After one red flagged ‘race’ and a startline incident that caused a further delay and quick-restart, the lap count was reduced from a planned 19 to only 12.
Öttl had qualified ninth for the opening race of the French weekend and had been as far up as fourth in the early stages before a gradual drop in grip saw him seventh across the finish line, just less than five seconds from the winner Dominique Aegerter.
Can turned 11th on the grid into eighth when it really counted. Despite losing some places for a time he battled back with determined pace and finished just one place behind his team-mate and a mere 5.159 seconds from the victor.
Based on today’s experience the team will work overnight to find an even more competitive set-up for each rider in the second race.
Both Philipp and Can will have one more race in France, with the scheduled 19-lap Race Two set to start at 12.30, in what are expected to be similarly warm and dry ambient conditions to those enjoyed by all today.
Philipp Öttl, stated: “Today was a strange race because we had a red flag at the start. The beginning of the final race was good but then we lost grip with the tyre and we have struggled a lot in this situation for a few races. We still cannot find a good set-up to make the tyre work for long distance. That’s our problem; everything else is not so bad. In the end we did the maximum that is possible. If you finish seventh it is difficult for someone to understand that maybe, but we have to accept our situation and keep working with the tyres.”
Can Öncü, stated: “Eighth place, only five seconds from the first rider, is actually a good result but not as good as I expected this weekend. Tomorrow we have the second race so we need to focus on that and we need to try to do something different, pass more riders earlier in the race and then focus for the next laps. Today our mistake was that we slept a little bit in the first lap and I will not make this mistake tomorrow. Hopefully we will be much closer to the front.”
Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) finished just one place behind Öncü, placing three Kawasakis in the top ten nine positions.
Michel Fabrizio (Motozoo Puccetti Racing Kawasaki) suffered a big crash that caused the original red flag, but escaped with a slight hand injury and heavy bruising. He may return to competitive action for Race Two.
Leonardo Taccini (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) was 17th today. Hikari Okubo (GAP Motozoo Puccetti Racing Kawasaki) had a heavy fall on day one during practice and was not able to ride today.