P20 TO VICTORY: Huertas "not aiming for the win" in Race 1 after dropping to 20th

The FIM Supersport World Championship’s visit to the TT Circuit Assen was an unpredictable weekend thanks to rain falling at different moments, with Adrian Huertas (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) one of the riders who mastered the conditions to claim a win in Race 1 and a podium in Race 2. The results meant the #99 stormed into the Championship lead, although it’s very tight at the top of the World Supersport standings.

Huertas claimed a front row start for Race 1 with third in Friday’s Tissot Superpole session, lapping around a second away from polesitter Stefano Manzi’s (Pata Yamaha Ten Kate Racing) time when he posted a 1’46.251s. In Saturday’s Race 1, a pre-race downpour made tyre choice and strategy crucial. Both Huertas and Manzi started on slick tyres on the quick-drying track, with the Ducati rider coming out on top by just over eight seconds ahead of the #62 despite dropping all the way down to 20th at the end of Lap 2.

Looking back on Race 1, the Madrid-born star said: “It was an incredible race because, at the beginning, there were really difficult conditions. I was not aiming for the win at the start, I was just trying to stay calm on the bike and then suddenly I was feeling better and starting to recover and then I was P6, P3 and then P2… I saw Valentin in front, I said, ‘Ok, this is my day!’. I tried to pass him, finally managed to be first. I’m incredibly happy.”

Race 2 was a similar affair, with the track left soaked by a shower before lights out but when riders were on the grid, coming in to change tyres would prove beneficial after everyone started on slicks. Huertas came in at the end of Lap 2, title rival Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) at the end of the next lap and Manzi at the end of Lap 5. That gave Huertas the advantage over two of his rivals and he capitalised to claim second place, with Glenn van Straalen (Pata Yamaha Ten Kate Racing) – who pitted on the same lap as Huertas – claiming an emotional home win.

Explaining his tyre strategy for Race 2, Huertas said: “I think we were just trying to push at the beginning. I saw the heavy rain coming. I had a big moment at Turn 1 but then I kept pushing, I was comfortable, but I saw a lot of rain coming. The weather predictions weren’t what we were expecting. I decided to enter. My team did an incredible job changing the tyres, they were really calm and that gave me a lot of extra power for the second half of the race. In the wet, I needed to get used to these conditions. The track started to dry, and I started to get faster, but I was not fast enough to win. We were close but we needed more laps.”

With the results of the weekend, including Manzi’s non-score in Race 2, Huertas moved into the lead of the Championship. He’s one points clear of Montella in second and Manzi in third – both on 85 points – while Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) is fourth on 84 points with an incredibly tight Championship in store this season.

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Source: WorldSBK.com

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