The first race of the weekend on Saturday proved challenging for the R6 mounted riders when, after a promising start and a podium challenge, Nicholas Spinelli (VFT Racing Yamaha) crashed out of contention. This unfortunate DNF for the speedy Spinelli was followed by a fall for Evan Bros Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Andrea Mantovani and a collision involving another rider for Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team).
However, Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team) and Stefano Manzi scored some solid points when they finished the tough race in sixth and seventh, respectively, and Jorge Navarro (Ten Kate Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team) crossed the line 12th.
Some of this misfortune continued into Sunday’s action when Debise was ruled out with a crash at Turn 3 on the opening lap of the race - a weekend to forget for the talented and experienced Frenchman. Similarly, van Straalen also went down early in the 18-lap race, and Team Yamaha Thailand’s Apiwath Wongthananon exited the race just one lap from the end.
However, this second day of racing saw smiles return to the faces of Yamaha fans when Manzi put in a tenacious performance. Determined to regain the form he had in Australia, he went on a charge right from the start of the race, slotting into fifth place and closing down those ahead of him. The Italian made it to fourth place and was clearly aiming for a trophy, staying calm and focused on his goal. He pushed on to second place but didn’t stop there, making an emphatic pass and taking the lead.
A fierce battle commenced between Manzi and Federico Caricasulo, with neither willing to relent. As the race came to a thrilling conclusion, the Yamaha rider was forced to settle for a great second place – just three-tenths of a second from the win. He currently sits second in the standings, 18 points from the series lead.
Jorge Navarro continued his adaptation to the WorldSSP class with eighth place, and
fellow rookie Nicholas Spinelli took ninth. Anupab Sarmoon (Team Yamaha
Thailand) followed up with another points-scoring finish on Sunday (15th) after
taking 13th on Saturday. After a disappointing Race 1, Andrea Mantovani (Evan
Bros Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team) crossed the line in 17th on Sunday.
The determination shown by all the Yamaha-supported riders during a tricky weekend was admirable, and Manzi’s excellent podium gives a nice touch to a weekend marked by bad luck for many of the R6 riders.
The next round sees the series head to Europe with round three at TT Circuit Assen at the end of April.
WorldSSP Race 1 Full Results
WorldSSP Race 2 Full Results