The WorldSSP300 pendulum: Diaz regains Championship lead at Misano after his ‘tour de force’

Thursday, 16 June 2022 10:38 GMT

The Valencian rider claimed a podium and a win as WorldSSP300 hit Misano to re-take the lead of the Championship standings

The FIM Supersport 300 World Championship continues to offer a continual back-and-forth in its hierarchy, with no rider firmly established as a clear favourite after the first four rounds of the 2022 season. Alvaro Diaz (Arco Motor University Team) claimed victory and a second place throughout the Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli”, which moved him back to the top of the standings.

The 18-year-old rider arrived at the Adriatic track with an 18-point deficit to then-leader Marc Garcia (Yamaha MS Racing), but by the end of Sunday’s action the situation had been reversed. Diaz left Italy with a 20-point lead over the 2017 Champion, the biggest gap seen so far in the 2022 season.

The two Spaniards have alternated at the top of the table since the season-opening Aragon Round, where Garcia emerged as the leader, tied on points with the Valencian rider. Diaz regained first place at Assen, by just eight points, but his difficult Estoril Round, where an incident with another rider on the first lap of Race 1 left him without points, again took him away from top spot.

In Italy, Diaz was incisive in two hard-fought races. Despite starting from the fifth row of the grid, he quickly and calmly rallied to claim second place in Race 1 behind Matteo Vannucci (AG Motorsport Italia Yamaha), with Vannucci slipstreaming past Diaz on the run to the line to win by just 0.020s. on Sunday, Diaz moved up a spot on the grid to the fourth row as Vannucci was declared unfit following a Warm Up crash. In a race held in sweltering temperatures, he was able to prevail in a tight group finish and claim his second win of the year, and his fifth podium.

“It was an amazing weekend,” said Diaz after Sunday’s action. “I’m very happy. The Race was very difficult because I had some problems with the from tyre. In the last lap, I didn’t think I could be in first in the whole lap and go faster than the other riders. It’s difficult because, in the back straight, if you don’t stay behind the other riders, it’s impossible. But I did and I’m happy. I go first in the Championship and, for me, it’s an amazing weekend.”

The calendar now gives the WorldSSP300 field a break after an intense start to the season, with the Championship not visiting Donington Park for the UK Round. Diaz and his fellow racers will next be on track together at the Autodrom Most in the Czech Republic, a new circuit for Diaz to discover. He said: “It’ll be my first time at Most. I’ve never been there. I think I will do one test, but I don’t know.” Perhaps a note to make is that Diaz had never been racing at Misano before taking a double podium and 45 points out of a possible 50.

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