It was a crazy return to action for the WorldSSP300 championship at the Motocard Aragon Round in 2019, with a flurry of action from the start to the end, making for an incredibly exciting season in prospect. The winner of the first race of the season was 16-years-old Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team), whilst defending champion Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki Provec WorldSSP300) crashed out at Turn 13, making her title defence even harder work for the remainder of the season.
From lights out, it was a great start from Indonesian rider, Galang Hendra Pratama (Semakin Di Depan Biblion Motoxracing) took the lead and to the amazement, led the field safely through the opening corners, with no casualties in a packed grid. Gonzalez took the lead early on but there was no escaping, as he oscillated back-and-forth, as riders passed each other to try and establish a constant running order.
As the race went on, Victor Steeman (Freudenberg KTM Junior Team), Hugo De Cancellis (Team Trasimeno) and Maximilian Kappler (Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team) all battled it out, whilst Andy Verdoia (BCD Yamaha MS Racing) and Jan-Ole Jahnig (Freudenberg KTM Junior Team) joined the leading group.
It was a disaster in the middle of the race for the reigning champion, Ana Carrasco, as she crashed out after tangling with Koen Meuffels (Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team), who in-turn was having a tricky race having won at the track last season. Other falls consisted of sole Turkish rider Bahattin Sofuoglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing by TSM) crashing at Turn 2, as well as Indonesian Hendra Pratama, who crashed after contact with Verdoia at Turn 10; the Marc Marquez corner.
As the race reached the closing stages, all kinds of different riders entered the battle, with Omar Bonoli (Team Trasimeno), Scott Deroue (Kawasaki MOTOPORT) and Nick Kalinin (NUTEC – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki) all got in on the action. All three of them had raced through the field from 14th, 15th and 16th, all looking to take the opening win of the season from the lowest grid positions in WorldSSP300 history (that record held by Manuel Bastianelli of Prodina IRCOS Kawasaki, from 13th on the grid at Misano in 2018.
Into the last lap and it looked like we would get a victory from 14th, as Omar Bonoli took over at the front; the 17-year-old looking like he had the pace, before De Cancellis came passed at Turn 7 and immediately looked to break away. However, a fantastic move at Turn 9 by Manuel Gonzalez soon saw a last lap battle. Into the final corner and Gonzalez made a move to the lead and pushed De Cancellis wide, holding on to the lead to take his first ever win as the second-youngest rider in the class! Completing the podium was Scott Deroue, starting his championship challenge off in fine style.
Behind them, Jahnig, Verdoia and Steeman, whilst completing the top ten was Bonoli, Bruno Ieraci (Kawasaki GP Project) who in-turn had come from the back of the grid after a penalty, 2018 Aragon winner Koen Meuffels and Maximilian Kappler.
Outside of the top ten were Robert Schotman (Kawasaki MOTOPORT), Mateo Perdeneau (Team MHP Racing-Patrick Pons), Filippo Rovelli (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team), Nick Kalinin and 2018 runner-up, Mika Perez (Scuderia Maranga Racing). 2017 champion, Marc Garcia (DS Junior Team) could only manage 25th position on his return to the championship.
P1 - Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team)
"I don't have words to describe how happy I am. I really enjoyed riding today. The race was not easy, and especially the final lap was extremely difficult. There were many riders taking advantage of the slipstream on the straight, and it made it hard to keep the position. In the last corner, I was able to overtake De Cancellis and take victory. Thanks to my team for all the work they have done during this weekend".
#AragonWorldSBK WorldSSP300 at MotorLand Aragon - Race
1. Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) - 23'38"997
2. Hugo De Cancellis (Team Trasimeno) - 23'39"055
3. Scott Deroue (Kawasaki MOTOPORT) - 23'39"491
WorldSSP300 Championship Standings after Round 1
1. Manuel Gonzalez (ESP) Kawasaki (25 points)
2. Hugo De Cancellis FRA (NED) Yamaha (20 points)
3. Scott Deroue (NED) Kawasaki (16 points)