Buis after double Catalunya podium: "This win was for Victor… I’m fighting for him"
The 2020 WorldSSP300 Champion dedicated his first win of 2023 to the late Victor Steeman, who raced for the team last year
With the second round of the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship taking place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, and Jeffrey Buis (MTM Kawasaki) returning to winning ways, it was an emotional Prosecco DOC Catalunya Round for both team and rider. It was Buis’ first win in WorldSSP300 since returning to the Championship as he became the all-time leader in terms of race wins in WorldSSP300 and it was also the team’s first win since the late Victor Steeman claimed victory at the same circuit in Race 2 in 2022.
Buis started Race 1 from fifth place, and Race 2 from sixth, following a penalty for a rider ahead of him for Race 1 which promoted him a place and, in Saturday’s Race 1, he battled his way into the lead from the start of the race. He initially pulled out a gap of over a second to the chasing pack, but he was unable to keep that as the race progressed with Buis being dragged back into the group. Despite losing the lead of the race, Buis came through to win Race 1 for his first win since Jerez 2021.
His victory means he now has eight WorldSSP300 victories to his name, more than any other rider in the Championship’s history after moving clear of Ana Carrasco and Marc Garcia on seven each. However, it was also an emotional victory for both Buis and MTM Kawasaki, as it was their first wins since Steeman’s passing last year. Buis dedicated his win to Steeman, lifting his trophy aloft on the podium and pointing to the sky. The Barcelona circuit was the scene of Steeman’s last victory where he won by more than five seconds.
In parc ferme after Race 1, he said: “It feels great to be back on the top step. From the beginning, my plan was to push but it was difficult to make a gap. I needed to change my strategy, but it worked out very well. For the last lap, I had a good position on the track. It’s great. I want to say thanks to all the people that still believe in me after a difficult last year and this one was for Victor.”
The start of Race 2 was a familiar story for Buis as he moved into the lead early on, but he was unable to pull a gap to the riders behind. However, he was able to put himself in good positions in the final stages of the race to move into the podium places. He claimed third place to take his points haul for the weekend to 41 points and he moved himself into fourth place in the Championship standings, 20 points behind Petr Svoboda (Fusport – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki) after two rounds and four races.
Speaking after Race 2, Buis once again talked about Steeman. He said: “It’s incredible to have these kinds of numbers. I’m very happy with this podium. We’ve had a lot of podiums in the past here. We have tested here and that’s always good that we have some experience at the tracks. I think that helps a lot to give us this achievement. Victor is one of the reasons I’m back in WorldSSP300 because I’m fighting for Victor. That’s my goal.”
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