Debise remains unbeatable at home as 0.053s covers top three on Friday in WorldSSP

Friday, 8 September 2023 15:46 GMT

French rider Valentin Debise’s FP1 time was enough to keep him in first place in the combined classification, as Nicolo Bulega topped the FP2 times

Valentin Debise’s (GMT94 Yamaha) form in Free Practice 1 was enough for him to be fastest on Friday for the FIM Supersport World Championship as he cemented his place at the top of the timesheets at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours. At his home Pirelli French Round, the experienced Frenchman will be hoping he can secure a maiden WorldSSP podium although he finished behind Championship leader Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team) in Free Practice 2.

SCORCHING CONDITIONS ADD EXTRA CHALLENGE: tight top three as Huertas crashes twice

The conditions in the afternoon proved to be challenging for the field with several crashes at the long right-hander of Turn 3. Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) was the fastest rider on Friday as he set a 1’41.083s in the morning, using his experience and vast knowledge of the French venue to surge into top spot. He was ahead of Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team) in second in the combined classification, with the Italian quickest in FP2 and Debise just behind, while Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) took third; the Spaniard was one of several riders who crashed out at Turn 3. The #99 also had a crash with Anupab Sarmoon (Yamaha Thailand Racing Team) at the end of FP2 when the pair made contact at Turn 3 after taking different lines through the corner.

IN THE MIX: front runners close in on top spot

Title contender Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) claimed fourth as he set a 1’41.385s, with just three tenths separating the top four at the end of a hotly-contested day of action. Manzi was ahead of fellow Italian rider Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) with just one tenth separating the pair, while Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) was sixth and the last of three consecutive Italian riders. The #3 had a crash at Turn 3 with around 17 minutes left in the session but was still able to finish in the top six.

HOME HERO FIGHTING FOR TOP POSITIONS: will Verdoia be in the top ten come Race 1?

Jorge Navarro ensured both Ten Kate riders were in the top seven as he set a 1’41.544s for P7, but his FP2 was disrupted by a Turn 5 crash in the opening part of the session. Finland’s Niki Tuuli (PTR Triumph) claimed eighth after lapping less than a tenth slower than the #9, while Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team) was ninth. Andy Verdoia (Yamaha Thailand Racing Team), who is still standing in for Apiwath Wongthananon, rounded out the top ten as he goes in search of a strong result in front of his home crowd.

BACK IN STYLE: Jespersen impresses, difficult day for van Straalen

It was a solid return for Denmark’s Simon Jespersen as he finished in 11th in the combined classification after he posted a 1’41.763s. He was around seven tenths off Debise’s pace and missed out on a top ten spot by less than a tenth, while he was 0.014s faster than Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) in 12th. Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) was in 13th ahead of Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) in 14th and Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) who rounded out the top 15. The Dutchman endured a tricky Friday with crashes in both FP1 and FP2. In the morning, he crashed at Turn 13 while he went down at Turn 3 with just over half an hour left in FP2.

HOUSEKEEPING: conditions prove challenging on Friday in France

Maiki Abe’s (VFT Racing WEBIKE Yamaha) FP2 session came to a premature end when he crashed at Turn 3 with around five minutes gone in the session; his crash brought out the red flags to allow gravel to be cleaned from the circuit. Compatriot Yuta Okaya (ProDina Kawasaki Racing) also had an early end as he suffered a technical problem shortly after the session resumed. FP2 was difficult for brothers Andrea and Maximilian Kofler in the D34G Racing team, with both having issues in the second practice session. Andreas went down at Turn 8 with around 31 minutes left on the clock while Maximilian had a technical issue towards the end of the session; both were able to re-join.

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

1. Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) 1’41.083s

2. Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team) +0.031s
3. Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) 0.053s
4. Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +0.302s

5. Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) +0.382s

6. Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) +0.416s

Next up for WorldSSP, Tissot Superpole: watch it all from 10:25 Local Time (GMT+2) on Saturday using the WorldSBK VideoPass!