From the start second row qualifier Mahias pushed hard to try and get into contention with the fleeing duo of Jules Cluzel and Andrea Locatelli but despite having almost the same pace as the leaders Lucas was too far behind to catch them from half distance on. A fall from Cluzel with five laps to go put Lucas second on track, a position he would hold to the end.
Taking his second podium of the season today, and his best individual result of the current campaign, Lucas is looking to the second Portimao race on Sunday to continue his strong run of form.
A first Portimao race outing for Philipp Öttl was a sometimes difficult one, as he ended his day seventh. Starting from the second row of the grid like his team-mate Mahias, Öttl found issues with the back end pushing him into the corners in braking, and he worked hard to finish with a worthwhile points haul of nine.
In the Superpole qualifying session, held earlier in the day, Mahias had been fifth and Öttl six.
Tomorrow there will be a second 17-lap race at Portimao, with more points to play for in what are expected to be warm and dry conditions once again. Both Kawasaki Puccetti Racing riders will be hoping to find a little less wind affecting the second race.
Lucas Mahias, stated: “This race it was difficult and the conditions were a little bit different compared to free practice and qualification. This is also the first time we have ridden on track at five o’clock and it was warmer. There was a lot of wind and it affected our bike. I do not have a good aerodynamic position either, so I lost a lot of time. The feeling was not so nice in the wind. When I looked at the front group in the beginning I started to push but I was two seconds behind and the pace was not enough to come back to them. I realised it was not possible and to finish well was OK. When I saw Jules crash I thought, ‘OK, everybody must be on the limit’ so to have a gap on the group behind we took away second place.”
Philipp Öttl, stated: “After a good qualifying, I think we made a good step in the right direction but the race was strange. I could not stop the bike and we had done good work in practice to help us stop the bike but it fell completely different compared to qualifying. We had a nice feeling then and all was good but in the race it was more difficult. In the slow corners I could follow in the beginning but then the rear really pushed the front, and I do not know why. I think it was not a brake problem, as such. Without this issue I think I could have been in the second group today. We will check everything tonight and have a better race tomorrow.”
2020 rookie rider Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) placed inside the top ten in race one, but a luckless Can Öncü (Turkish Puccetti Racing) fell while in eighth position. Although he remounted to try and score points he would eventually retire from the race.