After an early fight in the race, Garcia broke free to win by more than four seconds in the opening race of the season
The opening race of the 2022 FIM Supersport 300 World Championship was an action-packed and dramatic affair at MotorLand Aragon for the Pirelli Aragon Round, as Marc Garcia (Yamaha MS Racing) opened his account for the 2022 season with a stunning victory by more than four seconds. Garcia was able to take advantage of the battling behind him to open up a gap to the rest of the field to bag the first 25-points haul of the season.
GARCIA BREAKS FREE: Spanish rider claims victory in commanding fashion
Garcia lost out at the start of the race but was soon able to break free from the chasing group as they started battling over second place, with Alvaro Diaz (Arco Motor University Team) and Inigo Iglesias (SMW Racing) fighting over position. Garcia’s victory meant he scored his first victory since Race 2 at Magny-Cours in 2020 to claim his fifth victory in WorldSSP300. Garcia won from pole position and claimed the fastest lap, becoming the first rider to score a pole-fastest lap-win hat-trick since Ana Carrasco at Donington Park in 2018.
Diaz made his move a few laps into the 12-lap race at Turn 8 of the corkscrew, when Iglesias opted to take his Long Lap Penalty given to him for irresponsible riding in FP2. It allowed Garcia to move clear at the front of the field and he extended his gap at the front more than four seconds ahead of Diaz in second place, as Diaz scored his second podium in his short WorldSSP300 career.
INCREDIBLE BATTLE FOR THIRD: nine riders for the final podium spot
The battle for the final podium spot behind Garcia and Diaz with German rider Lennox Lehmann (Freudenberg KTM – Paligo Racing) with the sole KTM rider on the grid taking advantage of the slipstream on the final lap to move into third place after starting from 25th on the grid and claim his first podium in WorldSSP300 and also ensure the first podium without Kawasaki machinery since Magny-Cours in 2017; a run of 48 races that came to an end. Lehmann also became the third youngest rider to stand on the WorldSSP300 podium, only beaten by Manuel Gonzalez and Unai Orradre.
Victor Steeman (MTM Kawasaki) was just 0.045s away from a podium finish as he finished in fourth place on his first race for his new team in 2022, while his teammate at MTM Kawasaki, Yuta Okaya, was fifth and just a tenth behind. Iglesias, despite running in the lead group before his Long Lap Penalty, finished in sixth place almost half-a-second down on Okaya.
Rookie Matteo Vannucci (AG Motorsport Italia Yamaha) claimed seventh spot on his first appearance on the world stage in a strong showing, holding off the challenge of Mirko Gennai (Team BrCorse) in eighth place. The three riders between eighth and 10th, also in the podium hunt, ended with just 0.005s between them. Gennai in eighth was just 0.004s clear of fellow Italian Marco Gaggi (Vinales Racing Team) while Bruno Iearci (Prodina Racing WorldSSP300) was just another 0.001s to cap off an incredible podium battle. Reigning Yamaha R3 Cup winner, Iker Garcia Abella (Yamaha MS Racing), was 11th and just a tenth behind Ieraci on a strong debut for the Spanish rider.
THE BATTLE FOR POINTS: rounding out the top 15
Hugo De Cancellis (Prodina Racing WorldSSP300) claimed 12th place as he finished four seconds behind Garcia Abella, while Brazilian rider Ton Kawakami (AD78 Team Brasil by MS Racing) was 13th and just 0.048s further back from De Cancellis. French rider Samuel Di Sora (Leader Team Flembbo) had hoped to make progress but had to take the Long Lap Penalty after being deemed to have ridden irresponsibly in Tissot Superpole, finishing the race in 14th place. Kevin Sabatucci (Kawasaki GP Project) rounded out the points with 15th place, although he only just withstood the challenge from Alex Millan (SMW Racing) and Dirk Geiger (Fusport – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki) by around a tenth; Millan, like teammate Iglesias, had a Long Lap Penalty for irresponsible riding in Free Practice 2.
TO NOTE: housekeeping from WorldSSP300
Alessandro Zanca’s (Kawasaki GP Project) race came to a very early end when he had a crash at Turn 1 on the opening lap, whole Troy Alberto (Fusport – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki) had a crash with Harry Khouri (Team#109 Kawasaki) on the opening lap which forced the Filipino rider out of the race; Khouri was able to rejoin although the Australian later retired from the race. Alberto was taken to the medical centre for a check-up following the crash and will be reassessed ahead of Warm-Up. Victor Rodriguez (2R Racing) had a crash at Turn 10 on the second lap of the race and he was taken to the medical centre for a check-up following the crash. He was subsequently declared fit but suffered from a neck and left thigh abrasion. On Lap 4, Sylvain Markarian (Leader Team Flembbo) crashed out at the Turn 8 right-hander which put the Frenchman out of the race. Gabriele Mastroluca (ProGP Racing) crashed out of the race on Lap 9 at Turn 5, while Ruben Bijman’s (MTM Kawasaki) race ended on Lap 10 when he had a crash on the exit of Turn 12.
The top six following WorldSSP300 Race 1, full results here:
1 Marc Garcia (Yamaha MS Racing)
2. Alvaro Diaz (Arco Motor University Team) +4.479s
3. Lennox Lehmann (Freudenberg KTM – Paligo Racing) +9.236s
4. Victor Steeman (MTM Kawasaki) +9.281s
5. Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki) +9.388s
6. Inigo Iglesias (SMW Racing) +9.862s
Watch WorldSSP300 action on Sunday starting with Warm-Up at 09:50 Local Time (GMT+2) and Race 2 at 15:15 using the WorldSBK VideoPass!