Italian one-two on the Riviera di Rimini Round podium with Cortese in third
The excitement of the home crowds at the Riviera di Rimini Round hit fever pitch on Sunday as Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) took his first win of the 2018 FIM Supersport World Championship in brilliant fashion, ending a twelve-year run with no Italian victors at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in WorldSSP. The home delight was twofold, as Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) claimed his best finish of the season in second, with championship leader Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) completing the podium.
At the lights Jules Cluzel (NRT) shot out like a cannonball, moving ahead of pole-sitter Caricasulo before the entry to Turn 1. The stunning start from the French rider came with an added bonus, as championship rivals Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) and Cortese tumbled down to sixth and eighth, respectively, while Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) crashed out one lap later.
Any jubilation for Cluzel was short-lived, however, as in a matter of seconds in lap 4 he was pushed back to third in consecutive corners by Caricasulo and the rising De Rosa. The French rider’s woes were compounded two laps later, as Cortese, now the fastest man on track, found his way smoothly past the NRT bike.
The top three would remain unchanged from that point forward, despite the gap between first and third never rising to more than a couple of seconds. Caricasulo didn’t wilt under the pressure, keeping the MV Agusta of De Rosa at bay and confirming a superb return to the top spot of the rostrum. He also moves above both his fellow countryman and teammate Mahias in the championship standings, with all three battling inside one point and still in view of the championship lead.
Despite not finding the pace to match Caricasulo in the second half of the race, De Rosa takes home his best-ever result in WorldSSP and a fifth consecutive podium, a huge boost for him going into the summer break. Amidst a sea of Yamaha machines, the Italian’s efforts aboard the MV Agusta cannot be overstated.
With his third place, Cortese increases his championship lead to five points over Cluzel, who finally crossed the line in fourth position after riding alone most of the latter stages of the race.
Krummenacher made it to the flag in fifth place, thirteen seconds off the race winner, with Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing), a former Misano race-winner, scoring his joint-best performance of the season in sixth, ahead of Kyle Smith (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) in seventh and again in the top ten after changing team before Brno.
Eighth position went to wildcard Lorenzo Gabellini (G.A.S. Racing Team), his first points finish in WorldSSP after also racing at Imola. Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) made a phenomenal start to his race, moving up to fifth inside the first lap, but by the end he could only make it to the flag in ninth. Ayrton Badovini (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) was the fourth and final home rider inside the top ten, taking tenth spot.
That’s it for now! The WorldSSP championship will be back in two months’ time from Portimao, Portugal. Until then, catch up on everything that has happened this season so far thanks to the WorldSBK VideoPass.