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19 September 2020

Mahias Second After Chaotic Race

After some intense race action in dry conditions Kawasaki Puccetti Racing competitors riders Lucas Mahias and Philipp Öttl were fighting each other for podium positions in the opening FIM Supersport World Championship race in Catalunya. After the arrival of heavy rains the race was finally red flagged – despite flag-to-flag rules being present in this category of racing. Lucas was awarded second place and Philipp eighth.

Under the WorldSSP regulations that say each rider is classified in the finishing position that corresponds to which timing point they had completed before the red flag came out to halt the race, teenager Andy Verdoia was awarded the win as he had not elected to come in and change tyres when the leading riders did, and was still setting laps.

Lucas was officially awarded second place, having just come into pitlane to change from slicks to rain tyres to complete the final wet sector of what was supposed to be a 17-lap race.

Phillip went from a seemingly certain podium finisher in dry conditions, after an entertaining contest with his team-mate Lucas, to eighth at the red flag, scoring valuable points in the championship fight. He too had come in to change tyres but before he could exit pitlane the red flag arrived to finish the contest during what was a torrential downpour of rain.

In what was an often confusing race, exactly when riders came into pitlane to change to full wet tyres decided several final race results. It was an especially difficult decision this time around as this is the first year WorldSSP has run slick tyres in dry conditions, with no tread at all to help disperse water and keep heat in the tyres when rain suddenly arrives.

After what proved to be a contentious and highly dramatic ending to what was already an entertaining race long before the storm arrived, Lucas is still third in the championship and Philipp fourth.

One more WorldSSP race remains to be run at Montmelo, on Sunday 20 September.

Lucas Mahias, stated: “The first part of the race was nice but I do not think I used the best choice of tyre. Ten minutes before the race I was still not sure, but when I saw the results of Superbike race it seemed their extra-soft option was not the best choice. So I started with the soft on my bike, not the extra soft. My target was to follow and wait for the last five laps – but finally we did not have the last five laps! When the rain started I thought to myself that it was OK, because I have raced Endurance and I have a lot of experience in these conditions. When it starts to rain it is possible to push a little bit for sure, for one lap more than you think. I thought even one lap more would be OK but when I saw the rain after I passed the pitlane entry, it was a bad choice! It was a long final wet lap and when I entered pit lane they put out the red flag. I thought I had won the race but finally no. A podium finish is nice.”

Philipp Öttl, stated: “It was a good race but the result was not what I expected. I thought there would be a fight with Lucas until the last lap because we had enough gap to those behind. We were having a good battle, I was feeling OK, but then the rain started and I saw Lucas having some small slides. I was a little bit confused because we have flag-to-flag races in WorldSSP but I was not sure when to come in. At the end they red flagged the race and – OK - there was a lot of rain. We have another race tomorrow and we have to try again then. I enjoyed the fight with Lucas today!”

WorldSSP300 champion in 2019, Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) was seventh today, after another positive showing near the front in the dry part of the race. Can Öncü (Turkish Puccetti Racing) was 12th.