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Cluzel Scores Crushing Victory in Race 1 at San Juan

Cluzel Scores Crushing Victory in Race 1 at San Juan

GMT94 Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Jules Cluzel completed a perfect Saturday at the Circuito San Juan Villicum, taking pole position, fastest lap and victory in Race 1. ParkinGO Yamaha’s Manuel Gonzalez battled to a second-place finish, while the FIM Supersport World Championship title battle continues onto Sunday.

Having gone fastest of all on Friday, Cluzel continued to dominate the timings in the Superpole, as he took his third pole position of the season. After coming under pressure at Turn 1 in the race, the French rider held onto the lead into Turn 2 and he was able to gradually pull out a gap in the early stages. By the chequered flag, the GMT94 Yamaha rider was 4.774s ahead, taking his second victory of 2021 and maintaining his 100 percent winning record at the Argentinian venue.

Gonzalez qualified in third, just 0.005s down on second, but lost a position on the run into the first corner at the start of Saturday’s race. The 19-year-old was able to get back into the podium spots on lap two though, before a 10-lap battle over second-place with Can Oncu’s Kawasaki ensued. With seven laps to go, the Spanish ace made his move down into Turn 1 and was able to maintain the gap behind to finish second.

The championship battle saw many twists and turns throughout Saturday, with Evan Bros Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Steven Odendaal digging deep to go second-fastest in qualifying. 

The South African ran third at the start, but a couple of errors dropped him down to seventh on lap four. He managed to catch back up to title rival, Ten Kate Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Dominique Aegerter, and found a way through on lap 14 for fourth. Despite coming back under pressure in the closing stages, Odendaal held on to the position, ensuring the championship fight rolled onto Sunday.

Aegerter qualified in fifth but managed to pass Odendaal after he went wide through Turn 8 on lap four. The Swiss rider couldn’t hold onto fourth position in the final moments of the race, and eventually he finished just behind his championship adversary in fifth. The Ten Kate Yamaha rider now holds a 52-point lead going into tomorrow and will be crowned champion if he finishes ahead of Odendaal. 

GMT94 Yamaha’s Valentin Debise enjoyed a strong return to the WorldSSP championship, qualifying sixth, which is where he went on to finish, having dropped to eighth in the initial stages. 

After one of his best Friday performances to date, Evan Bros Yamaha’s Peter Sebestyen battled for a top five place from eighth on the grid in the opening laps, eventually finishing seventh, which represents his best finish of the season.

Kallio Racing Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Vertti Takala fought from 14th to a 10th-place finish, with teammate Hannes Soomer coming back to 12th after dropping to 17th from 12th on the grid at the start.

Yamaha MS Racing’s bLU cRU youngster Unai Orradre picked up points in 13th, with Ten Kate Yamaha’s Leonardo Taccini, filling in for Galang Hendra Pratama this weekend, finishing 17th.

For Race 1 results, click here.

Jules Cluzel: P1

GMT94 Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team

I enjoyed today and yesterday, so it’s so far so good. Great work has been done by my team and myself, so it’s promising for tomorrow. My target is to win again, so I will have a good sleep tonight to be best prepared ahead of Race 2. We had a great weekend last time out, and I think we have a really good pace here. The hard braking and fast entry suits me and I like this circuit. It has been a difficult season, I wasn’t at my strongest so at Portimão I just kept it simple. I tried to take the same approach for this weekend and it seems to have worked so far.

Manuel Gonzalez: P2

ParkinGO Yamaha

It was a really difficult race for me. I suffered a bit at the start, but once I got into third I could get into a rhythm. At that point though, Jules had already built a gap so I just focused on getting into second. I’m really happy with the race, the bike felt good but it wasn’t 100 percent compared to yesterday after we made some adjustments. Tomorrow we can continue working and I hope I will be closer to the front tomorrow. The battle with Can was good for me, I felt I had the pace and once I got ahead I was able to manage the gap behind.