WSS: Cluzel wins as Sofuoglu denied title chance
Long time race leader and pole man Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was denied what would have been his fifth world championship title three rounds early after he crashed while leading the 19-lap WorldSSP race.
He had said on Saturday that he intended to win the championship by winning the race but his plan backfired as he lost the front entering the fast turn 3, under pressure from the following Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing Yamaha).
Tuuli went ahead for a time but Cluzel took the lead on the final lap. Tuuli made a fight of it, however, with the waiting Ayrton Badovini (GEMAR Balloons – Team Lorini Honda) right behind.
Cluzel won the race, Tuuli was second and Badovini third, all covered by just 0.525 seconds.
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ESS rider Axel Bassani (San Carlo Team Italia Kawasaki) was fourth, just 2.2 seconds down on Cluzel, who was the home town hero again.
In finishing fifth, from an 11th place grid spot, Randy Krummenacher (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) left France 42 points behind Sofuoglu, and still in with a mathematical chance of the championship win.
Sixth place went to Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. Honda Racing) and British rider Kyle Smith (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) moved up to seventh at the flag.
ESS man Illia Mikhalchik (DS Junior Team Kawasaki) was eighth, Lorenzo Zanetti (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) ninth and Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) tenth.
Sofuoglu has an unchanged 171 points in total, Krummenacher 129, and Cluzel moved up to third place with his win, on 91 points – but too far behind to aim for the title himself.
Gino Rea (GRT Racing Team MV Agusta) crashed out of the leading group.