2017 Philip Island World Supersport Race Results: Red Flag Gives Exciting Ten Lap Sprint
Submitted by Jared Earle on Sun, 2017-02-26 03:49
The opening race of the World Supersport series was not without incident as several riders crashed in isolated incidents in the first three laps and was stopped when Robin Mulhauser's Honda flipped end over end and deposited a touch of oil and carbon fibre shrapnel across the track. The race was cut down from fifteen to ten laps and the restart would use the Superpole grid as opposed to track position as too few laps were completed for anything to count. A quick restart procedure put a mechanic out with each rider but none of the usual fanfare or unnecessary latex clad brolly dollies.
PJ Jacobsen, in spite of being one of the crashers in the first race, took his place back in pole position and hoped for a better start, Jules Cluzel being the quickest to turn one in the first start. As it turned out, Cluzel was first into turn one again ahead of Federico Caricasulo, Lucas Mahias and Jacobsen but towards the end of the first lap, Jacobsen had a bit of a wobble and lost a couple of places.
At the beginning of the second lap, Caricasulo led Cluzel but the Frenchman carried speed through the first turn and was able to take the lead back on turn two, throwing him into the clutches of Mahias and their fighting allowed the groups behind to close up, as is familiar to fans of Philip Island.
On the third lap, Jacobsen messed up the turn ten hairpin and ended up in the grass and last position. At the front, the laps qwere ticking down with Cluzel leading at the beginning of most of them, with Mahias, Baldolini, Caricasulo being joined by Robbie Rolfo, Kyle Ryde and Niki Tuuli. Jacobsen was setting fastest laps at the back as he carved his way through the pack, but he would end the race in sixth place.
On the last lap, Lucas Mahias led Federico Caricasulo and Robbie Rolfo but Caricasulo took the lead into turn one. Rolfo forced his way past and was followed by Mahias with Cluzel closing in fast on third place. A little too fast, as it turned out and he collided with Caricasulo, taking both of them out and creating a gap between Rolfo and Mahias at the front and Anthony West, the Aussie journeyman wildcarding this weekend and having climbed up to third place quietly.
With nobody to bother them, Rolfo and Mahias took their fight to the Gardner straight and Mahias glued his Yamaha to the side of Rolfo's MV Agusta and the pair had a horse power and gear mappng duel to the line, with Mahias swerving to find clean air and traction, at one point leaning his elbow on Rolfo's front fairing to get a hind of an advantage and the two crossed the line as one.
At the riders made their way to Parc Fermé, nobody knew who won, but eventually, the photo finish showed that Rolfo led by a tyre's width at the race end. Roberto Rolfo win by the closest margin possible, 0.001 of a second ahead of Lucas Mahias. Anthony West took third place ahead of Kyle Ryde and Niki Tuuli. Only fourteen riders finished and three didn't even start, with Robin Mulhauser, Gino Rea and Christian Gamarino not making the race start.