Manzi pips Schroetter by 0.089s in red-flagged WorldSSP Free Practice as 2024 gets underway

Friday, 23 February 2024 00:27 GMT

The Italian was just under a tenth quicker than Marcel Schroetter in the only Free Practice session for the WorldSSP field

The 2024 FIM Supersport World Championship season officially started on Friday at the iconic Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, with Stefano Manzi (Pata Yamaha Ten Kate Racing) leading the way ahead of Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) by just a tenth as riders smashed the existing lap record. The session was cut short by a few minutes due to a red flag in the sole session before this afternoon’s Tissot Superpole session for the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round.

Manzi put in a 1’31.939s to smash the existing lap record, set by Andrea Locatelli back in 2020, although it had been beaten by Schroetter earlier in the session. In his first run, the German rider posted a 1’32.028s to top the timesheets in the early stages, before Manzi went 0.089s faster to claim top spot in a session that was cut short due to track conditions after a technical problem for Yeray Ruiz (VFT Racing Yamaha) in the final five minutes. In third place was Adrian Huertas ( Racing WorldSSP Team), with the Spaniard three tenths behind Manzi.

Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) came into the sole Free Practice session for the WorldSSP field after setting the pace in testing, and he finished practice in fourth place after setting a 1’32.278s, less than a tenth behind Huertas. Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was fifth on a strong start for MV Agusta, within four tenths of Manzi’s record-breaking pace, while Lucas Mahias (GMT94 Yamaha) was sixth as he returns to the Championship on a full-time basis.

Jorge Navarro (WRP-RT Motorsport by SKM-Triumph), making his debut on the Street Triple RS 765 following his switch from Yamaha, was seventh with Federico Caricasulo (Motozoo ME AIR Racing) in eighth. ‘Carica’ is also making his debut with a new manufacturer, having opted to leave Ducati to race with the MV Agusta F3 800 RR this year. Glenn van Straalen (Pata Yamaha Ten Kate Racing) was ninth with Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) completing the top ten.

There were several technical issues during the 40-minute session which impacted the field. Home hero Oli Bayliss (D34G Racing WorldSSP Team) didn’t set a lap time thanks to two technical issues, including in the first five minutes, while Kaito Toba (Petronas MIE Racing Honda) also had an early tech problem but was able to set a lap time, taking 23rd place. John McPhee (WRP-RT Motorsport by SKM-Triumph) had to pull over when he had a technical issue, while Nicolo Antonelli (Ecosantagata Althea Racing Team) was the sole crasher in the session when he went down at Turn 6.

The top six from WorldSSP FP1, full results here:

1. Stefano Manzi (Pata Yamaha Ten Kate Racing) 1’31.939

2. Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) +0.089s

3. Adrian Huertas ( Racing WorldSSP Team) +0.320s

4. Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) +0.339s

5. Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) +0.382s

6. Lucas Mahias (GMT94 Yamaha) +0.466s

Watch the first Tissot Superpole session of 2024 at 14:55 Local Time (UTC+11) using the WorldSBK VideoPass!