The rain hit before Race 1 and there was a new winner in the Championship as Yari Montella claimed his first race win
A pre-race rain shower at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit had a dramatic impact on Race 1 for the FIM Supersport World Championship and there was a brand-new winner in the Championship as Yari Montella (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) claimed his first podium and first win of the season after a race-long with Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing), who crashed on the last lap to finish in seventh place during the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Ride.
A NEW WINNER: Montella on the top step
Montella enjoyed his best Tissot Superpole result of the season with third and he converted that into his first podium and victory after a race-long battle with Caricasulo, which culminated on the final lap when Caricasulo crashed. Montella made a first move for the lead on Lap 5 when he went around the outside of Caricasulo at Turn 9 to move into first place, before Caricasulo responded at Turn 1 on Lap 13. The pair switched positions again on Lap 15 at Turn 1 as Montella went through before Caricasulo re-gained the lead on Lap 17 at Turn 3. On Lap 18, the final lap, Montella made a move on Caricasulo as he cut back through Turn 2, before Caricasulo crashed at Turn 4; he finished the race in seventh.
Caricasulo’s crash promoted Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) into second place, almost three seconds down on Montella, while Montella’s teammate, Can Oncu, took third place and secured the same position in the Championship. Bulega had initially dropped down in the early stages of the race before battling back to third and it looked like he was going to catch the leading pair, but Montella and Caricasulo were able to stabilize the gap.
Montella became the tenth different winner for Kawasaki in WorldSSP and the 16th Italian winner in the Championship, while it was also Kawasaki’s first victory in the Championship since Indonesia last year. With his maiden podium, he put Italy on 150 podiums in the Championship, before Beluga’s second place made it 151 with his ninth podium of the season. Oncu took the 11th podium of his career with third.
ROUNDING OUT THE TOP SIX: the Champion in fifth
Lorenzo Baldassarri (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) finished in fourth place after a battle with his title rival Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha), with the Swiss rider in fifth. At the end of the race, the pair were separated by five seconds but that was only after Baldassarri passed Aegerter on the run into Turn 1. They were ahead of Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura WorldSSP) in sixth place, who was three seconds down on Aegerter at the end of the race after starting Race 1 from eighth on the grid.
COMPLETING THE TOP TEN: best results and disappointment
Caricasulo was able to take seventh place despite his last-lap crashed after he re-mounted his Ducati Panigale V2, as he finished six seconds down on De Rosa. He was ahead of Tom Booth-Amos (Motozoo Racing by Puccetti) with the British rider took his best result in the Championship with eighth, despite starting 19th, while Danish rider Simon Jespersen (Kallio Racing) equaled his best result of the season with ninth. Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) rounded out the top ten.
POINTS IN RACE 1: completing the top 15
Dutch rider Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) took 11th after battling back from 15th on the grid while home hero Oli Bayliss (BARNI Spark Racing Team) was 12th in Race 1 for his home round. Peter Sebestyen (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) was 13th after he fought back from running onto the grass on the exit of Turn 1 on Lap 1, while Stefano Manzi (Dynavolt Triumph) scored two points with 14th place despite a Lap 1 crash on the exit of Miller corner, the Turn 4 right-hand hairpin. Luca Bernardi (CM Racing) took his first points in the Championship since his return towards the end of the season, with 15th place.
Only two riders were classified at the end of the race out of the points-paying positions. Andy Verdoia (GMT94 Yamaha) was 17th, eight seconds away from scoring points, while Leonardo Taccini (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) was the last classified rider in 17th place.
HOUSEKEEPING: to note from Race 1
Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) did not complete the opening lap of the race. It was a disastrous start to the race for the Dynavolt Triumph team with both riders crashed on the opening lap. Manzi crashed on the exit of the Turn 4 Miller corner hairpin and re-joined the race to finish in while Hannes Soomer crashed at Turn 10 on the same lap. Although he re-joined, he brought his machine back into the pits and retired from the race. Unai Orradre (MS Racing Yamaha WorldSSP) crashed out of the race at Turn 8 on Lap 4, while wildcard Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) crashed out on the exit of Miller corner on Lap 6. Ondrej Vostatek (MS Racing Yamaha WorldSSP) was another rider who crashed out of the race, with the Czech rider crashing at Turn 5 on Lap 7.
The top six following WorldSSP Race 1, full results here:
1. Yari Montella (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
2. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) +2.706s
3. Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) +5.889s
4. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) +7.223s
5. Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +12.212s
6. Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) +15.183s
Fastest lap: Nicolo Bulega (Ducati) - 1’45.211
Watch the final race of the 2022 season on Sunday at 14:30 Local Time (GMT+11) using the WorldSBK VideoPass!