WorldSBK Most: Baldassarri does the double in red-flagged WorldSSP| Christina Bulpett | WorldSBK
Evan Bros. Yamaha’s Lorenzo Baldassarri ended a nine-race win-drought with a double victory at Most in the red-flagged WorldSSP final race.
Having led for the majority of the shortened 15-lap race, Aruba Ducati’s Nicolo Bulega was denied the spoils in a late-race move by the R6 machine, with the Italian forced to settle fro second. Dynavolt Triumph’s Stefano Manzi claiming his second podium in the class in quick succession after Saturday’s debut success, in third.
The second Supersport race prepared with controversy surging the championship leader Dominique Aegerter. The Ten Kate rider initially ruled out due to concussion before later being suspended from the action due to sanctions over his behaviour following the race one crash - Aegerter admitting to ‘simulating a medical situation in order to force a race stoppage’.
Saturday victor Baldassarri lined up on pole for the second bout ahead of the Ducatis of Federico Caricasulo and Bulega. The Althea rider one of the five taken out at the start of the first contest and hoping for a better showing this time around.
As the lights released for the 19-lap action, Baldassarri maintained his advantage front an all-Italian trio behind him. Caricasulo leading Bulega and Puccetti’s Yari Montella as turn one saw a number of riders run wide.
Bulega was up on his countryman for second as lap two began, Andy Verdoia sitting fifth on the GMT94 Yamaha as Issac Viñales crashed the DG34 Ducati out at turn 10.
Can Öncü joined his teammate in the top six after a determined move on both Verdoia and MTM Kawasaki’s Adrian Huertas. Montella falling in the opposite direction as he dropped to seventh with Orelac’s Raffaele de Rosa, Manzi and CM Racing’s Max Kofler rounded out the top ten.
Bulega was honing in on Baldassarri as just two-tenths separated the pair with four laps complete. Caricasulo over half a second adrift of the battling pair before Öncü dispatched the Althea following a trip through the gravel.
The Aruba rider was in charge on lap five and pulling an immediate quarter of a second gap in the initial stages. Caricasulo forced to battle hard with Huertas for fifth as his gap tot eh leaders increased after the off track excursion.
A crash for Oli Bayliss grounded the Barni Ducati rider at turn 15 with 13 laps to go as GMT94 stand-in Valentin Debise advanced to ninth. Manzi making his own moves further up on his way to fifth and with a second podium firmly in his sights.
Montella was the next to fall, this time at turn 21, with a double crash following at the same corner involving Patrick Hobelsberger and Max Kofler. Kyle Smith caught out on the VFT Yamaha one corner earlier next time around.
Manzi captured Caricasulo at the halfway stage as Bahattin Sofuoglu rose to seventh on the MV Agusta. Bulega maintaining his lead by the smallest of margins as Baldassarri remained in check out front.
The Triumph was down to sixth after running wide as Caricasulo and Huertas capitalised on the mistake. The Italian quickly regrouping on the Kawasaki before advancing back on the Ducati to retake fourth once again. Sofuoglu following suit to dispatch Caricasulo for fifth next time around.
Manzi set the fastest lap of the race as the final five fired up, Öncü and the podium less than a quarter of a second away from the Italian after securing his debut one day earlier. The move was secured in the final sector with the Triumph storming down the straight as the next lap kicked in. Steven Odendaal crashing out and De Rosa retiring on the side of the track as the red flag came out for the stricken riders.
Baldassarri, having just got through on Bulega for the lead - and securing the position at the last completed timing point - was awarded the victory with the Evan Bros Yamaha rider taking two from two in the Czech Republic and reducing his defict in the standings to just 14 points.
A frustrated Bulega settled for second from Manzi with Turkish training partners Öncü and Sofuoglu rounding out the top five. Caricasulo headed Huertas, Debise, Hannes Soomer, and Niki Tuuli with Peter Sebestyen, Verdoia, Leonardo Taccini, Marcel Brenner and Glenn van Straalen completing the points finishers.