Verdoïa takes shock WorldSSP victory in red flagged race.
Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK rider Jonathan Rea has won the opening race of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to extend his championship lead to 41 points.
Starting from pole position and full of confidence from going quickest in the morning Tissot Superpole session, Rea took the lead as the lights went out, building a gap on the rest of the field. “It was super-good to win here. I had a lot of motivation in this race. It is my team’s home race and Ana Carrasco could not be here in the WorldSSP300 class, so this win was for her – and also for my Grandfather, as it is the 27th anniversary of his death today,” explained an elated Rea. “I was using this to give me power in the race, to never rest and never give up. I am super-happy for my team and me, because, literally, our workshops are located just behind the main grandstand. It is a happy day and I just wish the fans and families could be here to celebrate with us. We also have a lot of information for tomorrow, and I am looking forward to that one because in the last lap today the front was moving quite a lot. In this temperature at this grip level we just need a little bit more for tomorrow.”
Importantly for the championship, Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) finished in second place with teammate Chaz Davies completed the podium. Both were made to work hard starting from seventh and eleventh respectively, with Redding taking advantage of an ambitious move between Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team) and teammate Michael van der Mark at turn one. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GoEleven) and Redding battled in the early stages of the race but they were unable to catch Rea, who eventually won by 2.6s. Redding now holds second in the championship, saying, “During the race, the feeling with the bike was pretty good compared to what happened in qualifying. I got off to a good start and this allowed me to stay in the front group right away. In the first laps, I fought with Rinaldi who had the soft tyre and I lost some contact with Rea. I tried to recover but it was not possible. It was still a good race, a good result also for the team. Unfortunately, Jonny arrived in front of me but I still want to congratulate him for the race he did.”
Chaz Davies battled his way through the field to finish in third, ahead of van der Mark in fourth. After qualifying in third, Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) finished in fifth place with Razgatlioglu in sixth after the incident with Van Der Mark at turn one.
After earlier battling with Redding, Rinaldi finished in seventh after being passed by Davies, van der Mark and Bautista in the final laps. He finished ahead of Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) and Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) with Leon Haslam (Team HRC) completing the top ten. Wildcard Jonas Folger (Bonovo Action by MGM Racing) battled his way through the field after not setting a time in qualifying, moving up from 21st to finish 12th.
In World Supersport Andy Verdoïa (bLU cRU WorldSSP by MS Racing) has become the first race winner from WorldSSP300 and also the youngest ever rider to win in World Supersport after taking out a red flagged race one due to a massive thunderstorm. As the rain pelted down, riders entered the pits but Verdoïa did not stop. He was the leader at the timing point the results were taken from and with more than two thirds race distance completed, full points were awarded. “It was incredible but I said keep calm, try to finish and maybe next lap there will be a Red Flag,” explained Verdoïa. “So, I continued, and I thought maybe I was in top ten but at the end it is a first place, I cannot believe it. It’s incredible.”
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Kyle Smith (GMT94 Yamaha) completed the podium while Andrea Locatelli (Bardahl Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) finished in fourth after leading in dry conditions.
The track was still drying for the World Supersport 300 race but that didn’t stop Tom Booth-Amos (RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki) from claiming a dominant maiden victory by more than six seconds after starting from pole. In second was Frenchman Samuel di Sora (Leader Team Flembbo) with 2017 champion Marc Garcia (2R Racing) in third.
Australian duo Tom Bramich (Carl Cox-RT Motorsports by SKM-Kawasaki) and Tom Edwards (Kawasaki ParkinGo Team) both failed to advance from the Last Chance Race. With the top six making the main race, Bramich came home in a close seventh while Edwards failed to finish.