Fireworks Expected as WorldSSP Title Battle Resumes in Portimão
The Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão, Portugal plays host to Round 9 of the FIM Supersport World Championship this weekend. With four races remaining and the top three in the standings separated by just 41 points, fireworks can be expected as the Yamaha trio of Randy Krummenacher, Federico Caricasulo and Jules Cluzel resume a battle for the title that has raged all season.
It's Bardahl Evan Bros. Yamaha Supported WorldSSP rider Krummenacher who leads the way in the ongoing title fight. The Swiss rider has four race wins to his name in 2019 and has only once finished off the podium, taking fourth place last time out in Donington Park. But while Krummenacher tops the championship standings going into the last four races, he's seen his advantage drastically reduced by Caricasulo, who currently lies second and has closed to within 15 points of his Bardahl Yamaha teammate.
This year Caricasulo has impressed with both his speed and consistency, finishing on the podium in every single race and racking up race wins in Assen and Jerez. The Bardahl Yamaha rider topped the timesheet ahead of his teammate at the recent two-day Portimão test and heads into this weekend feeling confident and determined to significantly reduce the 15-point gap to the top of the championship standings.
The only person other than the Bardahl Yamaha teammates to stand on the top step of the podium this season is GMT94 Yamaha Supported WorldSSP rider, Cluzel, who added a win at Donington Park last time out to his win in Thailand earlier in the season. Third in the series standings and with a 41-point deficit to the championship leader, Cluzel heads into the final four races of the season looking to add to his win tally, starting this weekend in Portimão.
One title that has already been decided this season is the WorldSSP Manufacturer's Championship, which was wrapped up by Yamaha for the seventh time, and the third in as many seasons, last time out in Donington Park. Yamaha have won every race this season and finished first and second in seven of those, making the new Yamaha YZF R6 the bike to beat in the WorldSSP class.
Bardahl Evan Bros. Yamaha Supported WorldSSP
"My first target from Portimão onwards must be to take points from my teammate in order to close the gap to the top of the standings. The second target is to win races. The two-day Portimão test was an important one for us. We were very fast, and it means we go into the first of the remaining four races in Portugal with some confidence. We have a lot of data from the test that we can refer back to, so I think we'll be strong from the first free practice session at Portimão this weekend."
GMT94 Yamaha Supported WorldSSP
"I don't really have a plan for the last four races; it's just going to be full gas, trying to finish on the podium every weekend and trying to win races when it's possible. The main thing is to enjoy the racing, because when you're enjoying it then you're fast. It will be an intense battle between the two Bardahl Yamaha riders now. We have only four races left and they both need to do something if they're to take the title. This could work in my favour, although neither has really made a mistake so far, but it does mean they have more to think about now than just race wins. I'm not thinking about the championship at all, I'm just taking it race by race. Should something happen and a little bit of luck comes my way then I'm ready to take advantage, but I'm not relying on that. I just want to win races and end the season on a high note."