By the end of the weekend half of the available podium places had been taken by Kawasaki Ninja 400 riders.
With over 30 riders looking for an early advantage after the free practice sessions on Friday 10 June they had to negotiate a morning track surface affected by overnight rain.
In Superpole qualifying on Saturday Victor Steeman (MTM Kawasaki) was the fastest Kawasaki rider, in second place on the grid, with Inigo Iglesias (SMW Racing Kawasaki) joining Steeman on the front row after posting the third fastest time. Superpole was held in warm and sunny conditions, with the grey skies early in the first day feeling like a distant memory.
Under a hot sun and with a tarmac temperature of 45°C the first laps of Race One were both tense and intense, with Bruno Ieraci (Prodina Racing Kawasaki) an early faller, and eventual no-scorer.
As the race developed Steeman set the fastest lap of 1’48.793 on the eighth lap. This was a new WorldSSP300 lap record for the circuit, which survived beyond Race Two. He had an incredibly dramatic opening race after being given two long lap penalties for jump starting.
Samuel Di Sora (Leader Team Flembbo Kawasaki) was the lone Kawasaki rider in a podium position as the final few laps counted down, but the chasing group was almost entirely dominated by Kawasaki Ninja 400 riders.
Di Sora got to within 0.465 seconds of the race win, securing third place and scoring valuable championship points. He had to really work for his latest trophy, especially as the hot conditions were hard on tyres.
Behind the fight for the podium places Victor Steeman (MTM Kawasaki) led a battling group of riders home in fifth place. Inigo Iglesias (SMW Racing Kawasaki) was sixth, Dirk Geiger (Füsport - RT Motorsports by SKM Kawasaki) seventh and Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki) eighth.
Hugo De Cancellis (Prodina Racing Kawasaki) placed ninth, Ruben Bijman (MTM Kawasaki) tenth and Petr Svoboda (Accolade Smrz Racing Kawasaki) 11th - all of them firmly part of the second large group of riders.
In the second race of the weekend, again over 15 laps but held in even warmer conditions (and with a track temperature approaching 50°C) two Kawasaki riders joined the final podium celebrations.
Okaya was to finish second after fighting in a huge leading pack that made constant passing and re-passing manoeuvres. There were ten official changes of race lead but many more away from the start-finish line.
Third place in Race Two was taken by Yuta’s team-mate Steeman, who only just held off the close attentions of Hugo De Cancellis and - after another rider was penalised for exceeding the track limits on the final lap - Dirk Geiger, in fourth place. The race was won by Alvaro Diaz but four of the top five riders were on Kawasaki machines.
Kevin Sabatucci (Kawasaki GP Project) was eighth, and Ruben Bijman ninth. All-in-all, nine Kawasaki riders filled the 15 points scoring positions in Race Two.
Di Sora found misfortune on Sunday after his excellent Race One the day before, as he had to retire on lap nine. He had been in a podium position early on, then dropped down to 12th before quickly climbing back to the podium battle shortly before he had to retire.
In the title fight Di Sora is the top Kawasaki rider still, in third place.
Race two winner Alvaro Diaz leads the championship standings with 125 points, Marc Garcia has 105, Di Sora 101, Steeman 96, Okaya 92 and De Cancellis 73.
There will be no Donington Park round of the championship again this season so there will be a long break for the WorldSSP300 riders before the next round at Most in the Czech Republic, to be held between 29-31 July.
Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki), stated: “In the first race I had good pace and was able to get into the leading group. But in the second half of the race, I became slower than the other riders. I had a hard time. In the end, I managed to finish in eighth place. Race Two was great! I was able to stay in the top three for a long time. Then I ended up in second place for my third podium of the year. It was not enough to win but we gave 100%.”
Victor Steeman (MTM Kawasaki), stated: “In the Superpole qualifying session it was difficult to ride a good lap because of the riders waiting. In the last lap, I managed to find a place and finished second. Unfortunately, in the first race, I made a stupid mistake at the start. I moved a bit and got two long lap penalties. After falling back to P19, I managed to get back to P5. I’m satisfied with the result but the mistake was unfortunate. The second race was great. I was able to stay in front and finished in third place. Happy with the result but there was more potential. Better next time.”
Samuel Di Sora (Leader Team Flembbo Kawasaki), stated: “It was a very, very hard Race One. It was very hot here, and for the first time this year, so it was very complicated to manage the tyres. The grip did go down faster than I thought. The guys in front were very fast and I had to use a lot of my rear tyre early on so at the end of the race I was a bit on the limit. Third place, important points so I was pretty happy with Race One.”
Ruben Bijman (MTM Kawasaki), stated: “After a difficult start we finished Race One on a positive note. Qualifying was tough and I was 16th. I also received a long lap penalty because I rode too many slow sectors. In the first race, I had a good start and fought my way to the front, taking the long lap after four laps. After that, I had to close a lot of gaps, which took a lot of energy. In the end, I fought my way to the front and managed to secure another top ten finish. I started the last day well with a P5 in warm-up. Race Two was very hot and held in difficult conditions. I had a good start and worked my way into the top ten. At one point I was in P7 but dropped back to P15. I had to fight back hard and ended up P9. I would have wanted more, but unfortunately, it was not to be. Now we are going to a circuit that suits me much better and I am looking forward to getting a good result!”
Hugo De Cancellis (Prodina Racing Kawasaki), stated: “Sunday went very well, too bad we missed the podium by a few tenths. Today I had a good pace, I felt good with the bike and I immediately started strong. During the race I recovered many positions until I reached the leading group. Really a pity to have missed the podium for a few thousandths of a second. I wanted it a lot, especially to thank the constant and invaluable work of the team. In any case, we brought home important points from a championship point of view.”
Bruno Ieraci (Prodina Racing Kawasaki), stated: “Surely Sunday went better than yesterday. I finished the second race at least. Unfortunately it was a very hot race and I suffered a lot from being in the group. Now we have a few weeks off in which I will train to be more competitive and incisive in the second half of the season. Thanks to the Team and to all the Sponsors.”