THE NEXT GENERATION IS BORN: Bahattin Sofuoglu emulates uncle Kenan with first WorldSSP win

Sunday, 7 May 2023 11:30 GMT

The Sofuoglu name returned to the top step of the WorldSSP rostrum while Championship leader Nicolo Bulega retired from the race

There was a fierce fight for victory in Race 2 during the FIM Supersport World Championship at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and there were plenty of emotions on display on the podium for the Prosecco DOC Catalunya Round as Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) took his first win in WorldSSP after fending off a challenge from both teammate Marcel Schroetter and Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) in a thrilling three-way battle for victory in Spain.

EMOTIONAL WINS: Sofuoglu on the top step

Sofuoglu once again got a good start from ninth on the grid to put himself in the lead group in the early stages and he was soon in the lead of the race but it was a fierce fight for the win with Sofuoglu, Sofuoglu’s teammate Schroetter and Manzi who completed the podium positions with just 0.500s separating the top three at the end of the race, with Manzi moving into second on the final lap into Turn 1; Manzi crossed the line in second but was demoted one place for exceeding track limits on the final lap at Turn 8.

Schroetter took the lead from teammate Sofuoglu at Turn 1 on Lap 11 but Sofuoglu responded a lap later, while Manzi moved into second after passing Schroetter at Turn 1 on Lap 13. However, Manzi ran wide a lap later at Turn 10 but two laps later he made up for his mistake by taking both MV Agusta riders at Turn 5 to move into the lead, demoting Sofuoglu to third. On the penultimate lap, Sofuoglu moved into the lead as he and Schroetter went either side of Manzi into Turn 1 and he was able to hold on to the lead despite late pressure from Manzi on the final lap. With Manzi’s penalty, Schroetter was promoted to second place for the first MV Agusta 1-2 finish since Phillip Island in 2015.

Sofuoglu’s victory meant he became the third Turkish winner in the Championship after his uncle, Kenan, and Can Oncu and it was Turkey’s 45th win in WorldSSP as well as the country’s 100th podium. Schroetter’s podium gave him his third podium in his first full season in the Championship while Manzi moved onto nine podiums. For MV Agusta, their double podium means they have now finished on the podium in 50 different WorldSSP races.

JUST MISSING OUT: strong performances inside the top six

Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) continued his strong form since the Championship returned to Europe with fourth place with the French rider one of several riders who was able to lead throughout the race. He finished more than four seconds clear of Dutch rider Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) in fifth place after he fended off Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team) to take fifth. Caricasulo, like in Race 1, got a great start as he moved into the lead of the race at the start and fought in the leading group in the early stages before dropping back to sixth place.

IN THE TOP TEN: fighting at the front but dropping back…

Caricasulo was trying to attack van Straalen in the closing stages but he also had to fend off Nicholas Spinelli (VFT Racing WEBIKE Yamaha) who took seventh place ahead of Niki Tuuli (Dynavolt Triumph) in eighth. Just over a second separated van Straalen in fifth and Tuuli in eighth place after a thrilling fight for the high-scoring points-paying positions. Jorge Navarro (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) claimed ninth spot, two seconds down on Tuuli, while Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) rounded out the top ten.

SCORING POINTS: rounding out the top 15

Australian rider Tom Edwards (Yart-Yamaha WorldSSP Team), who was a surprise fourth in Saturday’s Tissot Superpole session, finished in 11th for his best WorldSSP result so far; Edwards was just four tenths away from a maiden top-ten finish. Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) claimed 12th place while Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), returning to replace the injured Can Oncu, scored points with 13th place ahead of Tom Booth-Amos (Motozoo ME AIR Racing) in 13th and Adrian Fernandez (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team); Fernandez, making his WorldSSP debut, scored his first points in the Championship.

HOUSEKEEPING: to note from WorldSSP Race 2

Wildcard Baris Sahin (MDR Offitec Yamaha) retired from the race in the early stages of the race while Oli Bayliss (D34G Racing) crashed out of the race on Lap 7 at Turn 5. John McPhee (Vince64 by Puccetti Racing) was fighting for the points-paying positions but he crashed out on Lap 9 at Turn 9 which put him out of the race. Apiwath Wongthananon (Yamaha Thailand Racing Team) retired from the race after bringing his bike into the pits.

Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team) was running in the top five in the closing stages of the race after being bumped down the order, but he retired from the race on the penultimate lap with a technical issue.

The top six following WorldSSP Race 2, full results here:

1. Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse)

2. Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) +0.420s

3. Stefano Manzi (Tem Kate Racing Yamaha) +0.500s

4. Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) +2.563s

5. Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) +7.039s

6. Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team) +7.327s

Fastest lap: Nicolo Bulega, Ducati – 1’45.166s

Championship standings

1 Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team) 152 points

2. Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) 119

3. Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) 116

4. Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team) 98

5. Niki Tuuli (Dynavolt Triumph) 75

6. Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) 65

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