WorldSBK Catalunya: Aegerter claims fifth WorldSSP double of 2022

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Double delight for Ten Kate Yamaha’s Dominique Aegerter after the reigning WorldSSP Champion secured victory in Sunday’s race at Catalunya.

The scrap for second saw Puccetti Kawasaki’s Can Öncü win out over Dynavolt Triumph’s Stefano Manzi after a late penalty for track limits, with the pair two seconds back on the overall winner.

The second Supersport race of the weekend saw Saturday victor Aegerter back on pole from Öncü and Althea’s Federico Caricasulo with championship challenger Lorenzo Baldassarri in fourth. The quartet having firmly dominated the fight for the podium in race one.

Caricasulo took the holeshot for the 18-lap contest before Öncü bettered at turn five. Puccetti teammate Yari Montella through on Aruba Ducati’s Nicolo Bulega for the final podium position with Aegerter dropped to fifth.

A move out front around Caricasulo back in charge from Montella before the teammates switched. Aegerter and Baldassarri through on Bulega for fourth as the latter Italian dropped down the order with the Evan Bros. Yamaha pushing through to podium contention.

Baldassarri had his sights on the lead as he circulated just two-hundredths shy of Caricasulo before the move at turn one dropped the Althea to sixth, the pack behind quickly capitalising as the Italian faded further, this time to eighth.

Montella took charge from Baldassarri on lap three. Öncü, Kawasaki’s Adrian Huertas and MV Agusta’s Niki Tuuli leading Aegerter as Manzi’s Triumph hassled the Swiss. The leading trio switching places once again as the next lap played out with Öncü back in front.

Caricasulo’s fightback began by dispatching Tuuli. Countryman Manzi the next in line before the Dynavolt progressed to fifth following a move on Huertas, with Bulega and MV’s Bahattin Sofuoglu completing the top ten behind. The Althea man was back to sixth as lap six completed, Baldassarri taking charge out front with Aegerter now up to third.

The leading fight intensified across the mid-race distance. Öncü back in the lead with Aegerter second as Baldassarri headed a quartet of Italians. Manzi continuing his run as he captured fourth from Montella with Caricasulo a second off the group in sixth.

The title-rivals battled on track as Baldassarri took a look at Aegerter, the Swiss rider returning him to third with nine to go as Tuuli advanced on Montella for sixth.

Aegerter struck for victory as Barni Ducati’s Oli Bayliss entered the points. Öncü and Baldassarri dispatching the reigning champion back to third as the lap unfolded with Manzi soon approaching on back of the fight.

A mistake for Aegerter ran the R6 wide at turn one as Baldassarri, Öncü and Manzi escaped out front. Ben Currie and Bayliss crashing out in quick succession as the second half counted down.

Kawasaki led Yamaha and Triumph with six to go, the Ten Kate making up half a second in the opening sector as he clawed back the front group’s advantage to start the next firmly in contention. The leading trio were three abreast as they tackled the home straight for the 13th time, Baldassarri winning out from Manzi and Öncü before the places swapped again next time around.

Öncü hit the front from the advancing Aegerter before the champion was comfortably in charge. A three-tenth gap carved out through the opening sector as his late-race pace came to the fore once again. Baldassarri dropped to fourth one lap later.

Further down the pack Caricasulo sat at the head of group two, as he defended from Sofuoglu and Tuuli, Montella down to eighth as the Finn made moves for sixth with Ten Kate’s Leonardo Taccini and Huertas completing the top ten.

Two to go and the series leader had checked out. Over a second now separating him from the battle for second as Manzi bettered Öncü, Baldassarri fading as he settled for fourth.

The chequered flag out, Aegerter claimed his fifth double victory of the season with Manzi - who started 17th on the grid - holding out for the runners-up spot. Öncü securing the final podium position from disappointed Italian duo Baldassarri and Caricasulo.

Tuuli crossed the line sixth from Sofuoglu, Montella, Taccini and Huertas with Marcel Brenner, Simon Jespersen, Hannes Soomer, Bulega and Jules Cluzel completing the points finishers.

Late drama saw the podium places reversed after Manzi was penalised for track limits by a drop in position.

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Picture: GeeBee Images
Picture: GeeBee Images