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Cluzel Wins Immense Portimão Race 1 Dual for First Victory Since 2019

Cluzel Wins Immense Portimão Race 1 Dual for First Victory Since 2019

GMT94 Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Julez Cluzel returned to the top step of the FIM Supersport World Championship podium for the first time since Argentina 2019, with a dramatic victory in a memorable Race 1 at Portimão. Six riders were in winning contention in the closing stages, with ParkinGO Yamaha’s Manuel Gonzalez and Ten Kate Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Dominique Aegerter completing the podium positions.

After qualifying on pole position, his first since the Aragón season-opener, Cluzel had dropped to fourth by the end of the first lap. The French rider was then locked in an immense five-way battle for the lead over the course of the race, with Gonzalez and Aegerter also involved in the scrap. 

On the penultimate lap, Cluzel slipped up the inside of Gonzalez to take control of the race and went on to set a new lap record on the final tour, stopping any chance of a challenge from behind to take an emotional win.

Spanish youngster Gonzalez had initially set the fastest time in qualifying, but had his best lap deleted for a yellow flag infringement and started the race in fourth. The 19-year-old battled among the podium places, taking the lead several times throughout the race, but with the head wind down the main straight, he was unable to pull away. The ParkinGO Yamaha rider eventually finished in second, moving him back into third in the standings.

Championship leader Aegerter was second in qualifying, just marginally behind pole, but managed to take the lead of the race on the run to Turn 1. The Swiss rider jostled for position, dropping to fifth with three laps to go, but was able to recover back into third place, 0.565s behind Cluzel.

Evan Bros Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Steven Odendaal was seventh in qualifying, and lost touch with the lead group as he battled over sixth in the early stages. With five laps to go though, the South African started to reel them back in, but couldn’t quite get in the mix and crossed the line in sixth, ensuring the title wouldn’t be decided this weekend.

CM Racing Team’s Randy Krummenacher made his way into seventh from 13th on the grid, with GMT94 Yamaha’s latest replacement rider, Yari Montella, impressing on his first WorldSSP outing to finish 10th. 

Evan Bros Yamaha’s Peter Sebestyen was just behind the Italian in 11th, with Kallio Racing Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Hannes Soomer improving to finish 13th, overtaking Biblion Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Federico Cairasulo who struggled for pace late in the race and crossed the line 14th.

The Italian’s teammate, Maria Herrera, went from 27th to finish 18th, with Kallio Racing Yamaha’s Vertti Takala 21st, Ten Kate Yamaha’s Galang Hendra Pratama 22nd, and bLU cRU rider Unai Orradre 26th. 

For Race 1 results, click here.

Jules Cluzel: P1

GMT94 Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team

Really good weekend for the French riders! I enjoyed today, although the race was difficult and I struggled in the first part, but the pace I had yesterday started to come back. In the last three laps, I was not sure if I would be able to pass Manuel. I managed to get through on the straight and then got the fastest lap of the race, and the new record, to take the win. I felt strong and physically I’m feeling good. I was struggling a bit with the grip, but as the race went on I was able to improve. Tomorrow it looks like the weather could play a part, but I feel we are fast in all conditions. Today we did the job, tomorrow let’s see what happens. 

Manuel Gonzalez: P2

ParkinGO Yamaha

The wind today made it really difficult, because I knew I could be fast when I was in first but I wasn’t able to pull away. We made some set-up changes on the bike and the bike was working really well. Jules was very fast in the last sector and I couldn’t create a gap, so it wasn’t possible to get the win today, especially after he did a really good final lap. I’m really happy with second, and now the goal to finish second in the championship is even closer. We have to keep working like this and I have a lot of expectations for tomorrow’s race. I hope it’s dry; I am also fast in the wet but on this track it could be like an ‘aquapark’! We’ll push to the limit whatever the weather and I hope to be on top.

Dominique Aegerter: P3

Ten Kate Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team

I was hoping for a little bit better to be honest. Today in the race I couldn’t push like I could yesterday afternoon. The wind doesn’t help and we had a lot of slipstream battles going on. I gained some positions, lost some positions, but Cluzel and Gonzalez could ride at a really good pace. We have another chance tomorrow and for sure I will try to improve. Big thanks to the team and Yamaha for giving me a great package today, just hope we can be back on the top step in Race 2.