Di Sora and Steeman battled throughout the 14-lap race for victory with the Dutchman claiming a stunning home victory on the last lap
Race 1 for the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship was a hard-fought victory for Victor Steeman (MTM Kawasaki) at the TT Circuit Assen after a race-long battle with Samuel Di Sora (Leader Team Flembbo) at the Motul Dutch Round. The pair could not be separated throughout the 14-lap encounter with the winning move coming on the final lap from Steeman, taking advantage of Di Sora running wide to claim victory in front of his home fans.
A RACE-LONG FIGHT: Di Sora and Steeman inseparable at the front
As the race got underway, Steeman got a good start to retain the lead from pole position but soon found himself under pressure from French rider Di Sora. The pair battled throughout the 14-lap encounter and it looked like Steeman would take victory when Di Sora ran wide at Turn 9, allowing Steeman through to the lead of the race. However, Di Sora used the slipstream to close up throughout the final two sectors, forcing Steeman into a defensive line into the final chicane. Despite the defensive line, Steeman held on to claim victory by just 0.038s ahead of Di Sora. Victory for Steeman means he has now won two WorldSSP300 races in his career; while it is also only his second podium. He became the second Dutch winner to win at Assen after Scott Deroue in 2017, while it was also Kawasaki’s 40th win in WorldSSP300. Second for Di Sora means he has now taken eight WorldSSP300 podiums, level with Bahattin Sofuoglu and 2021 Champion Adrian Huertas.
FINISHING IN THE TOP EIGHT: an incredible fight for the final podium spot
The final podium spot in Race 1 went to Mirko Gennai (Team BrCorse) after an amazing battle between eight riders, with the Italian rider taking his first podium by just 0.124s ahead of Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki). Okaya, after missing out on a podium by just a tenth, was 0.060s ahead of Hugo De Cancellis (Prodina Racing WorldSSP300) in fifth place, while it was an even-smaller gap to sixth place. 2017 Champion, and current Championship leader, Marc Garcia (Yamaha MS Racing) claimed sixth place, just 0.011s behind De Cancellis. Italian rookie Matteo Vannucci (AG Motorsport Italia Yamaha) was seventh and missed out on a top six finish by just 0.047s.
MORE STUNNING COMEBACKS: Lehmann and Diaz battle back
German rider Lennox Lehmann (Freudenberg KTM – Paligo Racing) pulled off yet another comeback after a Tissot Superpole crash. Starting from 25th place, the same as in Aragon when he claimed a podium, Lehmann was able to battle his way up to eighth place to lead the third group on the track in what was a close battle for eighth place. Ruben Bijman (MTM Kawasaki) originally crossed the line just 0.019s away from Lehmann in ninth place, but a penalty to drop one position for exceeding track limits on the final lap meant he finished tenth. Bijman also had to serve a Long Lap Penalty for irresponsible riding in Race 2 at MotorLand Aragon. Bruno Ieraci (Prodina Racing WorldSSP300) had been in the lead group throughout the race but fell down the order to finish in tenth place at the line, but was promoted to ninth with Bijman’s penalty.
Alvaro Diaz (Arco Motor University Team) finished in 11th place after starting towards the back of the field. The Spanish rider endured a difficult Friday with limited running and a crash in FP2, before another technical issue in Superpole meant he was unable to show his pace. In the race, the Aragon Race 1 winner was able to fight back to claim 11th place ahead of Kevin Sabatucci (Kawasaki GP Project). Sabatucci was just 0.039s ahead of 13th-place Harry Khouri (Fusport – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki), while the Australian was only 0.040s clear of Marco Gaggi (Vinales Racing Team) in 14th while 2021 Yamaha R3 Cup title winner Iker Garcia Abella (Yamaha MS Racing) rounded out the points. Yeray Saiz Marquez (Accolade Smrz Racing) was 16th with Sylvain Markarian (Leader Team Flembbo) in 17th; Markarian was demoted two places for exceeding track limits on the final lap.
HOUSEKEEPING: to note from Race 1
Gabriele Mastroluca (ProGP Racing) crashed out from the race on the opening lap at the final chicane after he lost the front of his bike, while Inigo Iglesias (SMW Racing) crashed out of the race at Turn 9. Iglesias was not the only victim at Turn 9 with Ton Kawakami (AD78 Team Brasil by MS Racing), teammate Humberto Maier and Dirk Geiger (Fusport – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki) all crashing there on Lap 4. Kawakami was taken to the medical centre following the crash and diagnosed with a fracture of the second metacarpal bone on the right hand. Geiger was able to re-join the race but retired after completing nine laps of the race. Petr Svoboda (Accolade Smrz Racing) crashed out of the race on Lap 12 at the final chicane, while Fenton Seabright (Vinales Racing Team) crashed at Turn 3 but re-joined after running in the top ten during the first half of the race. The Briton was classified in 25th place.
The top six following WorldSSP300 Race 1, full results here:
1. Victor Steeman (MTM Kawasaki)
2. Samuel Di Sora (Leader Team Flemmbo) +0.038s
3. Mirko Gennai (BrCorse Team) +8.828s
4. Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki) +8.952s
5. Hugo De Cancellis (Prodina Racing WorldSSP300) +9.012s
6. Marc Garcia (Yamaha MS Racing) +9.023s
Fastest Lap – Samuel Di Sora, Kawasaki: 1’49.357
Don’t miss WorldSSP300 Sunday action starting with Warm Up from Assen at 09:50 Local Time (GMT+2) using the WorldSBK VideoPass!