Imola WorldSBK: Cluzel takes WorldSSP win after four-way scrap

Picture: GeeBee Images

NRT Yamaha’s Jules Cluzel scored his second race win of the season at the Imola round of the WorldSSP Championship, holding off three other riders on a tense final lap.

Early leader Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) ran wide and lost his home lead, but fought his way back to second.

Third place went to Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag). Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing Yamaha) slowly dropped back into fourth after Caricasulo passed him, and De Rosa was the factory Yamaha rider’s next victim, as Caricasulo got back into second.

Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti racing) decided not to compete in the race, despite doing the warm up lap, and he retired in pitlane before the start in his last ever WorldSSP race.

Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) lost his chance of the win after he crashed at the apex of the first Rivazza corner, but he got back on and worked his way back up to eighth.

He had suffered a sudden bout of toothache overnight and was in pain from the outset of raceday.

Another rider fighting illness, Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha) moved up from a tough 11th place grid slot to fifth.

A last chicane fight saw Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki) finish sixth, running across the gravel at the final chicane after being squeezed by Niki Tuuli (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda). The Finnish rider was just ahead of Mahias in seventh place.

In ninth, Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing Triumph) finished on his own, as did tenth placed rider Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing).

In the championship the fight for the title just got much closer, as Krummenacher has 81 points, Mahias 79, Cortese 77 and Cluzel 75 – only six points between the top four.

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