Cluzel vs Cortese: The battle begins

Tuesday, 12 June 2018 12:57 GMT

Take a look back over their head to head duel around Brno

There is a classic battle heating up in the FIM Supersport World Championship, as Jules Cluzel (NRT) and Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) become the main protagonists in the world championship fight. Battling until the final lap round the Automotodrom Brno this weekend, there are now two points between the pair as we hit the halfway point of the season.

Cluzel, who started from third position in the Czech Republic, was able to get a strong start off the line and had pure straight line speed that meant the was able to take the fight to the end of the race. However, Cortese was not going to let the win go, as he recovered from his steady start to try to overtake Cluzel by the third lap. It was from here fans were treated to an edge of your seat, intense duel that saw paint be swapped and rubber laid down, and the pair aren’t afraid of a tough over-taking move.

Fresh off the back of his third win of the season, Cluzel explains THAT overtake: “When Cortese tried to pass me I knew I had to go for the inside line, because he was really braking late. Then we touched into the right turn and we were pretty lucky to stay on the bikes. I have a big mark on my hand but that’s racing and I think everybody enjoyed it.”

Leaving with 20 points can be bittersweet, especially when you know you have the pace, as Cortese explains: “When I followed him I was nearly depressed because I had nothing, I tried everything every lap to just pass him somehow. I risked so much and even in the last lap, I risked 110% to pass him but I was just not able. I think Jules won on the straight today with an amazing bike and so much power.”

But it was not only the overtakes that were a talking point of the race, as Cluzel was working through issues on his YZF-R6: “It was a really hot and a tough race. I struggled a little bit with the grip in the beginning, but we were able to keep it leaning until the end. This was my target, I was pushing hard until the last lap, and in the last lap I knew I had to give everything.”

Unlike Donington Park, which saw Cortese take the lead in the opening laps, Cluzel was able to stay with the German and crossed the line with an 0.148s lead: “I was able to pass Cortese again immediately, so I did. I tried to make his mind a little bit excited, and I just tried to run my own race. I was happy to keep the fight until the last lap because it was a great race.”

Whereas Cortese was surprised by the slow speeds throughout the 16 laps, compared to the times he was putting in throughout warm-up. Disappointed to not get out in front and take the lead, he explains: “It was a very difficult race for myself, and especially a very slow race. This morning when I was by myself I did 2.02 lap times, and I knew that the plan was to go away but he had a good start. But to dominate in Superpole and be so fast in warm up, its hard to go home with only 20 points. But you never know when the 20 points are going to be important for the championship, and it’s racing.”

Enjoy the highlights from the battle between the duo, and re-live their wins from 2018 so far as the battle continues to heat up into Misano, all on the WorldSBK VideoPass.