Andy Verdoïa takes the win under wet conditions as the title race continues.
Catalunya faced chaos today for the World Supersport grid, as a race dependent on timing decided not only the race winner, but the fate of the title also.
Verdoïa was the unprecedented winner this afternoon. Starting in 12th position, the Frenchman remained in the middle of the pack throughout the dry conditions in the first half of the race. However, Verdoïa’s obduracy to return to the pits for the wet-tyre switch resulted in the bLU cRU rider practically swimming to his maiden win in the class.
Understandable frustration was in abundance for title leader Andrea Locatelli, as the Italian headed into the weekend with the strong possibility of taking the 2020 crown in Race 1. All that was required of Loka was to take a race win, and – as long as Lucas Mahias finished 10th or lower – the title would be his. However, with his P4 result at the end of the horrendously wet race, the contest continues. This is the first race of the 2020 season that Locatelli has failed to take the podium top-spot in.
With Cluzel out of the Catalunya weekend due to a broken leg, it was down to Mahias to prevent Locatelli from taking the crown. The Frenchman’s admirable ride during the dry segment of the race resulted in a solid footing when the race suddenly surged in a different direction. With the rain starting with just 8 laps to go, Loka’s gap back to second was soon washed away, meaning Mahias was able to reclaim the top spot, as the title leader fell back to third. As the rain continued to only get worse, Mahias could be seen – quite comically – to be discussing with then-second place rider Kyle Smith – who replaces Cluzel this weekend – about heading in to the pits. However, it simply proved to be a matter of timing today, as the red flag appeared the moment Mahias, Smith and Locatelli had returned to their garages.
This red-flag ruling has, unsurprisingly, resulted in numerous apprehensive opinions regarding the outcome of the race. The top 3 riders each lost a position in the overall results, despite being the podium-placers while out on the circuit.
Locatelli still leads the championship, with a 99-point gap back to Mahias, who resides in third. Mahias proves to be Loka’s sole rival for the 2020 crown, due to second-place Jules Cluzel’s non-start this weekend. While Loka’s gap seems borderline impossible to close, Mahias still remains fully capable of simply preventing the inevitable for now. Locatelli needs to finish 8 points ahead of Mahias in tomorrow’s race in order to finally take the championship title.
Tomorrow’s race starts at 12:30 local time.