WorldSBK Portimao: Aegerter hits 13 in WorldSSP race two

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Ten Kate Yamaha’s Dominique Aegerter claimed his 13th victory of the 2022 WorldSSP season with a determined fight at Portimao.

A half-second lead across the line failed to represent the dramatic action as the Swiss rider celebrated securing the most Supersport wins in a single season - previously held by Andrea Locatelli. Orelac Ducati’s Raffaele de Rosa and Puccetti Kawasaki’s Can Öncü joined him on the podium after race-long-leader Federico Caricasulo missed out on the Althea in the closing stages.

With 29 points between the title rivals as the final European race prepared, current leader Aegerter lined up on pole with Caricasulo and GMT94 Yamaha’s Jules Cluzel alongside. Evan Bros. Yamaha’s Lorenzo Baldassarri down in seventh once again ahead of the 17-lap battle with Tom Booth-Amos facing a long lap penalty for irresponsible riding in Saturday’s action.

Caricasulo grabbed the initial holeshot as the race ignited, Saturday victor Stefano Manzi running fourth from EAB’s Glenn van Straalen and de Rosa with Niki Tuuli dropping Baldassarri on the MV Agusta as he claimed seventh.

Aegerter was back in charge as Caricasulo fought Cluzel for second, the Frenchman briefly getting ahead before the places shuffled with Aegerter down to fourth and Manzi in podium contention.

The battles continued down the pack as van Straalen defended from Tuuli for fifth and Öncü advancing on Baldassarri for eighth. The Italian striking back as he gained two positions at the start of lap three with countryman Manzi continuing to climb out front.

Van Straalen joined the two Italians in the final podium position next time around before Cluzel struck back. Manzi taking control overall as he looked for a triumphant double on the Dynavolt machine and pushing a quarter of a second lead half way round the fourth lap.

Caricasulo’s Panigale was back in the lead as lap five fired up before the Triumph collected him through the twisting corners. The pair continuing to dance as the next laps played out with Yari Montella crashing the second Puccetti out of 11th at the final corner.

Aegerter returned to podium contention, in second as lap seven began before Tuuli capitalised. Manzi dropped into the path of the advancing Baldassarri with the Yamaha quickly bettering to head a trio of Italians from fourth.

Aegerter challenged the Althea for command two laps later as Tuuli found himself in fifth. Manzi back in the podium fight as the Finn bettered Baldassarri for best of the rest with the top six split by less than a second at half-race distance.

A four-way fight for the lead continued with seven to go as Caricasulo continued to defend from the reigning champion. Tuuli back in third from Manzi and Baldassarri with Bahattin Sofuoglu joining the party on the MV Agusta as the leading group grew to nine. Cluzel dropped to the back after running wide at turn one but two seconds clear of Hannes Soomer in tenth.

Contact saw Tuuli and Manzi out of the race as the pair crashed out at turn one with four laps to go, Baldassarri taking avoiding action as he dropped to seventh with Öncü promoted to the podium.

Aegerter took charge as the race counted down. Caricasulo and Öncü with half second breathing space from de Rosa as Baldassarri received a long lap penalty. The Italian had enough of a gap behind to dispatch it quickly and remain in seventh but with three seconds to bridge to Cluzel ahead, further progress was halted.

The penultimate lap found Caricasulo back at the front, this time from Aegerter and de Rosa. Öncü looking for a way through on the Panigale while the Swiss rider did the same for the lead. A further shuffle on the final lap saw heartbreak for Caricasulo as he was demoted off the podium, Aegerter taking the victory from de Rosa and Öncü with the Italian left to settle for fourth.

Sofuoglu claimed fifth from Cluzel, Baldassarri and Soomer with DG34’s Issac Viñales and Aruba Ducati’s Nicolo Bulega completing the top ten.

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Picture: GeeBee Images