The Czech rider left it late to move into the lead but claimed his maiden victory in style as the 2023 WorldSSP300 season got underway
The opening race of the 2023 FIM Supersport 300 World Championship was a dramatic affair and not decided until the final corners of the 14-lap race as Petr Svoboda (Fusport – RT Motorsport by SKM – Kawasaki) claimed his first victory of his WorldSSP300 career in Race 1 at the TT Circuit Assen during the Pirelli Dutch Round. Svoboda’s victory meant he claimed his and the Czech Republic’s first win in the Championship and only their second podium.
FIRST WIN: a dramatic fight for victory
Svoboda made his move into the chicane on Lap 14 of 14 to move ahead of Samuel Di Sora (Prodina Kawasaki Racing) after the French rider went defensive on the final lap and he also made a mistake in the second half of the final lap. It allowed Svoboda to make a move into the chicane and he was able to take victory by 0.481s ahead of Di Sora, whose second place gave him his 12th podium in WorldSSP300 which puts him level with 2022 Champion Alvaro Diaz and 2017 Champion Ana Carrasco. Jose Luis Perez Gonzalez (Accolade Smrz Racing) had crossed the line in third place but was given a one-place penalty for exceeding overtaking under yellow flags, demoting him to fourth and promoting Dirk Geiger (Freudenberg KTM – Paligo Racing) to the podium.
SIX RIDERS, EIGHT TENTHS: a close-fought battle
With Geiger promoted to third, taking his first podium for KTM, Perez Gonzalez finished in fourth place ahead of two riders who also swapped positions due to post-race penalties. Marco Gaggi (Team BrCorse) took the chequered flag in sixth place but was promoted to fifth after Humberto Maier (Yamaha MS Racing/AD78 Latin America Team) was penalised with a one-place drop for overtaking under yellow flags. It meant Perez Gonzalez took fourth ahead of Gaggi in fifth and Maier in sixth.
ROUNDING OUT THE TOP TEN: track limits infringements change the order…
Rookie Devis Bergamini (ProGP Racing) was classified in seventh place after riders above him were penalised for track limits infringements. Jeffrey Buis (MTM Kawasaki) and teammate Loris Veneman had crossed the line in seventh and eighth respectively but both dropped a position for a track limits infringement on the final lap so were classified in eighth and ninth place. Fenton Seabright (Kawasaki GP Project) secured a top ten position following a penalty for Mirko Gennai (Team BrCorse) with the Italian dropping two places for two track limits infringements on the final lap. It meant Gennai, who started in 19th place, finished in 11th.
SCORING POINTS: starting the season in the top 15
Enzo Valentim (Yamaha MS Racing/AD78 Latin America Team) was 12th, just over 10 seconds down on the race winner, while Julio Garcia (Team Flembbo-PI Performances) was 13th. Garcia made an impressive wildcard appearance in 2022 and secured a full-time rider for this season, scoring points in his first race of the season. Alessandro Zanca (Team#109 Kawasaki) was 14th ahead of fellow Italian rider compatriot Kevin Sabatucci (Team Flembbo-PI Performances) who was the last points scorer in Race 1.
HOUSEKEEPING: to note from Race 1
Polesitter Matteo Vannucci (AG Motorsport Italia Yamaha) had been running in the lead group but crashed out on Lap 4 at Turn 5, eventually re-joining to take 24th spot. Debutant Clement Rouge (Sublime Racing by MS Racing) was another who crashed, also at Turn 5, and he re-mounted to take 25th spot. Kas Beekmans (Sublime Racing by MS Racing) was 21st after he received a double Long Lap Penalty for a jump start.
Wildcard Thom Molenaar (Molenaar Racing Team) had a strong Tissot Superpole session to qualify in the top ten, but his race came to an end when he crashed at Turn 8 on Lap 2. A lap later, at the same corner Lennox Lehmann (Freudenberg KTM – Paligo Racing) had a highside at Turn 8 which put him out of the race. Debutant Jose Manuel Osuna Saez (Deza-Box 77 Racing Team) crashed at Turn 1 on Lap 5, while Mattia Martell’s (ProDina Kawasaki Racing) race came to an end at the chicane on Lap 5 when he lost the front of his machine and crashed out, retiring from the race. Lehmann and Osuna Saez were taken to the medical centre for a check-up following their respective crashes with Lehmann declared fit, while Osuna Saez will be transported to hospital for further assessments with a low back/pelvic contusion. At Turn 1, teammates Ruben Bijman (Arco Motor University Team) and Gabriele Mastroluca crashed on Lap 7 to put them out of the race. Shengjunjie Zhou (China Racing Team) retired from the race after he had a technical issue around the halfway mark of the 14-lap race.
The top six following WorldSSP300 Race 1, full results here:
1. Petr Svoboda (Fusport-RT Motorsport by SKM-Kawasaki)
2. Samuel Di Sora (ProDina Kawasaki Racing) +0.481s
3. Dirk Geiger (Freudenberg KTM – Paligo Racing) +0.551s
4. Jose Luis Perez Gonzalez (Accolade Smrz Racing) +0.600s
5. Marco Gaggi (Team BrCorse) +0.768s
6. Humberto Maier (Yamaha MS Racing/A78 Latin America Team) +0.800s
Watch more WorldSSP300 action from the TT Circuit Assen using the WorldSBK VideoPass!