eventually finished in 20th place.
Kyle Smith (VFT Racing) was given a double Long Lap Penalty after a collision with Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) in Race 1 on Saturday. During Race 2, the British rider was given a ride through penalty for not taking his Long Lap Penalties, while he also had drama at Turn 5 which dropped him down the order.
The top six following WorldSSP Race 2, full results here:
1. Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha)
2. Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) +4.507s
3. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) +7.789s
4. Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) +11.646s
5. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) +18.179s
6. Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) +18.698s
Fastest Lap: Lorenzo Baldassarri, Yamaha – 1’40.547s (New Lap Record)
1. Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) 286 points
2. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) 267
3. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) 168
4. Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) 135
5. Stefano Manzi (Dynavolt Triumph) 117
6. Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) 95
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