Starting from pole position, his third of the season, Locatelli fell into the clutches of GMT94 Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team riders Cluzel and Corentin Perolari off the line. The Italian fought back into second, behind Cluzel’s Yamaha R6, before a titanic battle for the lead ensued. On lap four, Locatelli fired back through, but his title rival continued to hound the rear of his Yamaha R6 and retook the position.
Three laps later, Locatelli came back through on Cluzel and began to pull away. The championship leader never looked behind and was helped when Cluzel fell on lap 13 in Turn 5 to claim a hard fought fourth consecutive victory, marking the best start to a WorldSSP campaign in championship history.
Behind, GMT94’s Perolari entered the final lap in fifth, but managed to take fourth on the run to the line, finishing just 0.011 seconds off the podium and remains fourth in the standings.
Kallio Racing Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team rider Isaac Vinales was also in the battle for the final spot on the rostrum and overtook fellow countryman Rafaelle De Rosa with just a few corners to spare. However, the Spaniard struggled out of the final turn and dropped from third to fifth on the start-finish straight.
Having lost 15 seconds from the earlier incident, Cluzel was able to recover to a sixth-place finish, ensuring he held onto second in the championship, as Kallio Racing’s Hannes Soomer kept his top 10 run going in ninth.
bLU cRU Yamaha WorldSSP Team’s Galang Hendra Pratama narrowly missed out on a first points-finish in the championship, crossing the line in 17th, as Andy Verdoia was denied a chance to fight for more points following an engine issue.
For full Race 1 results, click here.