Mika Perez wins Race 1 ahead of Meuffels and Booth-Amos.
A dramatic Race 1 in Estoril had eyes on the top 20 throughout the 10 laps, as title rivals Jeffrey Buis and Scott Deroue started from down in P18 and P19 on the grid.
Nick Kalinin started from Pole, ahead of Mika Perez and Bruno Ieraci – a front row that would be the main competitors in the race. From Lap 1, the entire top 10 were in contention of leading at any moment; while Kalinin took the holeshot, it wasn’t long before the inevitable overtakes began, in true 300 style.
While it was easy to lose track of who lead the race, Buis’ progress up the board seemed all but stagnant in the opening laps; as the Dutchman remained in the last point-scoring positions, while teammate Deroue looked set to extend the title race for another day, remaining ahead by several positions.
Disappointment came for the Pole-man with just 4 laps to go, as Kalinin crashed out of the lead group due to a broken chain, taking Unai Orradre with him. Kalinin, by a stroke of luck, escaped injury-free as the Yamaha rider hit the Odessan head-on in an unavoidable collision. While Kalinin didn’t re-join the race, Orradre was able to get back on the bike, but had to retire shortly after.
Kalinin’s teammate Tom Booth-Amos made progress from his P9 position fairly early in the race, to fight for the lead. In the final laps, the Brit was a part of the 4-way battle that broke out at the front, along with Perez, Koen Meuffels and Ieraci. As with the rest of the race, the final lap was anyone’s to take. The result depended on who could make the best exit out of Turn 13, as it was a dash to the line with the podium contenders being 3 abreast in the final metres. With just 0.055 seconds covering the top 3, it was Mika Perez who came out on top, the Spaniard taking his first win since 2017.
The front-runners weren’t the only ones to have a last-corner sprint to the line, as Buis and Deroue had found their way to the second group by the final lap. With Deroue leading the group, the championship still had the opportunity to go either way, as the group could have separated the MOTOPORT pair enough to extend the title fight to tomorrow’s finale. However, despite Deroue leading into the final corners of the race, the slip stream towards the finish line was enough to give Buis the boost needed to pull ahead of his teammate, stealing P6 out from under him. Di Sora also managed to pull ahead of Deroue in the final moments, demoting the Dutchman to 8th place. Only 0.047s separated the two countrymen, but it was enough to declare Buis as this year’s champion.
With the 2020 title decided, the final race of the season can go ahead drama-free. But we all know it won’t, this is World Supersport 300 after all.
Race 2 begins at 12:30 Local Time (GMT +2).
Get ready for one hell of a final.
Feature Image: MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT