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Locatelli Takes 11th Win as Soomer Scores Maiden WorldSSP Podium in Magny-Cours Opener

Locatelli Takes 11th Win as Soomer Scores Maiden WorldSSP Podium in Magny-Cours Opener

FIM Supersport World Champion Andrea Locatelli showed no signs of easing up in the opening race at Magny-Cours, as the Evan Bros Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team rider battled through the wet conditions to take his 11th victory of the season, with Kallio Racing Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Hannes Soomer joining him on the podium for his best ever finish in the championship.

In the Superpole, Locatelli’s pole position streak came to an end as he went fourth quickest, but it didn’t take long before he put himself into winning contention in Race 1. By Turn 2, the Italian moved up to second before steaming down the inside of Lucas Mahias’ Kawasaki at the Imola chicane later in the lap. 

From there, Locatelli continued to fend off the French rider, with the gap behind extending and closing throughout the 18-lap race. On the penultimate tour, the 23-year-old took the fastest lap and with it the victory, as a red flag brought the race to a premature end. The result means Locatelli has broken yet another WorldSSP record, with the most points scored in a single season. 

Estonian rider Soomer had shown good pace on Friday, having taken the fastest lap on combined times, but was disappointed to qualify down in 16th. The Kallio Racing Yamaha rider swiftly moved into the top 10 after the opening four laps, continuing to make progress as those ahead made mistakes. At the tight Turn 14 right-hander, Soomer made his move into third and pulled clear of the chasing pack to take his maiden WorldSSP podium. 

Having struggled with the wet conditions on Friday, GMT94 Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Corentin Perolari found a better rhythm in FP3 and went fourth fastest. The French rider qualified eighth for the opening race and battled for a decent haul of points throughout the early stages. In the end, Perolari finished in 11th, just 0.698s outside of the top 10 runners. 

Kallio Racing Yamaha’s Isaac Vinales was also in the battle for 10th, eventually finishing less than a second behind Perolari in 13th, while bLU cRU Yamaha WorldSSP Team by MS Racing’s Andy Verdoïa, who had shown good progression on Saturday to qualify 14th, finished 18th. 

GMT94 Yamaha’s Kyle Smith consistently impressed throughout the practice sessions in the wet and confirmed his incredible pace by scoring his second consecutive pole position at the French circuit. After being forced wide in Turn 3, the British rider was looking to move back towards the front, but fell at the final chicane and picked the bike up in 14th. Smith ran a blistering pace as he made his way back into eighth, before a second fall on lap 13 ended his race. 

bLU cRU Yamaha WorldSSP Team’s Galang Hendra Pratama bounced back from a heavy fall in FP3 to score his career-best result in qualifying, going sixth fastest and just 0.3s behind Locatelli. The Indonesian had a solid start and was setting competitive lap times well inside the top 10, before he fell at Turn 3 on the fourth lap and was forced to retire. 

For full Superpole results, click here.
For full Race 1 results, click here.

Andrea Locatelli: P1

Evan Bros Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team

I’m very happy with my performance, it was incredible to win in the wet conditions. During free practice, I couldn’t get a good feeling with the bike and we were a bit too far off. In the race, the track conditions continued to develop and I started to get into a good rhythm. I was able to push every lap. The track is completely new for me but now I’m starting to get used to it. Obviously, we will push again for the victory tomorrow but it’s always difficult to predict what will happen in these conditions.

Hannes Soomer: P3

Kallio Racing Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team

It was a strange race actually. I had a really bad qualifying and had to start from P16. There was a lot of water and visibility was really low in the opening laps but I just tried to stay clean and not make any mistakes. I felt quite comfortable and then I don’t know how but all of a sudden I found myself in P3. Normally I’m not too strong in the wet, but I had a really good feeling on Friday and the team did a great job in the free practice sessions. I’m confident for tomorrow’s race, hopefully I can stay a bit closer to the front guys at the start and have a chance to fight at the end.