WorldSBK Phillip Island: Aegerter wins as Cluzel bids farewell to WorldSSP

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Ten Kate Yamaha’s Dominique Aegerter completed his double WorldSSP Championship season with a win at Phillip Island in race two.

Althea’s Federico Caricasulo and Evan Bros. Yamaha’s Lorenzo Baldassarri completed the final podium celebrations of 2022 after a race-long battle at the head of the field.

While the Supersport grid lined up under blue skies, threatening dark clouds were hovering in the background as Jules Cluzel prepared for his final race in the World Championship after an eleven year career. Caricasulo headed the pack on pole position with Aruba Ducati’s Nicolo Bulega and Puccetti Kawasaki’s Saturday race winner Yari Montella alongside.

18 laps around the island layout ignited with Bulega in charge from Montella and Caricasulo with Baldassarri up to fourth. Aegerter rising from fifth to third on the Ten Kate R6 as Montella ran wide and Caricasulo claimed second.

The reigning champion was in the hunt as he advanced to second before the Althea rider hit back. Can Öncü crashing the second Puccetti out after contact with the first as the opening lap concluded. Aegerter heading a quintet of Italians with Baldassarri now second before the duo battled for dominance as the second lap played out.

Stefano Manzi trailed his countrymen in sixth on the Dynavolt Triumph having started eleventh. Marcel Schrotter enjoying his Supersport debut on the MV Agusta with Orelac’s Raffaele de Rosa, MTM’s Adrian Huertas and Triumph’s Hannes Soomer completing the top ten.

Just a tenth of a second separated the top four across the line as lap five began. Baldassarri winning out over Caricasulo, Aegerter and Montella with Manzi bettering Bulega as he attacked to fifth. The Puccetti rider issued a long lap penalty for his part in his teammate’s early exit as Cluzel entered the top ten.

Montella dispatched the penalty and returned to seventh as Schrotter rose to fifth. Aegerter though to the lead on lap seven before Manzi crashed out at Miller corner. The incident providing breathing space for Caricasulo in third as Schrotter regrouped a second adrift.

The Italian went from third to first at the opening corner next time around before Aegerter hit back two corners later. Baldassarri challenging his countryman as the lap unfolded before making the move stick next time around.

Further back Glenn van Straalen promoted the EAB to eighth with Cluzel narrowly behind. Huertas and Oli Bayliss getting the better of Soomer on the fringes of the top ten before the Australian claimed the position seconds later.

Aegerter held a 1.3s lead from Caricasulo with eighth laps to go. Baldassarri half a second shy with Montella back in charge of group two as Bayliss advanced to eighth.

Four to go and the podium sitters looked to have a comfortable advantage over the rest of the pack. The trio split by a second and a half apiece with three seconds back to Bulega in fourth. GMT94’s Andy Verdoia dispatching the local rider and teammate Cluzel in the battle for eighth before van Straalen returned to the fight at the expense of the retiring Frenchman. Bayliss bettering again next time around to the delight of the home fans.

Aegerter claimed the victory, for his 17th of the season, from Caricasulo and Baldassarri. Bulega leading Montella, de Rosa and Schrotter home in the battle for fourth with Bayliss heading group three in eighth. Verdoia and van Straalen denied Cluzel a top ten finish on his farewell race with Huertas, Peter Sebestyen, Simon Jespersen and Soomer completing the points finishers.

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