Montella takes first WorldSSP win by 7 seconds ahead of Manzi and Schroetter, Bayliss finishes in P5

By February 24, 2024 WorldSBK

Montella takes first WorldSSP win by 7 seconds ahead of Manzi and Schroetter, Bayliss finishes in P5

WorldSBK By February 24, 2024

It was lights out for the first FIM World Supersport race of the 2024 season, and it all took place at the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. To add additional talking points to the already highly anticipated season opener, it was our first look at a flag-to-flag race format.

Not only was it our first look at the flag-to-flag race format that we will see this weekend, but it was also the first look at the new World Supersport format, which sees the Race 2 grid formed from the top 9 fastest lap times.

 

Drama started before the lights even went out, with pole sitter Adrian Huertas [Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team] rolling his bike off the grid before the sighting lap commenced, despite restarting the race from pit lane, he wasn’t able to complete a full first lap, pulling into the pits and further retiring from Race 1, further relegating him to the 4th row on the grid ahead of Race 2 tomorrow.


The lights went out for the first time of the 2024 season, and it was Marcel Schroetter [MV Agusta Reparto Corse] who led the way into Turn 1’s Doohan Corner, but was quickly overtaken by Yari Montella into Southern Loop.

Further down the field, an altercation between Can Oncu [Kawasaki Puccetti Racing] and Glenn van Straalen [Pata Yamaha Ten Kate Racing] saw the duo in the gravel trap at Turn 2 off the start, both further retiring from Race 1.

As lap 3 got underway it was evident this was going to be a strong fight between Yari Montella and Stefano Manzi [Pata Yamaha Ten Kate Racing], and with the top two having a strong scrap, this allowed Marcel Schroetter back into the leading pack to fight for the race win, prior to any riders completing their mandatory pit stop.

Less than a second covered the lead quartet on Lap 3 between Manzi, Montella, Schroetter and Lucas Mahias [GMT94 Yamaha].

Meanwhile, while the front four had a close scrap, Oli Bayliss [D34G Racing WorldSSP Team] had a strong start, finding himself in 7th position on Lap 5, with the Aussie looking to hold a strong pace that could potentially see him fight for a podium given his team could complete a strong mandatory pit-stop.

Manzi managed to open up a 4 tenth lead as they commenced Lap 7, leaving the World Supersport riders with one more lap until pit lane opened for their mandatory pit stop, with a 78 second mandatory pit intervention time.

Montella and Manzi were the first 2 riders to enter the pits at the conclusion of Lap 8, making the decision to go early. Followed by Oli Bayliss who also opted for the early tyre change. 

Schroetter and Valentin Debise [Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team] were the next to enter pit lane at the end of their ninth lap, but for Debise his race ended shortly after a massive crash in Siberia on his first out lap.

With all riders entering the pits by Lap 11 it was Yari Montella who again lead the way, setting the fastest time of the race on Lap 11 of a 1:31.271, holding a momentous 6.117 second lead from Marcel Schroetter and Stefano Manzi. Oli Bayliss also worked his way up to 4th position, but was certainly getting a lot of pressure from the #9 machine of Jorge Navarro [WRP-RT Motorsport by SKM-Triumph] and Lucas Mahias, who eventually was overtaken by the duo on Lap 13. 

By Lap 14, the penalties started to roll in from riders who did not abide by the minimum pit intervention time, which for the front pack only affected Lucas Mahias, who was handed a 1.950 second penalty that would be added to his overall race time once he crossed the chequered flag.

With only 3 laps to go, Yari Montella pulled a massive 7.8 second gap from fellow Italian rider Manzi, to eventually take the very first race win of the FIM Supersport World Championship.

Second place went to Stefano Manzi, and rounding out the podium in third place was Marcel Schroetter. Frederico Caricasulo took 4th spot, and it was a major win for our Australian crowd, with Oli Bayliss taking his career best finish in World Supersport, bringing it home in 5th position.

A special mention must also go to our Aussie wildcard Tom Toparis [Stop and Seal Racing], who secured a Top 10 finish in Race 1!

 

Written by: Tayla Relph
Images by: Russell Colvin
Don’t miss a second of the action from the 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round – 23 – 25th February 2024.
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