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Podium and Strong Finishes sees bLU cRU Riders Strengthen Title Challenge at Portimão

Podium and Strong Finishes sees bLU cRU Riders Strengthen Title Challenge at Portimão

Portimão provided two gripping FIM Supersport 300 World Championship races, and bLU cRU duo Unai Orradre and Bahattin Sofuoglu put in stellar performances to ensure they remain well in title contention.

After an impressive display during a scorching WorldSSP300 opener, the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge riders only had a few days off before returning to action at the Algarve International Circuit, bringing the Spanish heat with them.

Arriving in Portugal off the back of a maiden race victory at Jerez, Yamaha MS Racing WorldSSP300 Supported Team’s Orradre qualified in 14th for the opening race, having struggled with traffic throughout free practice and the Superpole. 

A fall took him out of the opener, but on Sunday’s race the Spaniard soon made it into the top 10 from the fifth row, as he jostled for position with the lead group over the ensuing laps. Heading onto the final tour, Orradre had fought his way into victory contention, taking the fastest lap on his way, and sealed second place on the run to Turn 1. The 16-year-old was then closing on the leader and pulled alongside, before a red flag for an incident behind ended his charge.

Having also taken a victory during the opening WorldSSP300 weekend, Sofuoğlu was another who improved throughout the weekend. Like his fellow bLU cRU rider, the Biblion Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSSP300 Supported Team youngster struggled with the busy track on Friday and qualifying, and would start both races from 15th.

The Turkish rider displayed sublime racecraft on Saturday, making up 10 positions within the first six laps, before a red flag halted any chance of a podium. It was a similar story in Race 2, Sofuoğlu made steady progress through the lead group and scored another top five finish as the red flag emerged. This result saw the Biblion Motoxracing Yamaha racer move into second in the standings, two points ahead of third-placed Orradre.

Elsewhere, Yamaha MS Racing’s Ton Kawakami was the top bLU cRU performer on Friday, going seventh fastest overall, and qualified 12th for Race 1. In the race he battled for a top 10 finish, eventually ending just 0.292s adrift in 11th. The Brazilian was on for an improvement on Sunday, and was in podium contention before retiring with a technical issue.

Biblion Motoxracing Yamaha’s Alvaro Diaz went through the Last Chance Race to progress into the main races, finishing fifth and less than half-a-second from the win. Starting from the back row for Race 1, the Spaniard was in a group of riders fighting over the top 20, eventually finishing 24th. In the second race, Diaz showed strong pace and rose 18 positions to finish just outside the points in 17th. 

Alan Kroh, riding for Yamaha MS Racing in his debut WorldSSP300 season, improved throughout free practice and was in the lead battle in the Last Chance Race. However, a technical issue on the fourth lap saw the German retire from the race, putting an end to his weekend.

The bLU cRU riders are now preparing for the next double-header at Motorland Aragón on 29-31 August and 4-6 September, a track that will be more familiar to most of the Yamaha youngsters. 

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

Unai Orradre: DNF & P2

Yamaha MS Racing WorldSSP300 Supported Team

I had a very good race on Sunday. At the start, I tried to pass some other riders and remain in the lead group. I stayed there and prepared to fight for the win, but the red flag meant I had to settle for second. I had to push and in the end it’s a very positive result. Thanks to Yamaha for all the work to get the bike prepared, especially after I crashed on Saturday. I’m looking forward to returning to racing at Aragón.

Bahattin Sofuoğlu: P5 & P5

Biblion Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSSP300 Supported Team

I like Portimão a lot, we did a great job being the fastest Yamaha in the first practice session. I knew I could do better after the Superpole, so we tried a few things on the bike and it was much quicker for the first race. My team did a great job and we finished Saturday really strongly. On Sunday, I again finished fifth but felt it could have been even more, especially without the red flag. Thanks again to my team, they gave me a really good bike for the races.

Ton Kawakami: P11 & DNF

Yamaha MS Racing WorldSSP300 Supported Team

In free practice, we tried a few things for the set-up to get ready for the races. After a pretty solid Saturday, I was confident of an even better result on Sunday. We had a good start and I was up to eighth by the first corner. On the second and third laps I was in a podium battle, I was very excited and was looking to make a move but then we had a technical issue. Overall, I’m happy with the pace this weekend, the team did a lot of great work and I look forward to the next one at Aragón.

Alvaro Diaz: P24 & P17

Biblion Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSSP300 Supported Team

It has been a good weekend overall. We improved a lot during practice, the Last Chance Race and in both races, where I gained many positions. It was my first time at the Portimão circuit and we weren’t far away from the points, so I’m confident heading to Aragón for the next one.

Alan Kroh

Yamaha MS Racing WorldSSP300 Supported Team

It was my first time at Portimão, I was really happy with the performance. I improved throughout free practice and in FP3 I bettered my lap but didn’t quite make it through to the Superpole. I went to the Last Chance Race, but had an issue on the bike and we couldn’t finish. It’s OK though, it’s my first time here and I enjoyed it, so I’m excited to go again at Aragón.

Alberto Barozzi

Yamaha Motor Europe bLU cRU Racing Manager

It has been another positive race weekend in Portimão, our bLU cRU riders, supported by our team and on-site personnel, did a great job. I’m really proud of these guys, who learned very quick and were able to take onboard our advice to score strong results. We are looking positive and confident for the next rounds in Aragón, which will be more familiar for most of our riders than Portimão. We have a good feeling with this track and our R3 GYTR will provide give them a great chance to challenge again. I just hope that the 36 riders on track remain safe, and there aren’t any dangerous incidents that we’ve witnessed in some races. Good luck to the bLU cRU riders, who I’m sure are looking forward to the next round.