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Huertas And Carrasco Win Big At Misano
Kawasaki riders won both WorldSSP300 championship races at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli during a hot and hectic second round of the FIM World Championship, a series designed for younger riders and production-derived machinery.
New championship leader Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT) and Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki Provec) were Kawasaki’s race winners at Misano; Huertas on Saturday and Carrasco on Sunday.
The Kawasaki Ninja 400 powered riders to five of the six podium places on offer in each 15 lap race, and Kawasaki competitors were the majority of points scoring finishers overall.
The best-placed Kawasaki rider after the Superpole qualifying session was Jose Luis Perez Gonzalez (Accolade Smrz Racing Kawasaki) in second. He would go on to score 11th place in Sunday’s race Two.
A spectacular first race saw four Kawasaki riders occupy the top four positions at the end of an intense 15-lap contest, run under hot and sunny conditions.
A three rider final fight took place as the eventual top trio of Huertas, Tom Booth-Amos (Fusport - RT Motorsports by SKM Kawasaki) and Hugo De Cancellis (Prodina Team Kawasaki) broke away at a crucial late stage.
Huertas made the best of the last lap opportunity after passing De Cancellis, easing far enough ahead to make sure of the victory even after Booth Amos took second into the final corner. Only 0.230 seconds covered the top three riders in Race One.
Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT) was fourth in a race that featured all the close action and thrills expected of this exciting full FIM World Championship class, designed to showcase younger riders’ skills on an important global stage.
The top ten positions were rounded out by Victor Rodriguez Nunez (Accolade Smrz Racing Kawasaki), a result that placed five Kawasaki Ninja 400s into the top ten positions.
2018 Champion Carrasco had to fight hard all through the opening race and despite setting the fastest lap she finished 15th, scoring one point. Koen Meuffels (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT) was 11th on Saturday and Marc Garcia (2R Racing Kawasaki) 13th.
Jeffrey Buis (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT), the reigning world champion, got taken off track as he made his way towards the top ten finishing places, and he was finally 28th.
In the second race a popular swashbuckling win for Carrasco was the perfect answer to the question of her level of physical fitness since her long recovery from a significant vertebrae injury suffered in testing last September.
Eighth after lap one, Ana moved forward at the right time in the final laps and capitalized on a mistake from Booth-Amos in the final corner to win her first race of 2021 and the seventh of her career - making her the clear record holder for WorldSSP300 race wins now.
In third place Samuel De Sora (Leader Team Flembbo) was almost a second behind Carrasco, after race leader Booth-Amos fell at the final corner, restarting to finish 17th.
Dorren Loureiro (Fusport - RT Motorsports by SKM Kawasaki) was fifth, and 2020 champion Buis - so unlucky on day one - gained a few places near the end when others fell, and he ended his Misano weekend seventh in Race Two.
Oliver Konig (Movisio by MIE Kawasaki) was eighth and Huertas tenth. Meuffels was 12th but could have been a podium contender but for an incident in the final laps that caused contact and lost him several places. Thomas Brianti (Prodina Team Kawasaki) was 14th and the final Kawasaki points scorer.
After some big swings of fortune for the leading riders in Italy the championship standings now have Huertas the leader with 72 points, Booth-Amos second with 65, while Carrasco and Okaya share 42 points each after two rounds of the eight-round season.
There will be no WorldSSP300 round at Donington Park, the next venue for the WorldSBK class itself, but the eager hordes of would-be ‘300’ champions will return to action at Assen in the Netherlands with races on 24 and 25 July.
Adrian Huertas (MTM Motoport Kawasaki), stated: “From the first free practice I just had a good pace. In Superpole, I had some trouble getting a fast lap, but we were able to start from the second row of the grid. We won the first race after the team was able to repair my bike very quickly on the grid after another rider hit me in the pitlane. It was a crazy second race. In the closing stages, many riders hit each other and I finished tenth. It's good to leave Misano as leader of the championship. Now I'm thinking about the next races in Assen.”
Ana Carrasco (Provec Kawasaki Racing), stated: “I don’t know how I won because today’s race was so crazy. I started well but when I was sixth or seventh it was difficult to pass the top riders because they had been faster all weekend, and I was a little bit on the limit. Today it was very hot and I was losing the front a little bit. This class is crazy… yesterday I was 15th and today I could win. I am happy for sure because the first round in Aragon was difficult and the weekend here was really difficult for me. But the team worked well and I tried not to give up. To get back to the podium, winning, is the perfect present for me.”
Tom Booth-Amos (Fusport - RT Motorsports by SKM Kawasaki), stated: “I was happy to take another podium on Saturday and it is more important championship points. I was happy about the race. There was a big battle and in the last few laps, a few of us made a gap from the group, which was nice. On the last lap, I left too much of a gap and then I tried to get past again in the slipstream, but it didn’t work.”
Hugo De Cancellis (Prodina Team Kawasaki), stated: “I am very happy to be back on the podium especially at Misano because this is the place I scored my first point in the World Championship. It is a very good track and I like it. Thanks to the team because we worked very hard to be on the podium today. The victory was so close!”
Samuel Di Sora, (Leader team Flembbo), stated: “A crazy race, as always in Supersport 300. It was very, very tough to start from P19 and we had so, so many problems since the beginning of the weekend. Now that I have finished on the podium I would like to restart the qualifying now! We were a little late with the steps to get to where we need to be but to get to the podium from 19th was a lot of fun! I was third in the last sector and almost crashed but I got the bike to the finish and it was a little bit like a reward to get the podium.”
Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT), stated: “The Superpole was difficult. I was faster than Friday, but other riders were faster and I had to start from P13. It was not a problem for the race. I was fast and had a chance to win the first race. Therefore, I wasn’t happy with my fourth place. In the second race, I had a harder time following the group, but later on, I got to the front. In the last lap, I crashed. I hit another rider and now I have a lot of back pain. We are going to do everything we can to recover for Assen!”
Jeffrey Buis (MTM Motoport Kawasaki), stated: “The pace during the free practice sessions was certainly not bad. I was just always in the wrong place at the wrong time during the Superpole, so I couldn't set a fast lap. We were facing a challenge in the races. In the first race, I started well and it was a shame about my crash. I didn't have the pace in the second race to really push at the front. I stayed around tenth place and tried to attack in the closing stages. A lot of things happened in the last lap and I was able to pass well. I’m happy with this result!”
Koen Meuffels (MTM Motoport Kawasaki), stated: “We were fast in practice and I was very happy with my fifth time in Superpole. This gave us a good starting position for the races. In the first race, I felt strong and was leading sometimes. In the closing stages of the race, I was hit by another rider and lost a lot of places. It was a difficult second race. In my opinion, it was far too crazy in the leading group. The pace was definitely there, but twelfth is not the position where I want to end up.”