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Another Win For Buis During A Sad Weekend For All In Spain
Jeffrey Buis (MTM Kawasaki) won the first WorldSSP300 race at the Circuito de Jerez - Angel Nieto but the race itself was brought to a halt by a red flag after a multi-rider incident that claimed the life of Dean Berta Vinales.
The subsequent Saturday WorldSBK and WorldSSP races were cancelled but after much deliberation and the approval of Dean’s family, racing recommenced on Sunday.
Before what was a sad finish to the weekend for the entire WorldSBK paddock and beyond, Buis’ Race One win was taken from another Kawasaki rider, Inigo Iglesias (SMW Racing Kawasaki).
Race Two also had two podium finishes for Kawasaki riders, as Iglesias was again second and Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT) third. Buis was just off the podium in fourth place on Race Two, after he and Okaya were penalised by dropping one place for exceeding track limits on the final lap.
The Riders’ World Championship, which could have been claimed by points leader Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT) at this round, will go to the final weekend after Huertas finished seventh in race one but failed to score any points in Race Two. Huertas secured the best starting spot for the Jerez races by winning the Superpole qualifying session on Saturday.
Only one of two riders - Huertas or his team-mate and reigning World Champion Jeffrey Buis can now win the title, as the injured Tom Booth-Amos (Fusport - RT Motorsports by SKM Kawasaki) was not cleared to ride at this round and is now 52 points behind Huertas’s post-Jerez total.
MTM Kawasaki took the Teams’ Championship title home after this weekend, for the second season in succession.
The first race at the 4.423km long circuit in the extreme South West of Spain was held in sunny conditions, with the usual large field of riders disputing the top places.
Only 0.113 seconds proved to be the gap between race winner Buis and Iglesias, with the next Kawasaki rider home being Samuel Di Sora (Leader Team Flembbo Kawasaki) in sixth place. He led Huertas, eighth placed Okaya, Marc Garcia (Prodina Team WorldSSP300 Kawasaki) and Oliver Konig (Movisio by MIE Kawasaki).
The second WorldSSP300 race of the Jerez weekend was the final race of a day that had started with a minute’s silence for Berta Vinales on Sunday morning, and with almost the entire WorldSBK paddock in attendance on the start/finish straight.
Yamaha rider Bahattin Sofuoglu took the Race Two win but with Iglesias (SMW Racing Kawasaki) second and Okaya third, Kawasaki riders have taken 33 of the 42 available podiums in the season so far - and 11 of the 14 wins.
Garcia was just behind Buis across the line in the second race of the weekend for fifth place, with Konig, Koen Meuffels (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT), Kevin Sabatucci (Kawasaki GP Project) and Bernat Ieraci (Kawasaki GP Project) also scoring championship points of some kind.
Huertas experienced gearshift problems in the second race and a contact with another rider led to him crashing out of contention and no-scoring.
The 2018 World Champion, Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki Provec WorldSSP300) was 20th and then 18th today, having some technical issues to deal with.
In the points rankings Huertas has 210, Buis is 36 points behind on 174, Booth-Amos has 158 and Di Sora is overall fourth with 123.
The final round of the championship will take place at the undulating Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal between 1-3 October.
Adrian Huertas (MTM Motoport Kawasaki), stated: “It was a very sad weekend because I lost my friend Dean Berta Viñales. It was very hard to start on Sunday, but I made with the motivation that I could win for him. I had some problems with gear shifting and made some mistakes. I was on the way back when I was hit by another rider. In the process I hit another rider. I feel very sad about that. We will keep working for Portimão, because it will be very important and we will go for it to finish the championship there.”
Jeffrey Buis (MTM Motoport Kawasaki), stated: “It was a strange and intense weekend. First you win the race and you are on the podium, but not much later we heard that Dean Berta Viñales had passed away. Everything changes then and it's not about racing anymore. My thoughts go out to Dean's family and loved ones. I wish them a lot of strength. In the second race things went very well, but at one moment I went to take first gear and missed it, so I had to come back from P14. This happened again in the last corner, so I finished fourth instead of second. In terms of results, we did a good job in Jerez.”
Inigo Iglesias (SMW Racing Kawasaki), stated: “Today was difficult to keep the mind fresh after what happened on Saturday. I want to send my condolences to Dean’s family. For the second race my mind was just with Dean and his family - the race, and the result, is a secondary thing. With two podiums here, we are arriving. At the Most round we were really bad so we made a change in the team, and in my mind. After that things have been improving. Our progression is good and the team is happy.”
Ana Carrasco (Provec Kawasaki Racing), stated: “It has been a very hard weekend, I think racing today after what happened yesterday was not easy for anyone. If we focus on the Sunday race the truth is that it was very difficult. I set off well but then I started to have problems with the engine and I lost the leading group. Now, it’s important for the team to investigate in depth what happened in order to resolve it for the next race. I think that after what happened with Dean yesterday, today the sports aspect doesn't matter much. We raced for him, for his team and for all his family.”
Koen Meuffels (MTM Motoport Kawasaki), stated: “It is terrible what happened this weekend. At that point is racing not important anymore. I didn't have a good qualifying, so I had to start from the ninth row. I found my way up to the points scoring positions in the first race, but at that moment the leading group had already gone. In the second race I was able to come back to twelfth place, but it wasn’t possible to get through to the leading group. Next week in Portimão we will try to finish the season with two good results.”
Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT), stated: “It is very sad what happened this weekend. I wish all Dean's relatives a lot of strength. It makes you very quiet. About my own racing: I had a good feeling with the bike and I was able to lead a few times in the first race. In the second race I did even better and took my second podium of the season. It was a difficult race and it feels better than in Aragon. I want to thank the team, my family and everyone who supports me.”