WSS: Rolfo from Mahias by only 0.001

Published: 26 February 2017

An unbelievable 10-lap WorldSSP race, which saw the expected order change lap by lap, finished in controversial style at Phillip Island. It came down to a fight between eventual winner Roberto Rolfo (Team Factory Vamag MV Agusta) and second place Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) and it was a literal fight across the line that eventually saw Rolfo run off track – after winning by photo finish and 0.001 seconds - as Mahias and he contacted across the line.

Anthony West (West Racing Yamaha) was third, a remarkable result for the local rider on a relatively stock bike.

Potential podium finishers Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) and Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) were ruled out as Caricasulo hit Cluzel on the exit of MG Corner, sending Cluzel flying high.

Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was fifth and Niki Tuuli (Kallio Race System Yamaha) sixth. Sixth place was taken by Patrick Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), after an eventful raceday for the American rider. Aiden Wagner (Gemar Ballons Honda) was seventh at his home round, Lachlan Epis (RE Response Kawasaki) tenth.

With all riders on the A front tyre solution, the first attempted running of an already shortened 15-lap race was halted after debris was left on the track following a crash from Robin Mulhauser (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) that also affected Gino Rea (Team GO ELEVEN Kawasaki), who was also forced out.

Jacobsen had slowed with a technical issue and got going again to restart the eventual 10-lap race from pole.

The final race, started at 13.56, consisted of 20 riders.

Cluzel, Mahias and Caricasulo led the field with Baldolini joining in after a lap or two. Ryde, Jacobsen, Tulli, Rolfo and West were also right in the thick of things until Jacobsen ran wide and off track, rejoining in 17th position. Caricasulo had a good go at falling off on lap five of ten, but regained the track to stay inside the top five.

With Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) missing through injury and Jacobsen and Cluzel losing points, the championship fight got off to an unpredictable start, to say the least.