Courtesy of Yamaha Racing Team
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team’s Lucas Mahias stormed to his fourth podium finish of the season today at Circuito San Juan Villicum, taking the chequered flag in third place after a titanic three-way battle in front of a large and passionate Argentinian crowd. Federico Caricasulo’s South American weekend ended in frustration, as the Italian crashed out of contention just two corners into the 19-lap race following contact with another rider.
Mahias, starting from pole position for the fifth time this season, lost out on the opening lap to Jules Cluzel but slotted in behind his fellow countryman as the pursuing pack battled for position behind. Championship leader Sandro Cortese was quick to join the two Frenchmen at the front of the race, as the trio rapidly pulled a gap on the rest of the field.
Mahias shadowed race leader Cluzel for 16 laps, with Cortese happy to sit in his slipstream until two laps from the end when the German passed the GRT Yamaha rider to take second place and start the pursuit of his main championship rival. Mahias was unable to match the straight-line speed of his two rivals, but crossed the line to claim his fourth podium finish of the season in third.
Caricasulo’s Argentinian adventure was brought to a premature conclusion just two corners into today’s WorldSSP race, when Corentin Perolari tried to force his way up the inside and made contact the GRT Yamaha rider, causing him to lose the front. Caricasulo slid off uninjured, but the bike was too damaged in the crash for him to rejoin safely and he was forced to retire.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team – 3rd +3.702
“It was a strange race. I definitely had the rhythm I needed to win today, but I was losing too much ground to Jules and Sandro on the long back straight. I’m a little bit disappointed because we worked hard this weekend and we were fast in every single session. In the race I was pushing for 19 laps on the absolute limit and I was fastest through the corners but it just wasn’t enough to make up for the losses on the straight every lap. I’m happy to be on the podium once again, but it was very difficult today.”
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team – DNF
“Obviously I am not happy with today. We have worked so hard this weekend to make sure we were in the best position for the race and then it was over for me in just two corners. I don’t know what Perolari was thinking, trying to win the race in the second turn, but it cost me my race and that is incredibly frustrating. There’s not much more to say really.”
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager
“To see Federico crash out of the race in just the second corner because of contact with another rider is extremely disappointing, but there was nothing he could do. It was a shame for his race to end this way, because he’d shown throughout practice and qualifying that he had the pace to challenge for the win but didn’t get the chance to do so today. Lucas didn’t get the best of starts, but recovered quickly and managed to stay together with the leaders as they pulled a gap on the rest of the field. He rode a great race, pushing hard until the very end, but Cluzel and Cortese were simply faster than us today. The team did a great job all weekend, so the podium is some reward for them and for Yamaha. Now we need to focus on the final race in Qatar, where our target once again will be to win.”