Mahias on Fire as he Scores Scorching Second at Imola
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Teams Lucas Mahias recorded his fourth podium of the season on Sunday at Imola, extending his championship lead to 27 points in the process. Round five of the 2017 FIM Supersport World Championship saw multiple red flags, restarts and delays, but undeterred the French rider secured second, while his teammate Federico Caricasulo unfortunately had to retire from the race.
Championship leader Mahias arrived in Imola with a 20-point advantage, determined to fight for the podium. The French rider pulled out all the stops in qualifying to start the race from second on the grid. Unfortunately, the original race was red-flagged on the very first lap. Then in the re-started race, once again the red flag brought a halt to proceedings, this time on the fourth lap, with the re-scheduled 11-lap race delayed until after WorldSBK race two.
Remaining focused, Mahias immediately got the holeshot from the re-start and led up until the fourth lap, when Kenan Sofuoglu overtook him. Determined not to give up the race win without a fight, Mahias fought all the way to the line with Sofuoglu, eventually deciding not to take any dangerous risks and securing second place. He finished just 0.438s behind the race winner, but more importantly secured 20 points and extended his advantage in the championship standings to 27 points.
His teammate Caricasulo had a day of bad fortune, first a crash in Warm Up saw him re-break his injured collar bone and then a technical issue on the warm up lap for the original race meant he could not line up on the grid for the start. After the first red flag, he was allowed to start the re-scheduled race, but an incorrect start procedure led to a ride-through penalty. Unfortunately, the appearance of the second red flag before he could serve this meant it would be carried over to the re-scheduled 11-lap race. The Italian tried his best to open a gap before he came in for the penalty, but decided after re-joining in 30th place and with no chance of scoring points that it was not worth making his injury worse so he retired on lap 8.
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team will be back in action at Donington Park on the 26-28th May.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team
I am happy with the race even it if it was a bit strange to have to start it three times, which made it very difficult, but I am happy because it is a very good result for the championship. The race was strange, normally you have 17 laps, but today we only had 11 laps, which made it harder for me as I am fast on the older tyre. That meant we had to come up with a very different strategy for this race. It was possible to fight with Kenan, not win, but definitely fight! This is the first time I have finished a race at Imola, so overall I am very happy. Consistency is key, my target is the championship and after Kenan missed the first race, it is very important to always be on the podium. The new R6 is fantastic, between myself and Federico we have been on the podium in every single race. Now I look forward to Donington!
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team
It was impossible to get a good result today. It was a very unlucky day, I actually crashed today on my own oil in Warm Up, re-breaking my collarbone and completely destroying my bike. My performance in the race was a result of this. If you have a ride through penalty in an 11-lap race, it is impossible to take points. I made some laps after the penalty, just to collect data. I wasnt pushing and I didnt want to damage my shoulder any further so I decided to retire. It is annoying, because every race my shoulder has been getting better, but this weekend I crashed and injured it again. I will try and start from zero again at Donington.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager
It is a bit strange because we are very happy on one side of the garage, and on the other side we are a little bit frustrated. For Lucas, the second place was very, very important. We have increased the lead in the standings and that is important for the Championship. Lucas said he had the potential to fight with Kenan, but he didnt want to take any risks for the championship. That just shows how intelligent he is and how he is ready to be a World Champion. We had a technical problem with Federicos bike on the warm up lap, we tried to fix it and I am very happy with all the team as they worked incredibly hard to get the bike ready in time. It was unfortunate that Federicos ride through penalty carried over from the red-flagged race, as it was impossible to make up that time in an 11-lap race, and he didnt want to take any risks. Therefore, it was smart of him to retire. Now we must try and make another step to arrive at Donington and fight for the win.