After an enforced hiatus after the season-opening Yamaha Finance Australian Round, FIM Supersport World Championship return to track action at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto for the Pirelli Spanish Round. It marks the start of the WorldSSP Challenge as well as the introduction of a second race for WorldSSP competitors.
The introduction of the two-race format will provide extra challenges for both teams and riders with the first WorldSSP race scheduled to take place on Saturday afternoons, just a few hours after Superpole. The extra race means more points available in a Round with full points to be awarded in both races.
Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) leads the Championship after taking a dominant victory at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit; and recently competed in the Italian Supersport championship as a wildcard at Mugello where he claimed two victories. The former Moto2™ rider also set blistering WorldSSP pace in a recent test at Mugello as he looks to continue his sensational start to the season.
Raffaele de Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) will be looking to go one better than he did at Phillip Island as he looks for victory in Spain to cement his place as a Championship contender; showing impressive race pace Down Under to claim a second place after starting the race in fifth.
De Rosa held off a challenge from Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) in Australia, with the Frenchman hoping he can challenge at the front as the season resumes. Cluzel did some training at Carole Circuit in France, including breaking the one-minute barrier to take the lap record; a confidence booster heading into the restart of the season. Cluzel claimed a podium in the 2019 Round at Jerez; form he will be hoping to replicate as the season resumes.
Cluzel’s GMT94 teammate, Corentin Perolari, was just short of a podium in Australia but comes into the Spanish Round fourth in the Championship. Perolari is in his third year of WorldSSP action and has taken one pole position in his career so far but is yet to step on the podium. The French rider claimed his equal best finish at Phillip Island with fourth and will be looking to continue that form into Jerez.
2017 Champion Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) is currently sitting in fifth in the standings following his fifth place finish Down Under. Fifth matches Mahias’ best result at Jerez in his WorldSSP career although he did pick up a podium when competing in European Superstock 1000. Mahias competed in an Italian Supersport race at Misano recently, claiming two victories in the two races alongside teammate Philipp Oettl, who finished sixth and fifth in the two races respectively.
Estonian rider Hannes Soomer (Kallio Racing) currently sits in sixth place following the season-opening round in Australia. Soomer, now in his sixth season on WorldSSP, started off the season with a strong performance and his best ever result at Phillip Island; having retired from his previous two races Down Under. Soomer’s Kallio Racing teammate, Isaac Viñales will be competing in his home race at the Spanish Round; looking to move up the field from his 10th place finish in Australia. Viñales finished eighth in the 2019 Round at Jerez, and also finished fifth in 2014 while competing in Moto2™.
South African rookie Steven Odendaal (EAB Ten Kate Racing) had a strong WorldSSP debut race in Australia as he finished in seventh place at a tricky circuit. Odendaal has competed at Jerez before he joined WorldSSP where he claimed a pole position and a second place in his 2016 Championship-winning CEV Moto2™ campaign. He raced at Jerez as recently as 29 in Moto2™, finishing 18th after making up six places during the race.
Like Odendaal, 2019 FIM Supersport 300 World Championship winner Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) had a strong WorldSSP debut as he finished in eighth place, finishing just behind Odendaal after the 16-lap race. Gonzalez was just one second ahead of Federico Fuligni (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) who secured his best-ever finish at Phillip Island with ninth place.
The Pirelli Spanish Round means the start of the rebranded WorldSSP Challenge with entries from Xavier Navand (Altogoo Racing Team), Luigi Montella (DK MOTORSPORT), Alejandro Ruiz Carranza (EMPERADOR Racing Team) and Axel Bassani (Soradis Yamaha Motoxracing). In other news from the gap between the races, 2019 Champion Randy Krummenacher has announced he will not race with MV Agusta Reparto Corse in the 2020 season.
Championship Standings after Race, Round 1
1. Andrea Locatelli (ITA) Yamaha (25 points)
2. Raffaele De Rosa (ITA) MV Agusta (20 points)
3. Jules Cluzel (FRA) Yamaha (16 points)
4. Corentin Perolari (FRA) Yamaha (13 points)
5. Lucas Mahias (FRA) Kawasaki (11 points)