It was a dramatic start to the final round of the season as Caricasulo topped the times by more than six tenths
The FIM Supersport World Championship made a welcome return to Australia at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit for the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round as Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing) topped the timesheets by more than six tenths of a second ahead of his nearest rivals, while home hero Oli Bayliss (BARNI Spark Racing Team) enjoyed his best session of the season as he claimed fourth place at his home round.
Caricasulo left it late in the 45-minute Free Practice 1 session to post a 1’34.067s to top the times by a mammoth 0.647s at the end of the session ahead of double World Champion Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) in second. Aegerter had been leading the timesheets but Caricasulo’s late lap demoted the Swiss rider down to second place, ahead of Mandalika Race 1 winner Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) who was just 0.069s behind Aegerter.
It was a strong FP1 session for home hero Bayliss as he took fourth place with a 1’34.831s. Bayliss was consistently inside the top ten before taking fourth place at the chequered flag, with Andy Verdoia (GMT94 Yamaha) in fifth place; the Frenchman also enjoying a strong session. Verdoia’s time eight tenths down on Caricasulo, while rookie Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) rounded out the top six and was less than a tenth down on Verdoia.
Championship runner-up Lorenzo Baldassarri (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) was seventh on his first visit to the circuit in WorldSSP, ahead of Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) in ninth ahead of the Frenchman’s final round as he heads for retirement at the end of the year. Yari Montella (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was the lead Kawasaki rider in ninth spot despite having a huge moment through the final corner during the session, while Stefano Manzi (Dynavolt Triumph) completed the top ten.
It was a strong start to his debut weekend for Marcel Scrhoetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) as he took 12th place with a 1’35.563s as a wildcard, as he prepares to join the Championship full-time in 2023. Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), aiming to wrap up third in the Championship, was down in 17th place.
The top six following WorldSSP FP1, full results here:
1. Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing) 1’34.067s
2. Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +0.647s
3. Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) +0.716s
4. Oli Bayliss (BARNI Spark Racing Team) +0.764s
5. Andy Verdoia (GMT94 Yamaha) +0.792s
6. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) 0.814s
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