Brutal opening encounter in France
WorldSBK Race One
Thrilling action up and down the grid was the order of the day during Race 1 for the Motul FIM Superbike World Championship with wet conditions greeting the 21 riders overnight for the opening race of the Pirelli French Round at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours as Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) claimed his 10th victory of the 2020 season.
The drama started at Turn 1 as both Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and team-mate Eugene Laverty retired from the race on the opening lap; Laverty was taken out by a falling Sykes after the British rider was hit by Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team). The BMW duo had started 1-2 on the grid in what was a watershed moment for the squad but that dream turned to a nightmare at turn one as both riders slid out of the race.
Marc Bongers – BMW Motorrad Motorsport
“What a day. It showed just how close together the ups and downs are in motorsport. Both Tom and Eugene had produced great performances in the changeable, but always wet conditions since the first practice session. Everything was going perfectly. Tom had coped well with his fall in yesterday’s practice and the team had done a good job to prepare the motorbike perfectly for today. The Superpole session was a thriller but we knew that we could finish really high up. To finish with P1 and P2, the first double pole for BMW Motorrad in the WorldSBK, is just fantastic! But the race was just as disappointing as the double pole had been wonderful. The race finished for both of them in turn 1. Gerloff had come from a long way back and went into T1 too hot. He then had to correct it and hit Tom on his elbow, which made him fall. Unfortunately, Tom’s bike then clipped the rear wheel of Eugene’s bike, which then saw him come off with a highsider. We find it a bit difficult to understand that Gerloff got away without an official warning or a penalty, but the decision made by the race direction is fix and we have to accept it. Both of our riders took a bit of a battering, but they are OK. Both of the bikes are badly damaged. We now have a long day ahead of us to put both motorbikes back together. But we are looking ahead to tomorrow and we will be ready to go when the riders and bikes are both OK.”
The incident left Rea, Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) and Gerloff battling for victory after Gerloff fell back following a mistake at Turn 5. Gerloff recovered to third place but a crash at the Turn 6-7 Nürburgring chicane eventually forced him to retire; the American star taken to the medical centre for a check-up.
It meant Rea and Baz duelled it out for victory with Rea coming out on top by around three seconds while Baz secured his first podium at Magny-Cours.
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) finished in third place as he secured his first podium since the Australian Round; Lowes securing his third podium of the season.
Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) followed up his victory at Catalunya with fourth at Magny-Cours as he continued to his strong end to the season as the Welshman finished ahead of the battling trio of Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team), Leon Haslam (Team HRC) and Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati).
Redding finished in fifth place ahead of Razgatlioglu in sixth after Haslam passed Razgatlioglu into Turn 12 before crashing straight after; Haslam retiring from the race.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN) finished in seventh place ahead of Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) equalling his best result of the 2020 season with eighth place. Michael van der Mark (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) finished ninth after the Dutchman crashed on Lap 15 at Turn 13 while battling in the top four positions, ahead of Leandro Mercado (Motocorsa Racing) in tenth.
Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) finished the 21-lap race in 11th place with Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) finishing just ahead of French rider Sylvain Barrier (Brixx Performance) finishing in 13th place as he scored more points. Valentin Debise (OUTDO Kawasaki TPR) scored his first ever WorldSBK points with 14th place and Xavier Pinsach (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura) claiming points in his first WorldSBK race.
Samuele Cavalieri (Barni Racing Team) finished the race in 16th; equalling his best result of his races in the 2020 season with Takumi Takahashi (MIE Racing HONDA Team) rounded out the classification in 17th place, with Haslam, Gerloff, Sykes and Laverty all retiring from the race.
Jonathan Rea – P1
“It was super-hard to keep concentration for all 21 laps at the front. The pace was ridiculous but that is down to a few things. We had a good set-up on the Ninja ZX-10RR but also Magny Cours did a really good job of the new tarmac. Last year in these conditions a 1’53/54 was a good lap time, and now are doing 1’48/49s in the wet conditions. Massive thanks to my team, and everyone around, because I think we got the best out of the bike. You can never have a perfect set-up for the wet, because the conditions are always changing. Sometimes it is fully wet, sometimes there is just a little bit of water, then sometimes even a drying track. Overall our set-up for the rain was very good.”
Loris Baz – P2
“I’m so happy. It was a crazy race. I know I had fantastic pace all weekend, but I took a gamble in Superpole, I went for the intermediate tyre. I just missed out on the right lap by a few seconds, so I was a bit annoyed at that. I had a great race, great pace and tried to be as close as possible. The pace he was putting was crazy, every lap he improved the time and for 12 or 13 laps we were going faster and faster. I had a moment on the kerb going into the last chicane, I lost a second, and then I just tried to manage the gap with Alex and then staying close to Jonny in case he made a mistake. He doesn’t make many mistakes so hats off to him because it’s not easy to put this kind of pace when you’re playing for a Championship. We have some fans here and it’s my first podium at Magny-Cours so I’m happy for them and we try again tomorrow.”
Alex Lowes – P3
“The first part of the race I felt quite good. In the second part I did not feel that good under hard braking, as the front was sliding a lot. Because I had a bit of a gap behind I just tried to manage the situation. I think we can improve a bit for tomorrow, of course, but I am happy to be back on the podium in these conditions. I have a lot of experience of riding around here in the rain from past seasons, but after the resurfacing it is like a different track. All the braking markers and tip-in points I remember from the past in the rain, you may as well completely forget them!”
Chaz Davies – P4
“I am happy for this result. The feeling with the bike was very good and for this, I am particularly satisfied. Maybe I could have pushed harder but for me, it was fundamental not to make mistakes and to take important points to increase the advantage over Van Der Mark and consolidate the third position in the standings“.
Scott Redding – P5
“In the first laps of the race, I could not find the feeling. Things improved when the track started to dry and I was able to reduce the gap with the front group. When it started raining again I tried to stay in contact, working well especially in braking areas. I think we can do well tomorrow, especially if we can find something in acceleration“.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – P6
“Today I didn’t have a good start to the qualifying session, but I came back in the box and we made a small set-up change and I felt a lot better. But with time for just one lap, I could only manage 13th on the grid – I needed one more lap to improve! In the race, I felt much better on the bike in these conditions, and also for me it is the best race I have ever had in the rain. The feedback from the Yamaha R1 was very good and I know where we can take more steps forward. Today, as a team we are quite happy – I saw it was possible to finish in P5 but on the last lap, Haslam had a big crash and it was not possible to avoid him without braking as his bike came across my race line. So, sixth in the end but the pace was not bad, and tomorrow we will try for a much better position.”
Michael van der Mark – P9
“Superpole was alright, to be honest. The track was starting to dry a bit so again the conditions were different to yesterday. I felt okay, improved my last lap time – the tyres were starting to get really warm and moving around so it was difficult, but P6 on the grid is a good place to start – and I did make a good getaway! I was a bit lucky at Turn 1, the BMW riders crashed in front of me and I managed to get up to second but I just didn’t have the confidence like the guys who passed me. At a certain point, I was riding alone in P4 and I had a good pace, but I just didn’t feel very good with the bike. The feedback and grip wasn’t what I needed, and then I made a mistake and crashed in Turn 13. I picked it up quickly and finished ninth, so we scored some points but I threw away a lot of important places for the fight for P3 in the championship. So, really disappointed, but tomorrow we have two more chances. I’m fast with a bike that I’m not really comfortable with, so hopefully tomorrow with an improved set-up on my R1 I can do well.”
Alvaro Bautista – P12
“Another day of working in the wet. Basically this morning after the FP3 we tried a different setting, looking to improve our feeling ahead of qualifying but unfortunately I did not like it so much because the bike was a bit too soft and even if I got better feedback from the bike’s response, it was perhaps a little too much. So for Race1 we went back to yesterday’s solution in adjusting the electronics. So the feeling was similar to yesterday, especially with the rear which is the area I struggle with more, in that I basically cannot feel it. That means I cannot push without risking losing the rear tyre. I tried to gain every single tenth that I could and overall, we improved our pace and lap times compared to Friday. Not enough of course, and we’re still far from our target but at least we got a lot of data that we will use to try and sort this problem out and do better tomorrow.”
Leon Haslam – DNF
“It was a demanding race and I didn’t make the best start, but despite a few small issues, I felt like I found a very good rhythm. Looking at the pace, I think I was one of the fastest guys on track and I was able to work my way up to sixth place, in the mix for fifth. Right from early on, I was fighting to stop the rear from coming round on corner entry and that’s basically how the crash came about when, on the last lap and while fighting with Toprak for fifth, I pushed the limit a little too far. It’s frustrating as another top five result would have been nice but we need to see the positives and take these into tomorrow’s two races. Let’s see what we can do.”
WorldSBK Race One Results
|1||J. Rea||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||0.000|
|2||L. Baz||Yamaha YZF R1||+3.342|
|3||A. Lowes||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+9.707|
|4||C. Davies||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+14.045|
|5||S. Redding||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+16.427|
|6||T. Razgatlioglu||Yamaha YZF R1||+16.976|
|7||M. Rinaldi||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+23.253|
|8||X. Fores||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+27.173|
|9||M. Van Der Mark||Yamaha YZF R1||+28.706|
|10||L. Mercado||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+32.034|
|11||F. Caricasulo||Yamaha YZF R1||+37.928|
|12||A. Bautista||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+46.009|
|13||S. Barrier||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+46.371|
|14||V. Debise||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+1m39.992|
|15||X. Pinsach||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+1 Lap|
|16||S. Cavalieri||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+1 Lap|
|17||T. Takahashi||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+1 Lap|
|RET||L. Haslam||Honda CBR1000RR-R||1 Lap|
|RET||G. Gerloff||Yamaha YZF R1||15 Laps|
|RET||E. Laverty||BMW S1000 RR||/|
|RET||T. Sykes||BMW S1000 RR||/|
WorldSBK Championship Standings
|4||Michael Van Der Mark||Yamaha||185|
|7||Michael Ruben Rinaldi||Ducati||153|
Soaking wet conditions provided dramatic action up and down the FIM Supersport World Championship grid as the rain fell in France with Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) and Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) duelled it out in a race-long battle for victory in the Pirelli French Round at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours.
Locatelli started the race from a season-low fourth place on the grid but quickly made it up to the front of the field as he took the lead on the opening lap, with Mahias just behind. Locatelli and Mahias were able to pull out a gap to the riders behind as they duelled it out for victory across the 18-lap race, with Locatelli taking the race win ahead of Mahias; the Italian securing his 11th win of the season. Locatelli’s victory means Yamaha have now secured the 2020 Manufacturers’ Title for WorldSSP.
Hannes Soomer (Kallio Racing) was able to take his first podium of the season, and career, despite starting the race in 16th place and take the first podium for Estonia in WorldSSP. The Estonian battled his way through the field and joined the battle for third place early in the race, finishing ahead of Raffaele de Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), Kevin Manfredi (Altogoo Racing Team) and Can Öncü (Turkish Racing Team).
De Rosa, Manfredi and Öncü were separated by just under a tenth when a Red Flag was shown on the final lap after Glenn van Straalen (MPM Routz Racing Team) crashed, with the trio unable to take their fight to the line; with Manfredi being the highest placed WorldSSP Challenge rider in the race.
Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) finished in seventh place, just half a second behind Öncü, but 16 seconds clear of Federico Fuligni (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) as he scored his best result of his career. Hungarian rider Peter Sebestyen (OXXO Yamaha Team Toth) was in ninth place with Danny Webb (WRP Wepol Racing) completing the top ten.
Corentin Perolari (GMT94 Yamaha) finished the race in 11th place with South African rider Steven Odendaal (EAB Ten Kate Racing) in 12th. Spanish rider Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing) was in 13th place with Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Axel Bassani (Soradis Yamaha Motoxracing) completing the points finishes.
Kyle Smith (GMT94 Yamaha) had been in the podium fight but suffered two crashes as he showed rapid pace throughout the race; he first crashed on Lap 6 at Turn 15 and was able to re-mount. He then was able to fight his way back into podium contention but crashed at Turn 1 on Lap 12 as he caught the train and retired from the race.
Galang Hendra Pratama (bLU cRU WorldSSP by MS Racing) crashed out of the race on Lap 5 while Karel Hanika (WRP Wepol Racing), making a wildcard appearance in WorldSSP, crashed out of the race on Lap 8; with both Pratama and Hanika retiring from the race. Stephane Frossard (Moto Team Jura Vitesse) pulled into the pit lane in the early stages of the race while Hikari Okubo (Dynavolt Honda) also retired from the race.
P1 Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team)
“It’s amazing. It’s been a really difficult weekend for me because it’s a new track for me and also I have not run a lot in the rain. The feeling with the bike, the work with the guys is so good, and we did a really good job today. For sure, we are ready for tomorrow. I am happy because now I have also won in the rain, this is good.”
P2 Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
“This was not an easy race. I don’t know why but the conditions were a little bit different compared to the other sessions. I don’t know whether this was the temperature of the water on the track, but the bike was completely different; the grip on the rear was not nice especially in the middle of the corner. I think, in the beginning, I had the rhythm to overtake and push at the front, but I prefer overall because I didn’t have the rhythm to ride alone. Finally, in the last laps, I lost a bit of the rear and Locatelli. I’m happy because I’m fast in all conditions, but the problem is so is Andrea! Tomorrow, I’ll try a different setting and try to understand this little problem of the rear from today.”
P3 Hannes Soomer (Kallio Racing)
“It’s unbelievable! I cannot believe it. The beginning of the race was really difficult because I started from 16th and in the first laps I could not see anything, there was a lot of water. We did a really good yesterday morning; the bike is unbelievable. It’s been a long wait but it’s a really, really good feeling to be here.”
World Supersport Race Results
|1||A. Locatelli||Yamaha YZF R6||0.000|
|2||L. Mahias||Kawasaki ZX-6R||+1.427|
|3||H. Soomer||Yamaha YZF R6||2S|
|4||R. De Rosa||MV Agusta F3 675||2S|
|5||K. Manfredi||Yamaha YZF R6||2S|
|6||C. Oncu||Kawasaki ZX-6R||2S|
|7||M. Gonzalez||Kawasaki ZX-6R||2S|
|8||F. Fuligni||MV Agusta F3 675||3S|
|9||P. Sebestyen||Yamaha YZF R6||1 Lap|
|10||D. Webb||Yamaha YZF R6||1 Lap|
|11||C. Perolari||Yamaha YZF R6||1 Lap|
|12||S. Odendaal||Yamaha YZF R6||1 Lap|
|13||I. Vinales||Yamaha YZF R6||1 Lap|
|14||P. Oettl||Kawasaki ZX-6R||1 Lap|
|15||A. Bassani||Yamaha YZF R6||1 Lap|
|16||A. Ruiz Carranza||Yamaha YZF R6||1 Lap|
|17||L. Cresson||Yamaha YZF R6||1 Lap|
|18||A. Verdoia||Yamaha YZF R6||1 Lap|
|RET||G. Van Straalen||Yamaha YZF R6||/|
|RET||K. Smith||Yamaha YZF R6||/|
|RET||K. Hanika||Yamaha YZF R6||/|
|RET||G. Hendra Pratama||Yamaha YZF R6||/|
|RET||H. Okubo||Honda CBR600RR||/|
|RET||S. Frossard||Yamaha YZF R6||/|
|NS||P. Hobelsberger||Honda CBR600RR||/|
World Supersport Championship Standings
|5||Raffaele De Rosa||119|
|13||Can Alexander Oncu||44|
|17||Alejandro Ruiz Carranza||25|
|22||Galang Hendra Pratama||9|
|25||Jaimie Van Sikkelerus||2|
World Supersport 300
A shortened Race 1 for the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship did not reduce the drama at the Pirelli French Round as Jeffrey Buis (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT) extended his Championship lead to 21 points after a late-race overtake on his teammate Scott Deroue at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours as MTM Kawasaki secured the Teams’ Championship and Kawasaki as Manufacturers’ Champions for 2020.
The race was restarted after a Turn 1 incident on the opening lap of the original race involving Victor Rodriguez Nuñez (EAB Ten Kate Racing) at Turn 1, with the race Red Flagged so he could receive medical help; the Spanish rider taken to the medical centre for a check-up following the incident. The restarted race was reduced to six laps and the rain began to fall during the race.
Buis got a superb start for the race from fourth place and swept into the lead before Tom Booth-Amos (RT Motorsports by SKM-Kawasaki) passed him on the opening lap, with Deroue quickly up to third place from eighth on the grid. Booth-Amos and Buis had pulled out a gap to Deroue but he was able to close it in just a couple of laps.
Buis inherited the lead of the race when Booth-Amos crashed coming out of the final corner with the British rider able to get off the track without assistance. Deroue took the lead from Buis shortly after but Buis stayed with his teammate before making a crucial overtake on Deroue into Turn 13. The duo finished almost nine seconds clear of third-placed Bahattin Sofuoglu (Biblion Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSSP300), with the Turkish rider claiming his fourth podium of the season.
Kevin Sabatucci (Kawasaki GP Project) finished in fourth place with Hugo de Cancellis (Team TRASIMENO) securing a fifth-place finish. Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT) was in sixth place as he held off the challenge from Samuel di Sora (Leader Team Flembbo) by just over a tenth of a second. Koen Meuffels (MTM Kawasaki MOTORPORT) finished in eighth place with Enzo De La Vega (Machado Came SBK) securing his best result of the season with ninth and Ton Kawakami (Yamaha MS Racing) completing the top ten.
Bruno Ieraci (Kawasaki GP Project) finished in 11th place, just ahead of Felipe Macan (Team Brasil AD 78) as the duo battled it out for a strong points finish. Adrian Huertas (ProGP Racing), Tom Bramich (Carl Cox-RT Motorsports by SKM-Kawasaki) and Daniel Blin (Biblion Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSSP300) completed the points with the 14th place for Bramich making him the top finishing Australia. Tom Edwards retired from the race.
Sharni Pinfold did not qualify for the main after crashing in the Last Chance Race and breaking her collarbone.
P1 Jeffrey Buis (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT)
“The rain was so heavy at the end of the race, so I needed to have a plan and at the beginning I thought I needed to stay out front. When Tom crashed, I needed to get past as he was on the track, and on the last lap I overtook Scott and finished first.”
P2 Scott Deroue (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT)
“It was quite difficult from eighth. In the first or second corner, someone crashed so there was a gap I had to close. It was really hard, but we did it. Tom crashed and I took over the lead, but then it started raining really hard. It was difficult, it was working out how fast you could go. In the last corner, it was really wet so I did not know where to brake. I braked a little bit later than the lap before, but Jeffrey overtook me. It was a good race, happy with second but not happy he finished first! We have to do something tomorrow.”
P3 Bahattin Sofuoglu (Biblion Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSSP300)
“My expectation was first or second and the first part of the race was good, but after the middle I had a little bit of a gap to the riders ahead. I tried to push but with the weather conditions it was not possible to push. After, I rode a little bit to save third position and I am happy with it.”
WSSP300 Race Results
|5||H. De Cancellis||Yamaha||B||+13.574|
|7||S. Di Sora||Kawasaki||A||+17.851|
|9||E. De La Vega||Yamaha||B||+25.037|
|22||I. Iglesias Bravo||Kawasaki||B||+42.513|
|RET||A. Coppola||Kawasaki||B||1 Lap|
|RET||N. Kalinin||/||A||1 Lap|
|RET||T. Brianti||Kawasaki||B||1 Lap|
|RET||T. Edwards||Kawasaki||B||2 Laps|
|RET||T. Booth-Amos||Kawasaki||B||3 Laps|
|RET||P. Svoboda||Yamaha||B||4 Laps|
|RET||M. Kawakami||Yamaha||B||5 Laps|
|RET||V. Rodriguez Nunez||Yamaha||A||/|
WSSP300 Championship Standings
|11||Samuel Di Sora||59|
|13||Hugo De Cancellis||49|
|20||Inigo Iglesias Bravo||15|
|23||Glenn Van Straalen||13|
|24||Enzo De La Vega||11|
|26||Victor Rodriguez Nunez||9|