The surprise of 2021: Bernardi’s rise to the WorldSSP rostrum

Thursday, 3 June 2021 08:22 GMT

Luca Bernardi made history at Estoril by becoming the first rider from San Marino to stand on the WorldSSP podium

One of the standout performers in the early stages of the 2021 FIM Supersport World Championship season has been San Marino’s Luca Bernardi (CM Racing), who has shown impressive pace across both MotorLand Aragon and the Circuito Estoril which culminated in the 19-year-old claiming his and San Marino’s first WorldSSP podium at the Gaerne Estoril Round in what was his fourth race in the class.

WorldSSP is not Bernardi’s first venture into the WorldSBK paddock after he competed in WorldSSP300 in 2017 and 2018 claiming a best result of fourth place in his ten races, the fourth coming at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” which is where WorldSSP will visit next in the 2021 campaign. He also claimed a fifth place at Magny-Cours, another circuit WorldSSP will visit later on in 2021.

Bernardi competed in two WorldSSP300 races in 2017, which was the same year he claimed the Italian CIV SSP300 title with three wins and nine podiums from 12 races; winning the championship with 218 points. He remained in the same championship for 2018, missing out on defending his title by just eight points as he once again claimed three wins from 12 races.

2019 was the year Bernardi made the move into Supersport, remaining in Italy, as he switched to the CIV SSP for a new challenge. His first season brought one podium and one pole position, but it would be the 2020 campaign where Bernardi would shine in Italy in the disrupted year. In an eight-race season, Bernardi claimed four wins and seven podiums as he won the title by 18 points; his second national title in three years.

That success gave him the opportunity to step up to the world stage with CM Racing, with technical support provided by the Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha team. The trio appears to be working well together with Bernardi’s straight away scoring a top-five finish in his first race in WorldSSP, before taking his first podium on the world stage in just his fourth race.

After Bernardi’s history-making exploits in Portugal, he reflected on this achievement as he said: "I'm really over the moon with this second position! We have been working in the right way since Friday and today we have reaped the benefits. I started off better than usual and then tried to make up ground on the front guys lap by lap, without exaggerating. When I arrived in the first group, I realised that this could be my day, so I gave everything to get on the podium: during the last lap I thought I could win, but this second position is a fantastic result, which fills me with joy.”

Manuel Cappelletti (CM Racing Team Director) added: "We are extremely satisfied with what we achieved over the weekend. After yesterday's excellent race, where only a bad start prevented him from staying with the best riders, today Luca amazed everyone, fighting on equal terms with the best riders in the category, and winning a beautiful and well-deserved second place on a track that until Friday he had never seen. I really have to thank the whole team for the work done, especially Alessio Cavaliere who believed in the project and in Luca from the beginning.””

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