Nicholas Spinelli on "incredible" WorldSSP podium, returns VFT Racing to Top 3

Tuesday, 28 February 2023 09:41 GMT

A fine ride in tricky conditions for the reigning Italian Supersport champion, is it a sign of big thigns to come in 2023?

It was an electric start to the 2023 FIM Supersport World Championship as Race 1 of the season gave plenty of action, drama and excitement from the start. Despite delays for weather and a red flag after a crash involving Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) and Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team), racing resumed to give one of the most unpredictable results possible. Nicholas Spinelli (VFT Racing Team) was one of the stand-out riders and having found good pace throughout the course of the weekend, was on the podium in his first full-time race in the class.

Having originally qualified well with a fifth position and a second row start, Spinelli found himself starting from eighth in the restart, having dropped back in the first part of the race. However, once racing got underway – now clearly in wet conditions – the 21-year-old Italian found his feet and picked his way through the field. He was up inside the top six by the end of the first lap, before being in a battle for third place with Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) at half-race distance. Having got ahead of Manzi once and for all on Lap 7, Spinelli hunted down Britain’s John McPhee (Vince64 by Puccetti) and got him on the final lap at Turn 2, becoming the 99th different rider to achieve a WorldSSP podium.

Speaking about his strong debut and a career-first podium, Spinelli was overjoyed: “It’s incredible! For me to be on the podium in the first race, it’s amazing! It’s possible because of the team, Yamaha, my parents and my manager. I saw McPhee and I pushed a lot. On the last lap, I passed him and then I saw Bulega but it’s not possible to catch him for first position. For me, the rain tyre was the best solution as at the beginning of the race, it was raining. In the middle of the race, the track was drying but then at the end of the race, it rained again!”

Team manager for the VFT Racing Team, ex-rider Fabio Menghi, was proud to see his team on the WorldSSP podium for the first time in 2023: “m really pleased with the result. We’ve worked hard and have been competitive in all conditions and so the podium is the cherry on the cake and repays our efforts and passion. It’s important to remember that Nicholas is making his debut with the bike at this track, really demonstrating his worth. We’re working well as a group and are sure that, if we continue along this path, we can maintain a high level and do very well. I want to thank the team and all our sponsors for their fundamental support.”

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