After losing out on the fastest time from the free practice sessions to GMT94 Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Jules Cluzel in FP3 this morning, Locatelli produced an almighty lap in qualifying to maintain his 100 percent pole position record in WorldSSP.
As the race got underway, the Italian rider lost out to Cluzel on the run into Turn 1 and settled in behind his closest championship challenger over the opening three laps. Locatelli was back through in the final corner, but his French rival powered back by down the straight.
On the next lap, the Evan Bros Yamaha rider made a near-identical pass into the last left-hander and this time managed to keep Cluzel behind down the long straight. From there, Locatelli continued to pull away and built a margin of 3.221s as he took the chequered flag, smashing the lap record in the process.
After losing the lead, Cluzel was untroubled from those behind and took a comfortable second-place finish, his fifth of the 2020 season, which marked his 50th WorldSSP career podium.
Behind, Kallio Racing Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Isaac Vinales made a lightning getaway and was up to fourth in the opening stages of the race. On lap four, and while battling for a podium spot, the Spaniard ran deep into Turn 1 and dropped to 12th but fought back through to seventh at the finish, just 0.012s behind sixth.
GMT94 Yamaha’s Corentin Perolari jumped two places from his ninth-place start in the early stages, but struggled with tyre wear in the latter part of the race and dropped back to 10th. Kallio Racing’s Hannes Soomer was also in the top five battle but a fall at Turn 9 on lap six demoted him to 20th, before the Estonian eventually retired with damage.
Fresh from his first points finish in Portimao, bLU cRU Yamaha WorldSSP Team’s Galang Hendra Pratama was hindered by limited track running earlier in the weekend and just missed out on a top 15 result in 16th, with teammate Andy Verdoïa finishing 20th.
For full Race 1 results, click here.