GRT Yamaha Battle Hard During Race in WorldSSP at Donington
It was not the easiest of Sunday's for the GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team at Round 6 of the 2018 FIM Supersport World Championship at Donington Park. Lucas Mahias had shown superb pace all weekend and he fought valiantly in the race despite not having the best feeling with his R6 in the warmer conditions on Sunday. He pushed all the way to cross the line in fifth whilst his teammate Federico Caricasulo suffered from similar issues but in a similar fashion, he maximised his potential on the day to finish in sixth. European Supersport Cup rider Alfonso Coppola once again showed superb progress and enjoyed a promising race to meet the chequered flag in 19th-place and finish second in the ESC.
Mahias arrived at Donington Park second in the championship and trailing rival Randy Krummenacher by just one point. After ending Friday in P2 overall, he qualified in second for Sunday's race but with the track temperature rising to 32°C as the lights went out, he immediately appeared to be struggling to match the pace of the leaders. Showing great patience and maturity, despite being frustrated at the unexplained drop in pace, he battled hard to cross the line in fifth and secure 11 championship points. This result sees Mahias now fourth in the championship standings with 90 points, 12 behind leader Sandro Cortese.
Federico Caricasulo had been the man to beat on Friday after he topped the combined timesheets. Qualifying in seventh on Saturday, in Sunday's race he did not have the best of starts but managed to work his way through the field as the race progressed. Suffering from a similar lack of pace to his teammate, he could not fight for the victory as expected, but limited the damage to his championship aspirations superbly by crossing the line in sixth. Disappointed to miss out on the podium, the 22-year-old Italian collected ten championship points and is now fifth in the overall standings with 79 points, trailing his teammate Mahias by 11 points.
For European Supersport Cup rider Alfonso Coppola, each lap he completes on track is a chance to gain more experience as he continues his excellent progress in adapting to the WorldSSP Championship. The 20-year-old Italian rode hard during the race from 22nd on the grid but made a couple of small mistakes that saw him run wide and lose valuable time. Battling back hard, he finished the race in 19th place and finished second in the ESC. Determined to learn from his mistakes, Coppola is looking forward to riding in Brno where his aim will be to finish as the leading ESC rider as he continues his mission to score his first championship points.
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team will look to mount a fightback when they return to action for Round 7 of the 2018 WorldSSP Championship on the 8th-10th of June.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 5th +5.059s
"I am not very happy because we suffered from a similar issue as we have done in the last few races. I am not sure why I do not have a great feeling with my R6 when the temperature rises but we will keep working to find a solution. For sure, I am disappointed because myself and Federico had excellent pace all weekend but, as everyone could see, we suffered in the hotter temperatures during the race. The last few races have been tough for me and also for the championship because I have gone from leading to now being fourth and 12 points from the top. We must try and find a solution before Brno, which is a very different circuit than Donington because if we are not careful we could struggle there due to the big elevation changes. We will go away, look at the data and work hard to come back stronger!"
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 6th +7.003s
"Today it was impossible for us to do any better. It was tough for me and Lucas as we just could not match the pace of the other Yamaha's. This is the first race where we have struggled like this, it seems the others have improved and we need to make another step or it will continue to be tough. I am looking forward to Brno, I was quick in the recent test we did there but we need to find a solution to the issues and we will focus on bouncing back in Brno."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Junior Team - 19th + 55.715s
"The race was good, as every lap I do is more experience but I made three little mistakes during the race and ran wide after hitting bumps and sliding. You cannot make three errors in a WorldSSP race. I finished 2nd in the European Supersport Cup today, less than 5 seconds behind Emil Lahti, and my mistakes cost me five seconds. This is an important lesson for me, to make sure that in Brno I do not make any errors and my mission will be to finish as the first ESC rider!"
GRT Yamaha Offical WorldSSP Team Manager
"It has not been the perfect weekend we were expecting here at Donington but in moments like these, it is important to learn to make sure that we can avoid a situation like this in the future. Lucas and Federico rode to their absolute maximum but could simply not match the pace of the riders in front due to not feeling great on their bikes. We seem to struggle when the temperature becomes hotter and we have to go through the data to allow us to make a step to get back into the kind of position where the riders and team deserve to be. Both riders and their crews did great jobs considering and we will now try and close the gap again to our rivals. Alfonso showed great pace during the race and if it wasn't for some small errors, he would have been in an even better position and we have found a good base for him to work from. I would like to thank the whole team and Yamaha for all of their hard work this weekend and we are determined to fight back in Brno!"