You are about to leave this website. Are you sure?

I agree, take me there

bLU cRU Riders Make Progress in Tricky Magny-Cours Conditions

bLU cRU Riders Make Progress in Tricky Magny-Cours Conditions

It was a mixed weekend for the bLU cRU FIM Supersport 300 World Championship riders at Magny-Cours, with Biblion Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSSP300 Supported Team’s Bahattin Sofuoğlu strengthening his third position in the standings with a fourth podium of the 2020 season.

For the first time this year, rain was forecast throughout the French round and by the time FP1 was underway the track was already drenched. After the delay for the conditions, the bLU cRU riders took to the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, which marked the first time for both Biblion Motoxracing Yamaha’s Alvaro Diaz and Yamaha MS Racing WorldSSP300 Supported Team’s Alan Kroh. 

At the end of the morning’s practice Sofuoğlu was fastest of the bLU cRU runners in fourth, ending the day seventh on combined times, with rookie teammate Diaz impressing in 11th. Yamaha MS Racing’s Ton Kawakami and Unai Orradre were also inside the top 30, but couldn’t make a step forward in Saturday’s FP3 session and joined teammate Alan Kroh in the Last Chance Race. 

Both Sofuoğlu and Diaz cemented their places into the Tissot Superpole qualifying session, with the Turkish rider once again impressing over a single lap to go fifth fastest, while Spanish rider Diaz was a WorldSSP300 career-best 12th. 

In the Last Chance Race, Kawakami stormed to a dominant victory from the second row, with the conditions seeing many make mistakes before a red flag ended proceedings on lap six, while Orradre qualified as the final rider on the main race grids. Kroh unfortunately could not make progress in the race, ending the German youngster’s weekend. 

A red flag on the opening lap of Race 1 saw the grid reset, with Sofuoğlu getting a second chance to move forward, after falling to sixth on the first attempt. This time, the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge leader made a strong start and was up to third heading onto the second lap. He made no mistake and retained his third position until the chequered flag. 

Brazilian rider Kawakami was on a charge during the first race and by the fifth lap had already made it into the top 15 from the 10th row of the grid. He eventually made it to a P10 finish, taking more important championship points. Yamaha MS Racing teammate and Jerez race-winner Orradre made up several places from the back of the grid to finish 20th. Sadly, Diaz was unable to start the race due to an alternator issue. 

Looking to make up for Saturday’s disappointment, Diaz enjoyed a fine performance in Sunday’s race. From 12th, the Spaniard produced a faultless ride as the rain made track conditions increasingly difficult, climbing three positions up to ninth and matching his best WorldSSP300 result.   

Once again, Kawakami made an impressive fightback through the field and earned another two points in 14th, with Orradre climbing nearly 20 places to finish agonisingly close to the points in 16th. Sofuoğlu started on the dry tyres as he gambled on conditions improving, and was running in the top 10 before the rain saw him gradually slip down the order, before he pitted to save his R3 GYTR kitted bike from damage. 

2020 Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge standings
1. Bahattin Sofuoğlu
2. Unai Orradre
3. Ton Kawakami
4. Alvaro Diaz
5. Alan Kroh 

For full Race 1 results, click here.
For full Race 2 results, click here.

Bahattin Sofuoğlu: P3 & DNF

Biblion Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSSP300 Supported Team

The start of the was good, we are always around the top five and my feeling was good on the bike. In Race 1, despite not feeling 100 percent in the conditions, we managed to get another podium. On Sunday, we made some changes to the set-up for the Warm Up and found a good balance in the slightly drier conditions. For Race 2, we decided to change onto the slicks just before the start but it didn’t pay off in the end unfortunately.

Alvaro Diaz: DNS & P9

Biblion Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSSP300 Supported Team

The Magny-Cours weekend was good overall. We had an issue in Race 1 and couldn’t take the start, but I managed to overtake a few riders and finished ninth, which I was very happy with. Thanks to Yamaha and the team for all the help and I’m looking forward to the final in Estoril.

Ton Kawakami: P10 & P14

Yamaha MS Racing WorldSSP300 Supported Team

All the sessions were really difficult with the rain. We needed to go into the Last Chance Race, but it gave me an opportunity to build confidence ahead of Race 1 and I won. I started 31st and finished in the top 10 so I was really happy after the opener. We made a good set-up change in the Warm Up but in the second race it was quite challenging with the conditions. It was half dry, half wet, so I had to push hard at the start. Towards the second half I found It tough to overtake the guy in front and I couldn’t finish higher than 14th.

Unai Orradre: P20 & P16

Yamaha MS Racing WorldSSP300 Supported Team

It was the most difficult weekend in the 2020 championship for me. I learned a lot about riding in the wet conditions in free practice and we searched to find a perfect set-up. In both races we were starting right at the back and on Sunday I was catching the top 15, but I had contact with another rider and dropped to the back of my group. I managed to overtake a few riders again and end the race in 16th. It was positive because I was able to get more experience in these conditions. The team worked really hard this weekend so thanks to them for everything they did.

Alan Kroh: DNS & DNS

Yamaha MS Racing WorldSSP300 Supported Team

I am actually very happy because we improved a lot of things in Magny-Cours. In FP1 I was just learning the track and we were able to use that experience to move forward in FP2. I had a crash at Turn 6, and then had another fall in FP3 and had to go into the Last Chance Race. I’m sad not to do both races, but the positive is that I’ve got more experience in the wet conditions. It never rains in Malaga where I live, so I don’t get much of an opportunity. Thanks to Yamaha and all my sponsors who support me, we will train very hard for the next race in Estoril.

Alberto Barozzi

Yamaha Motor Europe bLU cRU Racing Manager

“First, I want to send my compliments to all the bLU cRU guys and staff for which they have done a great job in a tricky, wet round at Magny-Cours. It was an interesting weekend, all of the bLU cRU riders showed their talent under pressure and made an important step in our ‘Learn & Try’ philosophy. Finding the best set-up was a good challenge but, thanks to the guidance of the bLU cRU staff and team, we managed to achieve this. I'm really proud for Bahattin’s fantastic Race 1 podium, he was able to fight for the victory and continue to get important points for the championship. The rest had some misfortune, starting with Alvaro who had a very positive Superpole, but was not able to take part of the first race due to a technical issue. In Race 2, he equaled his best result, so well done to him. Unai had some difficulties in the rain and low grip, but on Sunday he managed to come from the back to just outside the top 15. Ton is always very fast in the wet conditions but compromised his race weekend after missing out on Superpole.  It was a great performance in both races by him to get some points, despite the difficulties in overtaking. Alan learned a lot in his first experience of a fully wet weekend. We are already looking ahead to Estoril, which is a new track for all of the WorldSSP300 riders. Now, it’s time to bring this strange, interesting and exciting season to a close.