ParkinGO Yamaha’s Manuel Gonzalez took a popular maiden FIM Supersport World Championship victory, after an epic race-long battle with Saturday’s winner, Ten Kate Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Dominique Aegerter, at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours.
With his second-place finish, Aegerter now leads the championship by 62 points over Evan Bros Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Steven Odendaal, but is set to miss the upcoming round at Barcelona due to other commitments.
For the second time this weekend, a red flag was brought out for an early incident in Race 2, involving Luca Bernardi, GMT94 Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Jules Cluzel and Aegerter. Both Cluzel and Bernardi were transported to the local hospital to further evaluate their injuries.
In Race 1, Gonzalez was disappointed to finish outside the podium places in fourth, feeling he had the pace to challenge for the win. On the restart of Sunday’s race, the Spanish rider launched into the lead battle from fourth on the grid, constantly changing positions with his Swiss counterpart.
Both he and Aegerter thrilled the French crowd with a titanic battle for victory, which went down to the final corner. Gonzalez took the lead on the penultimate tour, losing it again at Adelaide on the last lap, but fought back ahead as they headed through Nürburgring, holding off another late attack through the final sequence to take victory.
Qualifying in second, Aegerter immediately jumped to the front of the field in Race 1, and pulled a gap over the chasing pack, going on to take the ninth win of his maiden WorldSSP campaign.
On the first start in Race 2, Aegerter ran second on the opening lap, but Bernardi fell in front at the final chicane, and he couldn’t avoid the collision. He had damage on the bike but managed to return to the pits during the red flag period, with the Ten Kate Yamaha mechanics able to get it fixed just in time for the restart, which he repaid with his 11th podium of 2021.
Title rival Odendaal enjoyed a sensational comeback from 13th on the grid in Race 1, fighting through to finish second. The South African had to do it all again on Sunday, managing to climb to a sixth-place finish.
Cluzel scored his best result and first podium since Misano, after taking third in Saturday’s race, and was in the hunt again on Sunday, while bLU cRU graduate Bernardi scored a maiden pole position on Saturday, finishing fifth in Race 1, before both were involved in the first lap incident.
Biblion Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Federico Caricasulo was sixth in Race 1 and seventh in Race 2, continuing his strong run of form, while GMT94 Yamaha’s Andy Verdoia was twice inside the top 10, as the bLU cRU rider placed 10th and eighth on his return to the championship.
Having stepped up to the WorldSSP class this weekend, bLU cRU’s Unai Orradre impressed on his debut with Yamaha MS Racing. The 17-year-old Spaniard qualified 12th and scored world championship points in 14th on Saturday, but fell in Race 2 while challenging for a top 10 finish.
Evan Bros Yamaha’s Peter Sebestyen was 10th in Race 2, while Kallio Racing Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Hannes Soomer scored a point on his return, with 15th on Saturday, while he was 17th in Race 2. Biblion Motoxracing Yamaha’s Maria Herrera had a best finish of 19th on Sunday, ahead of Ten Kate Yamaha’s Galang Hendra Pratama.
Dominique Aegerter: P1 & P2
Ten Kate Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team
“Sunday was a little bit of a ‘special’ race. We had a good first start then Bernardi fell in front and I felt some contact behind also while we also tried to avoid him. I saw the red flag, so I tried to pick up and get back to the box. The victory goes to the Ten Kate Yamaha team this weekend, they did a great job in getting the bike prepared with just 10 minutes to go. I made another good start, but I couldn’t make a gap to Gonzalez. On the last lap he overtook me, so today I lost the battle for the win, but we gained important points. Happy with the weekend overall, I now have a good lead in the championship and even if Steven is able to win both races in Barcelona, I will still go to Jerez with 12 points advantage.”
Manuel Gonzalez: P4 & P1
“I think ‘great’ is an understatement for today, there are no words for how this race went. It was the best race of my life. We worked hard in the Warm Up to close the gap and we did that. Since Most, we knew we could fight for wins. I tried to get ahead because I felt faster on my own rather than behind. The bike was working really good. The plan on the final lap worked well and I’m thankful to the team for their support. I hope I can achieve the same result in Barcelona.”