Caricasulo "learnt to be better" in sector two during Race 2 to propel him to WorldSSP victory

Wednesday, 8 March 2023 09:45 GMT

The Italian rider ended a four-year win drought with victory at Mandalika after a last-lap battle with Stefano Manzi

A four-year win drought ended for Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team) in the FIM Supersport World Championship when he claimed victory in Race 2 during the Motul Indonesian Round at the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit. Caricasulo’s win did not come easy after he was involved in a last-lap fight in Indonesia as he took his first win since September 2019 when he at Portimao, while it was also his first win with Ducati machinery.

Caricasulo made a return to WorldSSP in 2021 although he moved around teams in that season as he searched for the best possible results. In 2022, he made the switch to Althea Racing as Ducati returned to the Championship and was competitive throughout the season, taking two pole positions and five podium finishes. He remained with the team for 2023 and the continuity paid off for both Caricasulo and Althea Racing with victory in Race 2 at Mandalika.

Italian rider Caricasulo was running in the podium places throughout the 18-lap race with Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha), with Oncu leading the race from Lap 3 until Lap 13 when Manzi overtook him. It looked like Manzi would go on to take his first Yamaha win but Caricasulo got by Oncu on Lap 14 and closed the gap to Manzi over the final few laps. The race-winning overtake came on the final lap at Turn 10 as Caricasulo took his first win since 2019.

The win also meant Ducati equalled their best-ever WorldSSP season in terms of race victories with three this year, matching the total from 2000, with Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team) winning the first two races in Australia. Caricasulo’s win was his first in 68 races while he also took his 29th podium, putting him level with 2017 Champion Lucas Mahias.

Reacting to his incredible victory, Caricasulo said: “I’m super happy because I think my team did a very good job with me and my bike. From Saturday, it was not easy to improve the bike because sometimes we can maybe be faster but also slower too. The bike was better on Sunday. My front tyre was better for the whole race. I was thinking only about riding and not managing the tyres. I’m really, really happy. It was really difficult because the temperature was super-hot. We had to push 100% for 18 laps so it was really, really difficult. In the end, it looked like I had a little bit more than Manzi in front of me. On the last lap, I tried, and it was okay and perfect for today.”

Caricasulo also discussed his battle with Manzi which went down to the final lap. Manzi had started from tenth on the grid but found his way to the front of the field before being overtaken by Caricasulo at Turn 10. Discussing the fight, Caricasulo said: “In the beginning of the race, I lost time in sector two in the fast corners. During the race, I learnt to be better in this sector. On the last lap, I gave my 100% in this sector to overtake Manzi there in the braking after. In the last two sectors, I felt stronger throughout the race. I overtook him and then I pushed during the last two sectors.”

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