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22 Toukokuu 2022

Di Sora Storms To Record Breaking Win In Portugal

Samuel Di Sora (Leader Team Flembbo Kawasaki) almost won the first race of the Estoril WorldSSP300 weekend but he took an emphatic and historic victory in Race Two - despite having to start from the back of the grid after his tyre pressures were deemed too low by the officials.

No rider in the short but intense history of this racing class, designed to train and showcase young riders in a race setting, has ever made up fully 30 places to win a race from that far back on the grid. He had started in 31st place.

Now Di Sora, the most successful single Kawasaki Ninja 400 rider at this meeting, has created a legend of his own as he moved into second place overall in the championship standings.

Over 12-laps around the modern classic Circuito Estoril in Race One, on Saturday 21 May, Di Sora came within an agonising whisker of winning, having led the race near the end.

Leading out of the final corner he looked to have done enough to score his first race victory of the season, but eventual winner Marc Garcia used the slipstream well not to mention very wide passes on the final straight - to just head off Samuel by 0.041 seconds.

Third in the opening race, and the ‘winner’ of Superpole qualifying session on Saturday at new record pace, Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki) finished with a small cushion behind to third - and his won team-mate.

Victor Steeman (MTM Kawasaki) was fourth and Bruno Ieraci (Prodina Racing Kawasaki) fifth after the usual dense fight in a class with so many young riders who are evenly matched.

Ruben Bijman (MTM Kawasaki) was ninth and Dirk Geiger (Füsport - RT Motorsports by SKM Kawasaki) tenth, making it six Kawasakis in the top ten places.

In Race Two - with a light sprinkle of rain ariving in the middle of it - Di Sora’s demotion all the way to the last starting slot on the grid was overtuned quickly as he was 15th on lap one, ninth on lap two and in the lead on lap five!

Inigo Iglesias (SMW Racing Kawasaki) was the rider Di Sora held off for his famous win, with Iglesias’ second place his first podium of the season. He had crashed out of Race One.

Kevin Sabatucci (Kawasaki GP Project) was fourth in the final Estoril race and Victor Steeman only sixth because he was penalised for exceeding the track limits on the final lap - a mandatory penalty irrespective of circumstances.

Hugo De Cancellis (Prodina Racing Kawasaki) was seventh, Okaya eighth, Bijman ninth - again - and Dirk Geiger tenth - again.

In the points standings, after three exciting rounds and six thrilling races, Marc Garcia leads with 98 points, Di Sora is second on 85, Alvaro Diaz third with 80, Steeman fourth on 69 and Okaya fifth with 64.

The WorldSSP teams will reconvene at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli for round four, to be held between 10-12 June in the sunshine of an Adriatic summer.

Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki), stated: “Superpole was good for me. I didn’t expect can get pole but I am just happy with this result. In the first half of the first race I struggled into the group. In the second half I could make the pace alone for third place. I am just disappointed about race one because I had a good pace. The first half of the second race was good for my position.
But in second half I was struggled in the group. I couldn’t gain my ideal position. So, I am a little bit disappointed for today but the weekend was good one. We will make a better one in Misano.”

Samuel Di Sora (Leader Team Flembbo), stated: “I didn’t know I had set a new record of some kind until after the race - but it is incredible. I was going lap by lap, turn by turn, passing riders and making my way through. It was hard but I was confident. At the beginning we had an issue with the tyre pressure, which is strange because we are always running with a little bit of margin over the lower limit, to make sure nothing like this happens. But when something like this rebounds on you, become stronger. The bike was incredible to ride and that is what’s made it possible to make a comeback like this. It is thanks to the work of the team. We were so, so close to the win in Race One on Saturday, so it was important for us to take the win in Race Two.”

Victor Steeman (MTM Kawasaki), stated: “My first race day was actually pretty good. P6 in Superpole; I was happy with. In the race I had a good start and on lap two I was first. Only after that there were some mistakes and stupid actions of other drivers, so I lost the connection with the leading group. This was unfortunately too far. It was a good day on Sunday. P6 in the warm up in the rain was fine. And in the race it went really well! I could easily stay in front and controlled the race well. On the last lap someone hit me and I had to go to the green. I also got a penalty... very unfair. But am happy with the feeling and normally I am strong in Misano! So next time - better.”

Ruben Bijman (MTM Kawasaki), stated: “Until Superpole the weekend went badly. I had to pick myself up after Assen. And in the race I succeeded! I had to start from P21 and was already on P12 in lap two. Then, I had to take two long lap penalties where I fell back to P28. I picked myself up and managed to drive back to the leading group and for a large part I was the fastest on the track. After I caught up I overtook almost 20 people and was 9th. We are very happy with that. I was able to get good points on Sunday too. After a lot of bad luck in the first laps I managed to fight back. Of course we had to come from the back and that made it difficult, because it was a chaotic race. But in the end I managed to get a 9th place out of it.”

Inigo Iglesias (SMW Racing Kawasaki), stated: “Last year I made three podiums and it put us in a strong place for this season. At the end, I got this first podium of 2022 which is so important for me, my team and for our confidence. We thought it would be a good weekend but I had a crash yesterday when I was fighting for the podium, but today I got the first podium. We will continue working in this line for the rest of the season.”

Bruno Ieraci (Prodina Racing Kawasaki), stated: “I was fifth in the first race but unfortunately the second race ended after a few corners. I had started very strong and had already gained a lot of positions but I touched another rider and crashed, compromising the race. Now we focus on Misano, hoping to be able to give a great show to our fans.”