It was Verdoïa and Galang Hendra Pratama who made the running in Superpole for the bLU cRU squad, with the Frenchman qualifying in second place and the Indonesian in third. Ton Kawakami took pole position, the first for a Brazilian rider in the class, making it an al Yamaha front row for Sunday's 13-lap race.
Sabatucci also gained automatic entry to the race by qualifying tenth in Superpole, but Beatriz Neila had to fight her way through from 18th on the grid to sixth place in the Last Chance Race to secure her grid slot for the main race.There was drama before the race had even got underway, with pole sitter Kawakami and MS Racing Yamaha's Verdoïa relegated from the front row to the back of the grid for a tyre pressure infringement.
The penalty meant that Verdoïa lined up in 37th and last place for the race.It was Galang Hendra who made the early running, fighting his way through leading group to head the race on lap two. The Indonesian was joined in the leading group by Sabatucci, who'd made a good start from 10th place on grid, and former bLU cRU rider, Hugo de Cancellis.
As the front group battled for position in the early stages, with Galang Hendra leading the way, Verdoïa was scything through the field in impressive fashion. The French youngster passed 26 riders on the opening lap and was in contact with the leaders just five laps into the race. Incredibly, at half race distance, he swept past Galang Hendra to take the race lead, having passed 36 riders to get there.A seven-way battle for the win then ensued, with Verdoïa trading places with first de Cancellis and then Galang Hendra at the front of the race, with Sabatucci happy to sit further back in the group to see how things would unfold. The challenge from de Cancellis came to premature end on lap 10, when the Frenchman overshot the Fogarty Esses and crashed, taking Bruno Ieraci with him and leaving Galang Hendra once again as the race leader.
But the Indonesian's bid for victory was ended just one lap later when he outbraked himself into the Melbourne Hairpin and crashed out of the race. It was at this point that Sabatucci made his move, fighting his way through to take the lead on the penultimate lap, with Verdoïa tucked into his slipstream.
Sabatucci and Verdoïa were glued together as they started the final lap, with Kawasaki's Nick Kalinin, also a former bLU cRU rider, tucked in behind the Yamaha pair. Verdoïa looked poise to strike for the whole final lap but made no challenge for the lead having not realised that they were on the last lap of the race. At the chequered flag it was Sabatucci who held on for his, Yamaha's and the bLU cRU project's first World Championship win of the season, with Verdoïa second and Kalinin third.
Verdoïa's second place, his second podium in as many races, saw the French youngster move up to joint second in the championship, with Sabatucci's win promoting him from 21st to 10th in the standings.
Neila, still suffering the effects of a two heavy crashes in the wet on Saturday, picked up valuable experience by finishing the race in 17th position.
Galang Hendra was transported to the local hospital for a precautionary check-up that revealed the he had suffered only severe bruising to his pelvis in the crash. The Indonesian rider will be back to full fitness when WorldSSP300 returns at Portimão in September.R3 Yamaha bLU cRU challenge championship standings after 6 rounds: where all 6 riders are competing for a step up benefit:
1st Verdoïa – 2nd Galang Hendra – 3rd Sabatucci – 4th Neila – 5th Facco – 6th De Bruin