Round 05 Pata Italian Round 11 - 13 May SSP Race
Photos Martina&Mario yamaha.com
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team's Federico Caricasulo secured his third podium of the season in his home race at Round 5 of the 2018 FIM Supersport World Championship
in Imola. The 22-year-old Italian charged from fourth on the grid and was battling for the race win right until the chequered flag before crossing the line in second and missing out on the victory by just 0.363s. Reigning WorldSSP Champion, Lucas Mahias, started
from pole and broke away in the early stages of the race before a small crash on lap 5 saw him re-join in 20th place. In a sensational fightback, he carved his way through the field to secure eighth at the line and limit the damage to his 2018 championship
aspirations. European Supersport Cup rider Alfonso Coppola produced his best result of the season to finish in 19th as he continues to impress in his rookie WorldSSP season.
Caricasulo had waited all season to ride in front of the Italian fans at a hot and humid Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari with track temperatures rising to above 40°C for the race. Starting from fourth on the grid, the man from Ravenna had a good start and by lap 4 he was into second place and attempting to break away from the chasing group alongside his teammate Mahias. After Mahias' crash, he inherited the lead and had opened up a one-second gap to Jules Cluzel in second by lap 6 before a small mistake saw him run wide and drop back to fourth, almost 2 seconds behind Cluzel. Patiently he worked his way back into second as they started the final lap but try as he might, he could not find a way past Cluzel on and he crossed the line in second to record his third podium of the season, securing 20 championship points in the process. After this result, Caricasulo remains fifth in the championship standings but now has 60 points and has closed the gap to Randy Krummenacher at the top to just 12 points.
Mahias had timed it perfectly to secure his third pole position of the season on Saturday and when the lights went out for Sunday's race, he looked in ominous form, building his pace and taking Cluzel for the lead on lap 3. Showing sensational pace he set the fastest lap of the race on lap 4, a 1:52.529, to open up a gap of 1.4s over the chasing pack. Unfortunately, on the next lap he had a small crash at Turn 18 but luckily his GRT Yamaha R6 escaped unscathed and he was able to re-join the race, albeit in 20th place. Charging his way through the field, the 28-year-old French rider was able to limit the damage to his championship hopes by crossing the line in eighth and while he may have relinquished the lead in the standings to Krummenacher, he is only two points behind in second with 79 points.
For European Supersport Cup rider Alfonso Coppola, progression is the key in his rookie WorldSSP season after making the step up from the WorldSSP300 championship. Qualifying 23rd on the grid for Sunday's race, he did not have the best of starts and crossed the line in 28th at the end of the first lap. Focusing on his building his race pace, he steadily improved and showed his potential by improving to 19th position when he met the chequered flag, less than seven seconds off a points-scoring finish, highlighting the progress he has made in 2018 and he is now determined to pick up his first championship point at Donington Park.