Mahias Retains Championship Lead with Podium at the Lausitzring
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team's Lucas Mahias survived a scare to secure his sixth podium of the season to lead the championship by one point after a red flag ended the race prematurely at the Lausitzring for round eight of the 2017 FIM Supersport World Championship. His teammate Federico Caricasulo was incredibly unlucky as he crashed out of the race while battling for the lead in the incident that led to the red flag.
Mahias started from sixth on the grid and when the lights went out he immediately showed he meant business by getting involved in an excellent battle for fourth with championship rival Kenan Sofuoglu. After a couple of big moments in the opening laps while fighting with Sofuoglu he settled into an excellent rhythm and was the quickest man on track, setting the fastest lap of the race, a 1:41.109, on lap 15. On lap 18, he was in third just behind Caricasulo when, unfortunately, the Italian crashed at turn 3 and Mahias had nowhere to go and hit his teammate's bike in an incident that saw the race red-flagged. Incredibly, Mahias managed to get back on his R6 and return to the pits within the 5-minute time limit, which meant he was eligible to be included in the results that were based on the riders' positions at the end of lap 16. His quick thinking ensured that he will head to the next round in Portimao leading the championship, although the gap to Sofuoglu in second is now just one point.
Caricasulo started from the middle of the front row after showing great pace all weekend. At the start, he shot off the line and immediately tagged on to the rear of race-leader Sheridan Morais. They were inseparable throughout the early stages of the race, with the 21-year-old Italian biding his time and waiting to make his move. On lap 17, he made an excellent pass on Morais to take the lead and immediately became involved in a great battle with Sofuoglu who was on a charge, but while attempting an overtake on the following lap, he lost the front and crashed, with his bike running across track and hitting his teammate's machine. Caricasulo was immediately taken to the medical centre for checks but luckily, apart from a slight concussion and some light bruises, he was okay.
It was an excellent debut for the Kallio Racing Team on the 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6 as Sheridan Morais was awarded the race victory after a dominant performance that saw him lead for the first 16 laps. His teammate Niki Tuuli also impressed on the new bike to cross the line in fifth to ensure three Yamahas in the top five.
This result means that Mahias still leads the championship after eight rounds with 121 points, whilst Caricasulo is now sixth in the standings with 51 points. The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team return to action in Portimao for round nine of the 2017 FIM Supersport World Championship on the 15th-17th of September.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 3rd +0.600s
"I am not very happy for the result because today I felt I had the rhythm to win the race. I followed my strategy, which was to save my tyres so I could push a lot in the final part of the race. In the beginning, I lost the front twice and didn't feel that confident, but then I found a good rhythm and did a lot of laps in the low 1:41's. Towards the end of the race I overtook Cluzel for third and I was preparing to make a move on the leading two riders, but then my teammate Caricasulo crashed, and it was impossible to avoid his bike. It was unlucky, but I had some good luck too because I managed to make it back to the pits and finished in third. Although obviously, I would have preferred to have finished ahead of Kenan Sofuoglu! In Portimao, I will give everything to win the race, as right now I only have a one-point lead over Kenan and it is like we have started the championship again. My mission is to go out and try to win every one of the last four races!"
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - DNF
"I was very happy to be battling at the front during the race and I feel I had the pace to win, but I was unlucky and while fighting with Kenan for the lead I crashed! I am lucky to be okay, as it could have been a lot worse. The good thing is the pace we showed this weekend and we will try and build on this so we can be even stronger at Portimao."
GRT Yamaha Offical WorldSSP Team Manager
"Lucas was very clever! He didn't lose concentration when he crashed and the red flag was shown, managing to get back on the bike and get back to the pits to make sure he finished in third. On one hand, I am very happy, as both riders had the pace to win the race and the team did a great job. I am also very glad that Federico is okay because it was a scary accident but, obviously, it was a shame and very unlucky that both our riders crashed. The most important thing is that Federico is okay and will be able to go to Portimao for a test and the race. Lucas still leads the championship by one point, which is important, because if he did not bring the bike back to pits he would have been trailing Kenan by 20 points and it the championship would have been almost out of reach. Instead, we are still leading and can take the fight to our rivals in the last four races although every race now is going to be tough. I want to congratulate Yamaha, Kallio Racing, and Sheridan Morais on his win, they did a great job! We are ready and looking forward already to Portimao!"