Mahias Holds Nerve in Dramatic Last-Lap Battle to Secure Podium at Donington
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team's Lucas Mahias recorded his fifth podium of the season at Donington Park to extend his championship lead to 30 points after an incredible last-lap battle that saw him cross the line in second at round six of the 2017 FIM Supersport World Championship. His teammate Federico Caricasulo unfortunately crashed out of the re-started race on the opening lap after a red flag had brought an end to the original race after just three laps.
Championship leader Mahias started from second on the grid but got bogged down off the line in the re-started 13-lap race and had to fight his way past a number of riders. He then became involved in an excellent race-long battle with Jules Cluzel that went right down to the very last corner. Mahias gave it his all and managed to hold his nerve to keep Cluzel at bay during a dramatic last lap to secure his fifth podium in the first six races of the season, missing out on the win by just 2.450s.
His teammate Federico Caricasulo enjoyed a good start in the original race from 13th on the grid, moving up to ninth before the red flag came out. In the re-started race he had to do it all again, but unfortunately crashed out at the final corner on the opening lap.
Mahias now leads the championship standings with 105 points and has extended his advantage over the rider in second to 30 points, while his teammate Caricasulo is now eighth in the standings with 35 points.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team
It was a very good race! I fought a lot with Jules but honestly, I would prefer to have been fighting for first position, but for the championship it is very important I finished in second, because I only lost five points. The bike was very good and I am very happy as I managed to improve my lap time by 0.3s from SP2, which is great because I was right on the limit during qualification. It's another good result for the championship, because while Kenan may have closed the gap to me by five points, I managed to extend my overall lead. My plan was to follow Kenan and then go on to win the race but I didnt have a great start, and lost too much time on my opening lap, so my other plan was to finish in second! The battle with Jules was difficult because the bike was sliding a lot and he followed me closely, so I tried to brake as late as possible into every corner. I liked the fight very much, we were both pushing at the limit, so to win the battle was very good. We shall go to Misano with the aim of winning and taking maximum points. I never go to a track wanting to finish fourth or fifth, I want to win the race.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team
I had a good feeling today and was pushing hard in the original race and was fast. In the re-started race I had to start again, only this time I had just 13 laps to overtake the others. On the first lap, I am not exactly sure what happened, but the front closed and I crashed out. I look forward to Misano. Last year I had the pole position, fastest lap in the race and managed to finish second. This year I want to do even better!
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager
It was a tough start to the weekend for Federico, but he improved a lot from Friday and this morning he was feeling confident. He had a very good start in the original race and made up a few positions. When the race was re-started though, he just didnt have the same feeling with the front tyre and at the last corner, it just closed on him. He did not have very good confidence with the front tyre, and thats why he crashed. Lucas again showed his amazing consistency. We thought we would be closer to Sofuoglu in the race, but he got a good start and opened up a gap while Lucas was fighting with Cluzel. Unfortunately, this meant Lucas could not fight for the race win, but we are very satisfied because Lucas showed how competitive he is all the way through from FP1 to the race, and I am delighted with another podium. For Misano we will try and reduce the gap to Sofuoglu and to try to win the race. It was an incredible last lap, Lucas did a fantastic job to keep Cluzel at bay, but that is Lucas, he is a very smart rider. We are looking forward now to going to Misano where the Italian fans create a special atmosphere for our team and riders. It is a home race for Federico and I think he is able to get a good result, and Lucas will try to fight for the win once more.