Manzi delivers Ten Kate Racing’s 100th WorldSSP win: "An amazing day for us!"

Tuesday, 6 June 2023 06:37 GMT

The Italian star closed down Championship leader Nicolo Bulega for a final lap victory – could it be a turning point with the pendulum swinging in the title race?

It may have taken ten races in the 2023 FIM Supersport World Championship season but at long last, Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) took his first win of the 2023 campaign. The Italian is chasing down title rival Nicolo Bulega ( Racing – Ducati) in the title race and put in a fantastic Race 2 at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” to hit the front in the closing stages, leaving Bulega to settle for second.

Coming from 11th on the grid, Manzi had work to do straight away but he was up for the challenge. A particular strong point was at Turn 2, where he was able to carry great entry speed but also not run wide, making many of his moves by parking the bike on the apex. He was electrically strong through the opening sector in general, whilst Bulega and Ducati were the ones to beat from Tramonto at Turn 10 to Curva Del Carro at Turn 14. This made for a fascinating final lap, when Manzi hit the front with a bold move at Turn 3, but would it be enough to see off the challenge from his main title rival? Bulega charged back up to the Yamaha rider but couldn’t get through, with Manzi holding on for victory.

Speaking about the result after the race, Manzi was elated: “It was an amazing day for us, after a good Warm Up where I had strong pace. I got a pretty good start like yesterday and I could gain some places before I arrived to the back of Nicolo, where we started fighting but I was also waiting too. We had a very good pace, so it wasn’t necessary to disturb him. I could put my bike in front of him on the final lap and to get to the end like this is fantastic! It’s my first win with Yamaha and Ten Kate, so I can say nothing more apart from than I am happy to be here in front of my crowd like this; it was an amazing weekend for me.”

“I saw at some points, I was stronger,” continued Manzi, going more in detail about the final lap battle. “In the fast corners, he was stronger than me but in the end, it wasn’t expected! In my mind, I said, ‘if I don’t overtake now, I won’t have another opportunity’ so I took it at Turn 3 and it paid off until the end.”

Team boss Kervin Bos was also happy that Manzi could get an important milestone and the first win out of the way: “Stefano was once again the weekend’s star rider, as he was in Barcelona. This time he did manage to finish it off in a perfectly executed race. He built it up great and struck on the last lap. It is his first win with Ten Kate Racing and I hope we have now broken a barrier so we can start attacking for the championship.”

The 100th wins for Ten Kate Racing is a significant milestone, as it’s more than any other team has achieved in the WorldSSP class. The team from Nieuwleusen have been on top of their game in World Supersport since they arrived in 2000, with over ten different winners in their history within the class; they were a dominant force in terms of winning titles too, unbeaten from 2002 to 2008, with titles coming in 2010, 2014 and most recently 2021 and 2022, courtesy of Dominique Aegerter.

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