It was a close-run battle in WorldSSP300 as Marc Garcia just beat Samuel Di Sora by just 0.041s after a drag race to the line
The FIM Supersport 300 World Championship kicked off racing action at the Circuito Estoril as Marc Garcia (Yamaha MS Racing) claimed his second win of the season, and with it the Championship lead, after a race-long battle with Samuel Di Sora (Leader Team Flembbo) in Race 1 for the Estoril Round. After the duo broke away from the chasing pack, the battle for the race win came down to the run to the line on the last lap with just 0.041s separating the duo at the end of the 12-lap race.
THE TOP TWO BREAK AWAY: working together to gain time
Both Garcia and Di Sora were able to break away from the chasing pack as they worked together, with Di Sora using the slipstream to pass Garcia down the start and finish straight before Garcia used the slipstream on the run down to Turn 1 and outbraking the Frenchman on the inside. This was a pattern that continued until the final two laps, when Di Sora made a move into Turn 6 on Lap 11 of 12. Garcia responded into Turn 1 on the final lap before Di Sora made an overtake into Turn 3 for the lead of the race. Despite pulling away in the final sector, Garcia used the slipstream from Di Sora to take victory by just 0.041s at the end of the 12-lap contest.
Victory for Garcia means he now has six WorldSSP300 victories, putting him level with Scott Deroue and Adrian Huertas at third in the all-time list in the class as well as claiming Yamaha’s 15th win and Spain’s 28th win in WorldSSP300. Di Sora’s podium gave Kawasaki their 120th podium in WorldSSP300 and him his ninth, putting him level with 2019 Champion Manuel Gonzalez.
INCREDIBLE BATTLE FOR THE PODIUM: hard to call
Polesitter Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki) claimed third place after his incredible Superpole performance where he broke the lap record, ensuring he claimed his seventh WorldSSP300 podium. Okaya had a margin of more than one second to Victor Steeman (MTM Kawasaki) who finished in fourth place, who had to fend off plenty of riders for fourth place.
Bruno Ieraci (Prodina Racing WorldSSP300) was fifth but just 0.034s behind Steeman, while Alvaro Diaz (Arco Motor University Team), who had been fighting for the lead at around halfway point, a further 0.006s back. Race 1 was yet another epic comeback for Lennox Lehmann (Freudenberg KTM – Paligo Racing) as he battles from 23rd to claim seventh place. Rookie Matteo Vannucci (AG Motorsport Italia Yamaha) took eighth place as he recorded another top-eight finish in his rookie campaign.
Both Ruben Bijman (MTM Kawasaki) and Dirk Geiger (Fusport – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki) had sanctions in the race, with Bijman taking a double Long Lap Penalty and Geiger a Long Lap Penalty for slow riding, but were able to claim ninth and tenth respectively, with Geiger just 0.039s back from Bijman.
TAKING HOME POINTS: completing the top 15
Alex Millan (SMW Racing), returning from injury, finished just 0.012s outside the top ten and came home in 11th place, ahead of Kevin Sabatucci (Kawasaki GP Project) who had a trip through the gravel on Lap 5 after being caught up in an accident involving Inigo Iglesias (SMW Racing) at Turn 2, dropping the Italian down the order. Alessandro Zanca (Kawasaki GP Project) equalled his best WorldSSP300 finish with 13th place, just a tenth behind his teammate, with Marco Gaggi (Vinales Racing Team) in 14th and wildcard Dinis Borges (Rame Moto Racing) securing the final point in his wildcard appearance, fending off Fenton Seabright (Vinales Racing Team) by just 0.045s.
HOUSEKEEPING FROM RACE 1: drama from the off
Enzo Valentim Garcia (AD78 Team Brasil by MS Racing) started last after being unable to set a lap time in Superpole and he battled his way up to 18th place, although was running inside the top ten at one point; as the Brazilian rider, standing in for Ton Kawakami, showed his potential after a challenging day. Valentim Garcia has in 2022 been competing in the Yamaha R3 European Cup, claiming three podiums and two wins in four races so far.
Tomas Alonso (Quaresma Racing Team) and Yeray Saiz Marquez (Accolade Smrz Racing) collided at Turn 1, with Alonso retiring from the race following the crash, with Saiz Marquez able to re-join the race and finish in 29th place. Inigo Iglesias (SMW Racing) crashed out of the race on Lap 5 after a Turn 2 crash. Harry Khouri (Team#109 Kawasaki) was a late retirement from the race after he suffered from a technical issue late on in the race.
The top six following WorldSSP300 Race 1, full results here:
1. Marc Garcia (Yamaha MS Racing)
2. Samuel Di Sora (Leader Team Flembbo) +0.041s
3. Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki) +1.418s
4. Victor Steeman (MTM Kawasaki) +2.951s
5. Bruno Ieraci (Prodina Racing WorldSSP300) +2.985s
6. Alvaro Diaz (Arco Motor University Team) +2.991s
Fastest lap: Samuel Di Sora, Kawasaki: 1’50.569
Watch WorldSSP300 on Sunday starting from Warm Up at 09:50 Local Time (GMT+1) live and uninterrupted using the WorldSBK VideoPass!