Gonzalez bounced back from a difficult round at Navarra to claim his first WorldSSP victory after a race-long battle with the Championship leader
After taking his first FIM Supersport World Championship podiums at the Autodrom Most, Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha ParkinGo Team) bounced back from a difficult Navarra Round to claim his first victory in WorldSSP in Race 2 for the Motul French Round at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours after a thrilling 12-lap battle.
The race was Red Flagged on the opening lap before a complete restart and the duration shortened to 12 laps, with Gonzalez and Championship leader Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) battling throughout the race. Aegerter looked to make a move on the Spanish rider a couple of times into Turn 15 but ran wide on the exit which allowed Gonzalez to reclaim the lead through the Lycee Complex and claim his first victory.
It means the 19-year-old is now the second-youngest rider to win in WorldSSP at 19 years, 1 month and 1 day old, moving ahead of Yoann Tiberio who claimed victory at Monza at 19 years, 5 months and 21 days old. Andy Verdoïa, who competed in the 2021 French Round, became the youngest winner in the class in 2020 with his win at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya at 17 years, 10 months and 22 days old.
Reflecting on his first win in WorldSSP, Gonzalez said: “I think great is not the best word, but there are no words for this race because it was the best race of my life. I knew we had a really good pace because in Warm-Up we worked a lot. Race-by-race from Most we knew we had the win really close. We had to work to be aggressive in the race, trying to be more in first position because I think I am faster going alone than I am behind. Today was a perfect day. I knew I had to overtake Aegerter before the last lap because always the last corner overtake, you don’t know what is going to happen. The plan was perfect so I’m really happy.”
After his record-equalling run of 25 races in the points came to an end at the Circuito de Navarra, Gonzalez lost ground in the battle for third in the Championship as he scored no points in Race 1 after a crash and was forced to miss Race 2 after being declared unfit. Back on the bike for the first time in racing conditions, Gonzalez was able to take his first victory and recover the ground he lost in the standings. The Spanish rider lies fifth in the standings after the French Round, three points behind Luca Bernardi (CM Racing) and 20 behind Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing).
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