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Odendaal Takes Maiden WorldSSP Race Win in Season Opener at Aragón

Odendaal Takes Maiden WorldSSP Race Win in Season Opener at Aragón

In a frenetic opening 2021 FIM Supersport World Championship race, Evan Bros Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s newest arrival Steven Odendaal battled through to take a stunning victory, after a last lap pass on Ten Kate Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s rookie Dominique Aegerter.

Having qualified fourth, Odendaal retained his position at the start, battling amongst the top five for much of the 15-lap race. On the ninth lap, an incident ahead involving GMT94 Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Jules Cluzel and MV Augusta’s Niki Tuuli saw the South African promoted to third. 

On lap 13, Odendaal moved up to second, with a late braking move into Turn 1, and was now chasing Aegerter’s Yamaha R6 for the lead in the closing stages. After swapping positions throughout the final two laps, the 28-year-old made his move heading into the final corner of the last lap to take his first-ever WorldSSP win. 

Swiss rider Aegerter had qualified fifth in his debut WorldSSP Superpole and made a superb start to move into the top three early on. The former Moto2 racer initially fell back to fourth, but was promoted to second courtesy of the incident ahead. On the final corner of lap 12, he hit the front and defended valiantly from Odendaal, but could not hold on, eventually finishing just 0.099 seconds behind. 

ParkinGO Yamaha’s Manuel Gonzalez qualified in 11th, but made steady progress throughout the race. In the closing stages the Spanish youngster was sitting in sixth place, and on the final lap he made yet another place to cross the line in fifth. 

That move was on GMT94 Yamaha’s Federico Caricasulo, who had been running in fifth for much of the second half of the race after qualifying in sixth. The Italian pushed to fight back after Gonzalez had overtaken him, but finished 0.079 seconds behind in sixth. 

Kallio Racing Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Hannes Soomer started the race in seventh, and although the Estonian initially dropped back, he found himself back in seventh by the end of the race. 

Biblion Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSSP300 Supported Team’s Maria Herrera made good progress into the points from 18th on the grid, climbing to 12th at the finish, with Ten Kate Yamaha’s Galang Hendra Pratama rounding out the top 15, having made up nine places from his 24th-place grid spot. 

GMT94 Yamaha’s Cluzel led for most of the race from pole position, until lap nine when he was collected by Tuuli heading into Turn 12. The French rider fell heavily, but thankfully came out of the incident without injury. 

Kallio Racing Yamaha’s Vertti Takala, making his debut in WorldSSP this weekend, had qualified in 20th, but fell on the opening lap at Turn 5 and could not continue. 

For WorldSSP Race 1 results, click here.

Steven Odendaal: P1

Evan Bros Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team

It didn’t come easy, it was a difficult race. I didn’t have the pace at the start, I was all over the place and couldn’t get the grip on the track. As it went on, I could see the gap ahead was staying the same. Then I saw the incident at the front and thought ‘now I need to really push and see what I can do’. Aegerter made the pass for the lead, so I followed him through because I was worried he’d get away if I didn’t make the move. I was behind him, looking to see where he was stronger and where I was stronger, and on the last lap I decided to make the move into the final corner. I could have tried a move into Turn 12, but there was just too much risk, and I thought Philipp Öttl was right behind, so I played it safe. I’m really happy to take the win and very excited for the team. We’ve been on the backfoot, especially with the injury on the shoulder, but now we’ve got this first win I’m just super happy.

Dominique Aegerter: P2

Ten Kate Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team

It’s a great start to the WorldSSP season, big thanks to the Ten Kate Yamaha team, they’re very experienced and did a great job. We still have a lot to fully understand, but the race was really good. I felt really prepared and I’m ready to go again tomorrow. We started really well, but I couldn’t overtake Philipp for a few laps so started to lose the lead. After the incident ahead, we were obviously put in a good position but I do think I can ride at a winning pace. It will be a big battle again I’m sure tomorrow.