The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team enjoyed a superb Sunday in a hot and humid Buriram, Thailand at Round 2 of the 2018 FIM Supersport World Championship. Lucas Mahias had been the man to beat all weekend and – starting from pole position – was involved in a spectacular battle for the race win that came right down to the line. The man from Mont-de-Marsan gave it his all before crossing the line in second, just missing out on his second win of the season by 0.048s, and he is now the joint leader of the WorldSSP Championship standings with 45 points from the first two races. His teammate Federico Caricasulo made sure it was a day to celebrate for the team as he also put in an excellent performance to finish in third, just 1.213s off the race winner, to secure his first rostrum of the season and the maiden double podium for the team.
Mahias scorched to his third consecutive WorldSSP pole position on Saturday at the Chang International Circuit and when the lights went out on for Sunday’s race he became embroiled in a brilliant battle for the lead with his teammate Caricasulo and fellow Yamaha rider Jules Cluzel (NRT). As the race went on, it looked lit would be a duel to the line between the three riders on Yamaha R6s before Krummenacher – also riding a Yamaha R6 – joined in the scrap for victory. It soon became a five-way fight at the front as Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) – also riding a Yamaha R6 – joined on the back of the leading group. Cluzel then crashed out of the race on lap 13, leaving Mahias and Krummenacher to duke it out for the race win. It was a classic fight between the two, with Mahias appearing to lose out on the straights to the Swiss rider, but making up swathes of time in the corners. They were inseparable until the last corner on the penultimate lap when Mahias almost lost the front and dropped 0.5s behind his rival. Undeterred, he showed incredible skill and determination to close the gap enough to make an audacious move under braking at the final corner on the last lap. He got past Krummenacher but ran a bit wide and the Swiss rider made contact with Mahias in the sprint to the line. It was a dramatic finish with Mahias missing out on his third consecutive WorldSSP victory by just 0.048s in a sensational finale to the race. This result meant Mahias collected 20 points to add to his race victory in Phillip Island and he is now joint leader of the championship, level on 45 points with Krummenacher.
His teammate Caricasulo had a great start from third on the grid and was immediately involved in the battle for the lead. After a few laps, he settled into a superb rhythm in third place and was battling for the victory for the majority of the race before he became involved in a great fight with Cortese. As he fought brilliantly to defend the final podium spot it, unfortunately, cost him time and made him lose touch with Mahias and Krummenacher at the front. Showing great maturity for his age, the 21-year-old Italian maintained his focus to fight off the attentions of Cortese and secure his first podium of 2018 and fifth for the team by crossing the line in third, just 1.213s behind the winner. He collected 16 points for his efforts which means he is now third overall in the championship standings with 25 points, level on points with Sandro Cortese and just 16 points behind his teammate Mahias.
It was another superb day for Yamaha as they locked out the podium and completed a Yamaha 1-2-3-4 with Krummenacher and Cortese in first and fourth respectively. The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team are now looking forward to Round 3 of the 2018 Supersport World Championship at Aragon on the 13-15th of April. Check out the full race results.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team – 2nd +0.048s
“It was a very good race! I am not really happy because I finished in second and I always want to win. I am not sure why, but I seemed to be losing out a bit when it came to top speed on the straights, maybe it was the hotter temperatures today or the final gear ratio settings, as I spent every session riding on my own throughout the weekend. Perhaps we made a slight mistake but we will look at the data to find the reason. I had one strategy, which was to overtake Randy in the last lap – at the same corner I had overtaken Federico, but one lap before I almost lost the front in the last corner and it cost me 0.5s. After that, I pushed incredibly hard to try and close the gap to Randy on the last lap but in the first two sectors, with the straights, it was impossible to close the gap. Then I managed to close right up in the final sectors and I tried to beat him on the brakes into the last corner but Randy was very strong on the brakes and it was a good finish to the race. For sure, I would prefer to have won but I like fighting like this during the race. If you compare my start this year to last season, I only had 20 points after the first two races and still won the championship in 2017, while this year I already have 45 points! it is impossible to win the title in the first few races, but it is easy to lose it. The target remains the same, to push for lots of victories, not thinking about the points or the championship, but just going for the win. I am feeling confident for Aragon because I have the best team in the paddock and they always work incredibly hard to improve my R6 and I really enjoy working with them. I love the Aragon track, it was where I took my first WorldSSP victory last year and I am looking forward to going there and battling for the win!”
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team – 3rd +1.213s
“I am happy with the result! I wanted more but today that was impossible as I was just losing a little on corner exit to my rivals. The race was not easy because it was really hot and we pushed at the maximum for all of the 17 laps but I am happy with what the result means for the championship and for the way my team worked. My bike mid-corner and under braking was really good and I am sure in Aragon we can be fighting for the victory!”
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager
“We missed out on the race win but we are very happy as this is our first double podium. The team worked really hard for the whole weekend and we had a very good race pace but, in the end, racing is racing. Lucas tried his best to win but, unfortunately, sometimes you have to come second as well. Federico had a superb race and I am very happy for him as he just missed out on the podium in Phillip Island and he deserved it here. We will continue to work hard in the build-up to Aragon to allow both riders to fight for the win there. I want to thank the whole team who, despite being so far from home, did an amazing job and they are such a great group of guys that I am extremely proud of every single one of them. Thank you to Yamaha as well, because they always give us the best package they can and we are already looking forward to Aragon.”