Montella revels after WorldSSP Race 1 victory: "First win, first podium… really happy for this and the team!"

Thursday, 24 November 2022 11:31 GMT

Yari Montella became the 58th different winner in WorldSSP after a hard-fought win in Race 1 at Phillip Island

The FIM Supersport World Championship welcome a new winner during Race 1 during the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit as Yari Montella (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) battled his rivals and changeable conditions for his first win in the Championship. Montella had enjoyed his strongest Tissot Superpole result of the season on Saturday and was able to convert that into Kawasaki’s first win of the 2022 campaign after a fierce battle with Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing).

Montella took third place in the Saturday Superpole session, the best of his rookie campaign and the first time he’d taken a front row start in WorldSSP. This gave him a strong starting position and his pace throughout Race 1 was such that he was able to fight for the lead of the race throughout the 18-lap battle. The race was held in wet conditions with the entire grid on Pirelli’s rain tyres for the first race in Australia since 2020.

Montella was never outside of the top two positions during the race and was often engaged in battle with Caricasulo, with Caricasulo leading the first four laps and then across the line at the end of Laps 13, 14 and 17. However, the battle would come to a premature conclusion when Caricasulo crashed at Turn 4, allowing Montella to break free and claim his first win in WorldSSP as well as his first podium finish, while Caricasulo re-joined and finished seventh.

Discussing his first win, Montella said: “It’s my first win and first podium, so I’m really happy for this and the team. I think the last win for the team was in 2020 so it’s good for me. I enjoyed the race a lot, it was a great battle with Carica. I’m disappointed for him but this is racing. I enjoyed the battle. I think we are fast and at the start of the race, I pushed but within the limits. I watched him because, in these conditions, we’ve not raced. I just followed him. After two or three laps, I felt good so I said, ‘maybe I can try to push more’ and we made some great overtakes.”

Montella was unable to replicate his Saturday form on Sunday as he finished in fifth place, but it still marked the highest-scoring round of his WorldSSP career, picking up 36 points. His previous best had been 23 points at the Circuito Estoril in May, while he came into the Australian Round on the back of a 21-point haul at Mandalika. The results mean Montella finished his rookie season in the Championship in seventh place.

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