The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team continued to dominate proceedings in Jerez on Saturday at the penultimate round of the 2017 FIM Supersport World Championship. Federico Caricasulo secured his first pole position of the season in sensational style and will line up at the head of the front row for Sunday’s race. His teammate, championship leader Lucas Mahias, qualified in fifth place after a small crash brought his SP2 session to a premature end.
Gorgeous sunshine and temperatures in the high twenties greeted the GRT team on Saturday at the Circuito de Jerez and Caricasulo took full advantage of the ideal conditions in an exciting qualifying session. The 21-year-old Italian had ended Friday’s practice in fourth overall after working on his race pace and he continued in this vein in Saturday morning’s FP3 session, ending it in sixth place. Feeling confident with the work done for Sunday’s race, he then went flat out for a fast time in SP2 and set a 1:43.285 on his penultimate lap, which was good enough to secure his first pole position of the season by 0.049s.
Mahias leads the championship by nine-points and has been in sensational form all weekend at Jerez on his Yamaha R6. The 28-year-old French rider topped both of Friday’s practice sessions and looked unstoppable in FP3 after setting a 1:43.540 to finish 0.434s ahead of the rest of the field. Unfortunately, during qualifying – having already set a 1:43.698 on his first run – he headed out for his second run and was already two-tenths of a second up in the first sector when he lost the front at Turn 5, bringing an early end to his chances of battling for pole position. Luckily, he was unhurt and thanks to his earlier time will start Sunday’s race from fifth on the grid, confident with his pace and determined to leave Jerez as the 2017 FIM Supersport World Champion.
There will be two Yamaha R6s on the front row for Sunday’s race as Kallio Racing’s Sheridan Morias also impressed, qualifying in third. The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team are back in action at 9:00 am local time on Sunday for Warm Up, with the 19-lap race scheduled for 11:30 am. Check out the SP2 results.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team – 1st – 1:43.285
“I am very happy! We did a really good job, myself, the team, and Yamaha. We are always working hard to improve our bike and we made some changes in Magny-Cours that really seem to work. I feel good with my R6 and I am excited for the race tomorrow. I like the new surface here at Jerez, as it is less bumpy and there is more grip. I expect a hard fight for the win tomorrow, as there are three or four riders with a similar pace and I am looking forward to the battle!”
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team – 5th – 1:43.698
“It was a tricky qualifying session! The second row is not where I wanted to qualify but it is not so bad to start from fifth in the race. I am really confident for the race as I have a very good rhythm and pace here at Jerez. I had a small crash in SP2, which was why I could not do better, but I understand why it happened and I am okay. I have been at the top of every session, so fifth was not exactly my target, but the important day is tomorrow, not today!”
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager
“We are very happy for Federico! He and the team worked in the perfect way and they made great progress this weekend. He felt really confident on the bike and yesterday I mentioned how he just missed out on one hot lap, but he and the team managed to recover the gap to the leaders today and his race pace is superb, so we believed he can achieve a fantastic result on Sunday. For Lucas, he was looking very quick on his hot lap and we believe he would have done a very good time but, unfortunately, he lost the front and had a small crash. The important thing is that he is fine, he didn’t have any injuries and now we will work hard on the bike to give him the best possible package for the race so he can go out and win the championship tomorrow!”