Wildcard Pons tops WorldSSP FP1, running limited with wet conditions on track

Friday, 27 October 2023 08:29 GMT

The Spaniard was the rider to beat in FP1, although very few riders set a lap time due to damp conditions at Jerez

Free Practice 1 for the final FIM Supersport World Championship round of the season was a rather muted affair at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto as only six riders set a lap time. Damp conditions greeted the field to kick off the Prometeon Spanish Round and riders opted to stay in their box for the most part, with wildcard Miquel Pons (Zeus Motorsport) the fastest of the six to set a time, beating Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) by around two tenths.

When the green flag fell to start the session, the usual rush to start the track action wasn’t there with the track wet from previous rainfall. The first rider head out was 2023 WorldSSP300 runner-up Jose Luis Perez Gonzalez for the D34G Racing squad, making his first appearance in WorldSSP as a one event rider on home soil. However, he completed only an outlap before returning to his box, while Tarran Mackenzie (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) was second out but, like Perez Gonzalez initially, only did an outlap. The first lap time of the session came from wildcard Pons who set a 2’07.962s, set with just over 10 minutes gone of the 45-minute FP1, although he did improve by four seconds on his next lap.

With 21 minutes remaining in the session, Italian Leonardo Taccini (Vince64 by Puccetti Racing) became the fourth rider to venture out on the damp Jerez circuit, and the first lap he set was a 2’10.567s, more than 6.5 seconds down on Pons’ time. Although he improved on his second timed lap, he was still slower than the #75 Yamaha of Pons, who was the first rider to head out on track for a second time. The Spaniard was able to improve his best time to a 2’01.624s before going even faster next time around, with a 2’01.424s.

As the final 10 minutes came around, a few more riders ventured out onto track including the returning Oli Bayliss (D34G Racing) although his first timed lap was 14 seconds off the pace. He was overhauled by debutant Perez Gonzalez and MotoE™ race winner Nicholas Spinelli (VFT Racing WEBIKE Yamaha). The Italian’s first lap moved him into second, four seconds behind Pons, before French rider Debise used all his experience to move into second, 0.129s slower than Pons, on his first flying lap.

In the final few minutes, Debise dipped into the 2’00s bracket with a 2’00.656s to take top spot away from the wildcard for the first time this session, despite the Spaniard improving his time a 2’00.892s. On his penultimate flying lap, the #75 responded with a 2’00.450s, before improving by two tenths on his next lap, to take top spot back from the Frenchman to end his first session in WorldSSP since 2020 on top, with Debise two tenths back in second. As track conditions improved slightly, Spinelli claimed third with a 2’02.001s, while Perez Gonzalez was fourth on his WorldSSP debut. Taccini and Bayliss rounded out the top six.

The top six from WorldSSP Free Practice 1, full results here:

1. Miquel Pons (Zeus Motorsport) 2’00.293

2. Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) +0.363s

3. Nicholas Spinelli (VFT Racing) +1.708s

4. Jose Luis Perez Gonzalez (D34G Racing) +2.538s

5. Leonardo Taccini Vince64 by Puccetti Racing) +4.727s

6. Oli Bayliss (D34G Racing) +6.828s

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