The seventh round of the 2018 World Supersport Championship proved a day of mixed fortunes for the GRT Yamaha Official WSSP Team this afternoon at the Autodrom Brno in the Czech Republic. 2017 World Champion Lucas Mahias was able to secure fourth position but teammate Federico Caricasulo was left frustrated having crashed out early in the race. Fellow GRT Yamaha rider Alfonso Coppola made good progress to finish in 14th.
The Brno weekend has been a challenging experience for defending champion Mahias from the beginning. The Frenchman has struggled with the team to find the optimum set up on his YZF-R6 and knew today would not be an easy fight. Initially in sixth in the first lap, Mahias managed to move forward a little, then was helped by teammate Caricasulo crashing out in the second lap. Establishing himself in fourth he worked hard to keep Randy Krummenacher at bay behind him, and the podium battle in view in front. He was unable to get into the front group, but held fourth until the line.
Coppola had a frustrating start to his Brno race from pitlane. Beginning his attack from 29th at the back of the pack he was undeterred. The rookie put his head down and put in an incredible ride, passing a huge number of riders to cross the finish line in the points in 14th position.
Italian Caricasulo’s race was definitely one to forget. A positive start saw him just ahead of teammate Mahias in the opening lap, before almost immediate disaster as he crashed out in the stadium section on turn 8 of the second lap. Caricasulo had chosen a different front tyre to try to find more grip later in the race, but unfortunately was not able to exploit it.
Today’s race results put Lucas Mahias into fourth in the championship standings on 103 points. Federico Caricasulo remains on 79 points, now in sixth position. Alfonso Coppola’s performance adds a point to put him on 2, and sits him in 24th.
GRT Yamaha continue to lead the team standings with 182 points, 22 clear of rivals NRT and Yamaha lead the manufacturer standings with 175 points, 92 clear of MV Augusta.
“Today was again a difficult race for me, before starting I knew it would be like this because I knew we had a problem with lack of speed. It was difficult to follow the other riders, I pushed a lot in the beginning, but when the tyre started to slide I lost the edge and knew I couldn’t push harder. I’m a little happy because I pushed at the end to keep Krummenacher behind and I won that battle. I am very confident for Misano because will have some updates that we are working on together and I’m confident we can arrive at the podium.”
“Nothing to say about today for me, I tried to put another front tyre to be better in the last laps of the race, but in the beginning I was struggling to stay with the front group and I crashed. I am looking forward now to Misano with positivity as we will have a new technical set up to help us get in front.”
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team
“The race was fantastic, I was unhappy to start on the pit lane, but I controlled myself. It was very important to pass as many riders as possible in this moment. Now I can relax and study and look forward to Misano and work towards the next step, the top ten. Thanks to GRT and Yamaha for fantastic work, the bike is very top level!”
“We are in a difficult moment, but every team has moments like this where they then have the chance to improve for the future. This is not the best moment for our team but it is a very important moment to understand where we are, our potential and where we can go. We are learning, to make good steps ahead as we have all the credentials to be race winners. For the race, Lucas made the best lap of the race, but we couldn’t keep the pace for the length. For Federico we need to check the data, he closed the front and crashed very early.
On the other side we had a very good performance with Alfonso, he started from the pit lane, in last place and made an incredible recovery and improved a lot. We think we are in a very good way to be an important contender with him. The whole team did a good job, now we have to work even harder to find that extra step. For Misano we are working really hard to step ahead so I am positive we can be back where we should be.”