Battling teammates, three manufacturers duelling and unpredictability define final race of 2020 WorldSSP season
There were 18 laps of drama, action and battles as the FIM Supersport World Championship came to a thrilling conclusion at the Circuito Estoril for the Pirelli Estoril Round. The race was eventually won by Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) despite pressure from, at various points, up to seven other riders throughout the race as the season ended in sensational style.
Andrea Locatelli (BARDHAL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) had started the race from pole position but soon found himself down in fourth place having been jumped on the opening lap by Mahias, teammate Philipp Oettl and Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse); a sense of what was to come throughout the race right from the start.
Mahias had claimed the lead on the opening lap and looked as if he was going to pull out a gap but the chasing group were able to reel him in after five laps; with the Frenchman losing the lead to teammate Oettl at Turn 1. Mahias was able to fight back a lap later to regain the lead on Lap 6, but Italian De Rosa claimed the lead on Lap 7.
The lead changed once again on Lap 8 as Oettl passed De Rosa at the right-hander of Turn 2, but that would only last another lap as De Rosa reclaimed the lead ahead of Mahias and Oettl, with Locatelli lurking just behind – although the Italian faced pressure from South African Steven Odendaal (EAB Ten Kate Racing). Mahias took the lead with an aggressive move on Lap 9 at Turn 9 on De Rosa, with the battle continuing throughout the race.
De Rosa took the lead of the race at Turn 1 on Lap 14 but was unable to hold it for the rest of the race; Mahias taking the lead on the final lap from teammate Oettl after Oettl had taken the lead on Lap 17. It meant Mahias would take his second victory of the year ahead of Locatelli in second; the 2020 Champion moving ahead of De Rosa by just 0.002s on the line.
Odendaal finished the race ahead of Oettl after the German fell down to fifth in the latter stages of the race, with Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing) finishing sixth as he almost pipped Oettl to a top five finish. Oettl’s fifth place was enough to overhaul Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) in the Championship for third place with Cluzel finishing in ninth; Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) in seventh and Estonian Hannes Soomer (Kallio Racing) in eighth.
British rider Danny Webb (WRP Wepol Racing) secured a top ten finish in the James Toseland-run team with teammate and wildcard Karel Hanika in 11th as the team finished the season with two points finishes. Axel Bassani (Soradis Yamaha Motoxracing) finished in 12th place but was not enough to claim the WorldSSP Challenge title as Kevin Manfredi (Altogoo Racing Team) claimed that title despite a 18th place finish.
Corentin Perolari (GMT94 Yamaha) was 13th with Turkish star Can Öncü (Turkish Racing Team) in 14th place and Andy Verdoïa (bLU cRU WorldSSP by MS Racing) completing the points-paying positions with 15th place.
Hikari Okubo (Dynavolt Honda) was an early retirement from the race as he pulled off the track on the opening lap; the Japanese’s rollercoaster season ending in disappointment as he was forced to retire from the race on the opening lap of the race. Galang Hendra Pratama (bLU cRU WorldSSP by MS Racing) and Peter Sebestyen (OXXO Yamaha Team Toth) were also retirements from the race, Indonesian rider Hendra Pratama crashing out of the race.
Top six following WorldSSP Race 2, full results here:
1.) Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
2.) Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) +0.886s
3.) Raffaele de Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) +0.888s
4.) Steven Odendaal (EAB Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +1.018s
5.) Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) +1.465s
6.) Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing) +1.670s
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