0.034s separates the top three as Navarro tops WorldSSP on Friday, Manzi P5 after FP2 crash

Friday, 29 September 2023 16:13 GMT

Jorge Navarro was the rider to beat on Friday but not much separated him from Yari Montella and Nicolo Bulega in second and third

Spanish rider Jorge Navarro (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) stormed to the top of the FIM Supersport World Championship standings on Friday but it was impossible to keep the top three apart at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve. Navarro was one of only three riders to lap in the 1’43s bracket during Friday for the Pirelli Portuguese Round as he finished ahead of Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) and Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team).

NOTHING IN IT: 0.034s across the top three

Navarro had been quick in FP1 and backed that up with a1’43.849s in FP2 as he found around half-a-second compared to his morning time. This put him 0.029s ahead of who had been on a quick final lap at the end of the 45-minute session but lost ground to the pacesetter, while Championship leader Bulega took third and was only 0.034s down on Navarro. With so little to separate the top three on a dramatic Friday, racing on Saturday and Sunday has been set up perfectly as Bulega looks to wrap up the title with a round to spare.

LEFT WITH WORK TO DO: can Manzi respond on Saturday?

French rider Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) extended his good run of form to Friday in Portugal with fourth spot, 0.288s down on Navarro, while Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) was fifth. The #62 lost valuable running time in the afternoon when he had a Turn 3 crash but, after riding his Yamaha YZF R6 machine back to the pits and his team repairing it, he was able to re-join the session in the final 10 minutes. However, he was unable to improve on his lap time with his best, a 1’44.190s, set in FP1 when he topped the session. Manzi was ahead of compatriot Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) in sixth with the #3, like Manzi, unable to improve his lap time in FP2. His best was a 1’44.383s.

COMPLETING THE TOP TEN: Tuuli returns to the top ten

Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team) took seventh after lapping 0.615s slower than Navarro while it was a rollercoaster day for Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team). The Italian was ninth in FP1 after he crashed at Turn 10 although he was able to re-join the session and he found around half-a-second in FP2 to take eighth place overall. Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was ninth with Niki Tuuli (PTR Triumph), declared fit after his high-speed Race 2 Aragon crash, completing the top ten.

HOUSEKEEPING: technical problems, crashes and one rider unfit…

Dutch rider Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) was 11th despite a technical issue in the final few minutes of FP2, finishing ahead of Tom Booth-Amos (Motozoo ME AIR Racing) in 12th. The Brit is in pole position to win the WorldSSP Challenge title which concludes this weekend at Portimao and finished the day as the highest-placed Challenge rider. Can Oncu’s (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) comeback from injury continued with P13, ahead of wildcard Yeray Ruiz (MDR Offitec Yamaha) and Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki), who bounced back from a Turn 8 crash in FP1 to complete the top 15.

Nicholas Spinelli (VFT Racing WEBIKE Yamaha) was 21st in the classification but will take no further part in the weekend. The MotoE™ race winner crashed at Turn 15 in FP1 and was assessed at the medical centre, where he was declared fit. However, he did not take part in FP2 and with worsening symptoms of his left hand contusion, was declared unfit.

The top six from WorldSSP on Friday, full results here:

1 Jorge Navarro (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) 1’43.849

2. Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) +0.029s

3. Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team) +0.034s

4. Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) +0.288s

5. Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +0.341s

6. Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) +0.534s

Next up, Tissot Superpole! Watch all the action on Saturday at 10:25 Local Time (GMT+1) using the WorldSBK VideoPass – now only €9.99!