The final World Supersport session of the day in Qatar kicked off with much drama, as the Championship battle took another turn. Leading the way come the conclusion of the opening day was Jules Cluzel, with a huge advantage over the rest of the field, doing what he needs to do in order to keep his title hopes alive.
There was drama from the off in the 45-minute session, as Randy Krummenacher crashed at Turn 4, running fractionally wide on the exit of the corner and low-siding out. He wasn’t the only crasher in the first third of the session however, as Assen podium finisher Thomas Gradinger tucked the front at the final corner. Moments later, Jaimie van Sikkelerus ran on at Turn 1 but didn’t topple over – the exact same thing happened to the Dutchman in FP1.
Picking up from where he left off in FP1, Jules Cluzel was right in the mix for the leading positions again. The French rider is looking for his first back-to-back wins since Assen and Imola in 2018, in order to have a chance of claiming WorldSSP glory. With a massive 0.7s margin to his rivals, he is the man to beat after ending day one on top. In the final ten minutes, Federico Caricasulo began to show his pace, finishing second.
He’ll be eager to capitalise on the Swiss rider’s bad form of late and pinch the title away from the other side of the garage. Second overall, Caricasulo is in fine form. Continuing to show his promise at the pointy-end of WorldSSP was veteran, Ayrton Badovini. The Italian was as high as second in FP2 and come the end of the day, was up in third.
Coming on leaps and bounds in recent rounds, Isaac Viñales was right up the sharp end of things on Friday. The Spaniard took advantage of his track knowledge from his Moto3 and Moto2 career and put it to good use to finish day one in fourth. Remounting from his crash in the early stages, Randy Krummenacher was back inside the top five with less than five minutes to go in the session.
The Swiss rider was the lowest place of the Championship contenders after the first day of action but that in itself will give him plenty of motivation for Friday and Saturday. Fifth in the end, he has work to do to keep his title lead. Raffaele De Rosa was sixth overall, 0.909s off a rampant Cluzel.
Seventh at the close of business on the opening day went to Lucas Mahias, as the Frenchman dropped away a little bit during the flurry of fast laps at the end of the session. Corentin Perolari was looking in good form in Qatar, as he chases down his first WorldSSP podium after achieving a first pole in Argentina. But from South America to the Middle East, Perolari looks poised for another strong weekend and finished in eighth overall. Two-time Losail winner Kyle Smith was ninth, whilst Hungary’s Peter Sebestyen completed the top ten as top Honda.
World Supersport Standings
|6||Raffaele De Rosa||92|
|20||Glenn Van Straalen||9|
|22||Jaimie Van Sikkelerus||9|
The WorldSSP300 grid makes history this weekend with their first visit outside of Europe coming at the Motul Qatar Round. The feeder class is set to dazzle under the spotlights of the Losail International Circuit, with Thursday’s opening sessions offering a taste of the action to come. Making his debut at the Qatari venue, it was Manuel Gonzalezwho was once again on top.
The lights of Losail only mean one thing: motorcycle racing is in action! Despite the usual craziness out on circuit, what with riders looking for a slipstream and waiting on the racing line, 2019 WorldSSP300 Champion Manuel Gonzalez thread the eye of the needle to set a good lap time during the middle stages of the session.
Second overall was Ana Carrasco, who used her Moto3 experience to propel her to the silver-medal position. The outgoing WorldSSP300 Champion was over a second clear in FP1 and will look to gain back the advantage going into the rest of the weekend. Completing the top three was Andy Verdoïa, who is still in the battle for second overall in the Championship.
Fourth after the opening day of action was Czech talent, Oliver König, lapping strongly throughout the night to confirm is solid pace at Losail. In fifth place and just fractionally behind him, Dutch rider Dion Otten made it four nationalities inside the top five, as he worked away on his pace. Otten is looking for a good end to the season to go into 2020 well prepared. Filippo Rovelli completed the top six and was top Italian after day one, 0.712s behind Gonzalez on top.
Battling for second in the Championship, Portimao race winner Scott Deroue was only seventh on his return to action under the floodlights of Losail. He was marginally ahead of fellow countryman Victor Steeman, with the Dutch charge coming from the provision third row. Tom Edwards was ninth and was flew the Australian flag high, whilst just behind, Ukrainian Nick Kalinin completed the top ten just days after announcing his 2020 plans in the WorldSSP300 class.
World Supersport 300 Standings
|8||Galang Hendra Pratama||55|
|9||Hugo De Cancellis||47|
|20||Samuel Di Sora||11|
|21||Enzo De La Vega||11|
|31||Ferran Hernandez Moyano||6|
|34||Joel Damon Kelso||4|
|35||Jose Luis Perez Gonzalez||4|