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Odendaal Makes it Three in a Row with Victory in Estoril Race 1

Odendaal Makes it Three in a Row with Victory in Estoril Race 1

After taking his first two victories in the Aragón FIM Supersport World Championship opener, Evan Bros Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Steven Odendaal made it three in a row in Saturday’s race at Estoril, after a thrilling five-way, race-long battle for the lead. GMT94 Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Jules Cluzel also made the podium, finishing just 0.750 seconds behind in third.

After qualifying on the front row of the grid in third, Odendaal quickly fired his way into the lead by Turn 1. Throughout the 18-lap race, he and Kawasaki’s Philipp Öttl swapped places for the lead, and heading onto the final lap the South African made his final move for the front. He dived down the inside at the first corner and held on to take victory, extending his championship lead to 31 points.

Behind, GMT94 Yamaha’s Cluzel held onto his fourth-place starting position for much of the opening stages. On lap five, the French rider’s teammate, Federico Caricasulo, fell, moving Cluzel into the top three, which he held until the final lap.

He then had a battle for the last spot on the podium with Ten Kate Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Dominique Aegerter, with the two trading places a number of times. In the end though, it was Cluzel who came out on top to take his 55th WorldSSP podium. That meant Swiss rider Aegerter just missed out on his second podium in only his third start, with the former Moto2 rider coming home fourth. 

ParkinGO Yamaha’s Manuel Gonzalez enjoyed a superb launch off the line, moving from ninth to sixth in the opening stages. He then climbed to fifth and hung onto the lead battle throughout the race.  The Spaniard was just 1.023 seconds off the race-winner by the chequered flag, recording his second top-five finish of the 2021 campaign.

Kallio Racing Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Hannes Soomer battled from his seventh-place starting position to finish eighth, while GMT94 Yamaha’s Caricasulo, who had started on pole position, fought back to 12th after his fall earlier in the race.

Finnish rider Vertti Takala was 18th for Kallio Racing Yamaha, having initially crossed the line 17th prior to a track limits penalty, with Biblion Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Maria Herrera just behind in 19th, while Ten Kate Yamaha’s Galang Hendra Pratama was 20th. 

For Race 1 results, click here.

Steven Odendaal: P1

Evan Bros Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team

I was happy with the pace at the beginning, then I was overtaken. I saw Philipp was running a nice pace, so I decided to try and see if I could learn some things. With three laps to go, I knew I needed to make my move because I could see the others were right behind. If I hadn’t of made a move, I could have lost a podium altogether. I pushed to make the move, and in the final lap I managed to make it stick. Very good race for us, especially for the championship, and I’m looking forward to the next one.

Jules Cluzel: P3

GMT94 Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team

A podium’s a podium, but this circuit has to be one of the worst on the calendar for me. I had difficulties last weekend, but at least we were fast. We need to analyse the data and see if we can improve for tomorrow. The main issue I’m having is traction, I’m not sure why exactly, it could be to do with my riding style or my weight, but it’s an area we need to look at. Still, the points are good for the championship, we need to maximise this weekend as much as possible to ensure we are still in the fight going into future rounds, where we will be stronger.