Manzi secures his first WorldSSP pole position as rain plays havoc in WorldSSP Superpole

Saturday, 25 February 2023 02:11 GMT

There was drama everywhere in the first Superpole of 2023 as the weather added another layer of drama to the action-packed session

The first Tissot Superpole session of the 2023 FIM Supersport World Championship campaign was a dramatic 20-minute session at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit as rain played havoc during the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round. The rain started to fall just before the session started with drops of rain reported and this continued throughout the session until the final five minutes when the track started to dry, and riders took advantage to set faster times. Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) claimed his first WorldSSP pole position as he set his best lap right at the end of the session to start both Race 1 and Race 2 from the front of the grid.

MANZI ON TOP: first pole for the Italian

With conditions starting to improve in the final five minutes of the session, Manzi set a 1’32.814s right at the end of the 20-minute session to take his first pole position after switching to Ten Kate Racing Yamaha for 2023 in his second WorldSSP campaign. He was 0.244s clear of Turkish star Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in second place with Oncu, like Manzi, putting in fast laps at the end of the session. They will line up alongside Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) after the Italian posted a 1’33.076s right at the end of the session to secure a front row start on his first race with the Barni Ducati team.

ROOKIES IMPRESS: two rookies in the top six

It was a strong session for rookies although they’ll start behind Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team) after he took fourth spot, 0.276s down on compatriot Manzi’s time. Two rookies will complete the second row in both races during the Australian Round with Nicholas Spinelli (VFT Racing Yamaha) in fifth and German rider Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) in sixth spot. With Schroetter in sixth place, four of the six manufacturers competing in 2023 were represented in the top six.

COMPLETING THE TOP TEN: strong performances but dropping down

After setting the fastest time in the first running when the track was damp but in a reasonably good condition, Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) dropped to seventh place at the end of the session after setting a 1’33.904s, just over a second down on Manzi’s time. Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) was another who put in a strong time but dropped down the order in the closing stages but was overhauled as he dropped down to eighth place. Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team) and Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) rounded out the top ten after posting s 1’34.069s and 1’34.102s respectively.

AIMING HIGH: looking to gain in races

Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) will start in 11th place ahead of a full campaign with the GMT94 Yamaha team, while Finnish rider Niki Tuuli (Dynavolt Triumph) will line up from 12th place as he put in a series of laps to move up the order. He will start ahead of home hero Oli Bayliss (D34G Racing) in 13th, while rookies Andrea Mantovani (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) and Jorge Navarro (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) complete the top 15.

The top six following WorldSSP Superpole, full results here:

1. Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) 1’32.814

2. Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) +0.244s

3.Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) +0.262s

4.Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team) +0.276s

5. Nicholas Spinelli (VFT Racing) +0.915s

6. Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) +1.052s

Watch the first WorldSSP race of 2023 from 14:30 Local Time (GMT+11) using the WorldSBK VideoPass!