Baldassarri fends off van Straalen in red-flagged WorldSSP Race 1
A dramatic race finished after 12 of the scheduled 19 with Lorenzo Baldassarri taking victory to close the gap to just five points in the Championship battle…
Despite being shortened by a red flag, the FIM Supersport World Championship had plenty of action in Race 1 at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours as Lorenzo Baldassarri (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) fended off his rivals to take victory and close the gap to just five points in the Championship standings. Baldassarri was under considerable pressure during the 12-lap race but was able to resist it.
RED FLAG SHORTENS THE FIGHT: Baldassarri just holds on…
There were many changes of position in the early stages of the race, but a technical issue for polesitter Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing) allowed Baldassarri to take the lead of the race, where he faced considerable pressure from Dutch rider Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team). The Dutch rider attempted to pass Baldassarri into Turn 5 on numerous occasions but was unable to pass, with Baldassarri claiming his fourth WorldSSP victory and his third straight win, while it was also Yamaha’s 130th win and Italy’s 40th.
Baldassarri claimed victory as he was leading when the red flag was shown on Lap 13 of 19, just passing the two-thirds distance meaning the race was not restarted but full points were awarded, with van Straalen in second and Championship leader Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) in third place. With Baldassarri first and Aegerter third, the gap between the two is now just five points. It also means Yamaha have now recorded a podium lockout for the 25th time in WorldSSP, and only the second time this season, while Baldassarri and Aegerter have shared a podium ten times; half the record set by Jules Cluzel and Kenan Sofuoglu. The red flag was shown following a Turn 5 incident between Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Kyle Smith (VFT Racing), with Sofuoglu taken to the medical centre for a check-up following the crash. Sofuoglu will be transported to Nevers Hospital for further assessment, after being diagnosed with a pelvis, right thigh, right elbow and chest injuries.
FIGHTING AT THE FRONT: missing out on a podium
Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was able to fight towards the front of the field in the early stages of the race but dropped down to fourth before the end of the race, finishing less than a second clear of teammate Yari Montella. Montella was able to battle back through the field to claim fifth place, ahead of Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) in sixth place. Both Oncu and Montella were fighting in the lead group in the early stages but found themselves dropping back, but were still able to take a double top-five finish for the team.
COMPLETING THE TOP TEN: strong results throughout
Wildcard Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) was another who fought back to claim seventh place, finishing ahead of Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) in eighth, with Huertas recording his eighth top-ten finish of his rookie campaign ahead of Oli Bayliss (BARNI Spark Racing Team) in ninth. French rider Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) rounded out the top ten, ahead of Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) with the Italian rookie losing ground at the start of the race and.
FINISHING IN THE POINTS: hoping to move forward on Sunday
Bulega led fellow Italian rider and Ducati stablemate Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura WorldSSP= in 12th place, with Leonardo Taccini (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) in 14th place; his fourth points-scoring finish in the last five races. Estonian rider Hannes Soomer (Dynavolt Triumph) was the highest-placed Triumph rider in the field with 15th place, as he finished ahead of teammate Stefano Manzi in 16th.
TO NOTE: talking points from Race 1
Unai Orradre (MS Racing Yamaha WorldSSP) was the first retirement of the race when he brought his bike into the pits on Lap 2. He was joined just before the halfway stage by polesitter Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing) with the Italian having a technical issue while leading the race on Lap 7. Ben Currie (Motozoo Racing by Puccetti) was the third retirement when he had a Turn 13 crash on Lap 10.
The top six following WorldSSP Race 1, full results here:
1 Lorenzo Baldassarri (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team)
2. Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) +0.219s
3. Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +0.669s
4. Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) +2.775s
5. Yari Montella (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
6. Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Reparto Corse)
Fastest Lap – Dominique Aegerter, Yamaha – 1’40.876s (New Lap Record)
Watch more stunning action from France from 09:00 Local Time (GMT+2) on Sunday using the WorldSBK VideoPass!