Jules Cluzel has taken MV Augusta’s maiden win in the opening World Supersport race of the season in highly unusual circumstances and as a host of pre-race favourites failed to score points.
The opening half dozen laps of the race looked set to create an epic battle, as Kenan Sofuoglu, Kev Coghlan and Michael van der Mark made an early breakaway until Jack Kennedy’s machine let go dramatically on the home straight, bringing out the red flags and ending Kennedy’s return from a broken ankle only three days ago. Former British Superbike racer PJ Jacobsen was another who didn’t make the restart, retiring from fourth a few laps before the flags came out.
Despite the first test of World Superbike’s new quick restart procedure, however, the time taken to clear the delay meant that the restart was run over only five laps, and when the flags dropped again it was Sofuoglu that made the break.
However, dramatically both van der Mark from third and then Sofuoglu from the lead both ended up in the gravel almost simultaneously, leaving Jules Cluzel and Florian Marino to battle for the win.
However, Brit Kev Coghlan and Italian Raffaele De Rosa soon joined the fray, and the five lap sprint saw all four lead briefly.
A move on Coghlan coming off of Lukey Heights gave Cluzel a lead he was able to maintain to the line, however, and he took the victory from the Brit, De Rosa and Marino.
British Supersport rider Graeme Gowland, making a wildcard appearance on the Smith’s Triumph, finished in an impressive seventh, while teammate Billy McConnell crashed out.
Jules Cluzel: “That made me smile. We’ve been fast all weekend, until I made some mistakes yesterday in qualifying. I couldn’t sleep last night, knowing how hard today would be, but my team did great work and the bike is fast. I’m coming away with 25 points, really happy, and just need some more testing now before Aragon.”
1 14 16 J. CLUZEL FRA MV Agusta RC-Yakhnich M. MV Agusta F3 675
2 4 88 K. COGHLAN GBR DMC Panavto-Yamaha Yamaha YZF R6 0.224
3 7 35 R. DE ROSA ITA Core PTR Honda Honda CBR600RR 0.317
4 11 21 F. MARINO FRA Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki ZX-6R 0.347
5 3 5 R. TAMBURINI ITA San Carlo Puccetti Racing Kawasaki ZX-6R 0.822
6 13 19 K. WAHR GER RS Wahr by Kraus Racing Yamaha YZF R6 4.010
7 18 81 G. GOWLAND GBR Smiths Triumph Triumph 675 R 5.282
8 17 84 R. RUSSO ITA Team Lorini Honda CBR600RR 55.310
9 16 61 F. MENGHI ITA VFT Racing Yamaha YZF R6 5.517
10 15 11 C. GAMARINO ITA Team GO Eleven Kawasaki ZX-6R 5.858
11 19 44 R. ROLFO ITA Team GO Eleven Kawasaki ZX-6R 6.491
12 20 9 T. COVEÑA NED Kawasaki Ponyexpres Intermoto Kawasaki ZX-6R 7.873
13 22 7 N. CALERO ESP CIA Insurance Honda Honda CBR600RR 10.163
14 21 24 M.BUSSOLOTTI ITA Team Lorini Honda CBR600RR 12.406
15 23 89 F. ROGERS GBR Com Plus SMS Racing Honda CBR600RR 12.622
16 24 52 R. TAYLOR AUS Oz Wildcard Racing Yamaha YZF R6 12.845
17 25 161 A. IVANOV RUS DMC Panavto-Yamaha Yamaha YZF R6 12.892