The title is on the line for Nicolo Bulega this weekend but his main title rival took early pickings at Portimao on Friday
The penultimate round of the FIM Supersport World Championship is underway and despite a red flag for track conditions and a slight change to the schedule before action commenced, it promises to be a thrilling weekend for the class as the title lies waiting to be wrapped up. However, the order was a little bit shaken-up at the top of the order, with Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) taking the early advantage and demonstrating that he won’t give up the title fight easily.
Coming out of the blocks fighting, Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) led the opening session in WorldSSP and set numerous fast laps to assert himself as the one to beat, at least after the opening 45-minute minutes. His teammate, Jorge Navarro, had a strong session and took P2 at the place where he debuted in WorldSSP with the test at the end of January. Championship leader Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) has an 85-point lead over Manzi in the title race, meaning a podium in Race 1 will be enough for the Italian. He started his day in P3, ahead of Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) and Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team), with four Italians inside the top five.
Completing the top six, the Italian theme continued with Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team), whilst Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was seventh. Magny-Cours podium finisher Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) took eighth place at a circuit where he’ll look to make a rostrum return, ahead of Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Evan Bros. Yamaha WorldSSP Team) in ninth, although the 2019 Moto3™ World Champion fell at Turn 11 but was OK. Tom Edwards (Yart-Yamaha WorldSSP Team) completed the top ten and was top WorldSSP Challenge rider. Niki Tuuli (PTR Triumph) was back in action a week after his big crash at Aragon, missing out on the top ten by less than a tenth of a second in P11.
Top six after WorldSSP FP1 at Portimao, full results here:
1. Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) 1’44.190s
2. Jorge Navarro (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +0.123s
3. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) +0.183s
4. Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) +0.193s
5. Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team) +0.274s
6. Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) +0.496s
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