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Aug 2, 2020

Kawasaki Leads WorldSSP300 Championship

A new era of WorldSSP300 competition kicked off at a steamy Jerez circuit with instant success for riders on the Kawasaki Ninja 400. New challenger in this class Tom Booth-Amos (RT Motorsports by SKM–Kawasaki) had a remarkably fast introduction to the class and he leaves Spain as the championship leader. His two podiums were added to by a second place in race two for 2018 World Champion Ana Carrasco (Provec Kawasaki) and a race one third place for Scott Deroue (MTM Kawasaki Motoport).

With slick tires for all classes in the WorldSBK paddock this season the WorldSSP300 riders needed all the grip they could get in the hot conditions that were endured in two ten-lap races, the first held on Saturday 1 August and the second on Sunday 2 August.


In the opening race Booth-Amos finished second in his first ever WorldSSP300 event, after lighting up practice with his pace at times. His qualifying performance, however, left him only 15th on the grid, making his recoveries to podium places in each race truly impressive.


Third place in race two for Booth-Amos came after the rider who had originally finished second had exceeded the track limits and was penalized by having five seconds added to his race time. It was an important development as it helped Tom leave the overheated Jerez circuit with the slenderest of championship leads – just one point.


Carrasco and Deroue now share 29 points each, with Ana placed just ahead of her old rival in fourth overall because of her better second place podium finish today, compared to Scott's third place on Saturday. Ana was seventh in race one.


The top ranked Kawasaki rider in qualifying was Bruno Ieraci (Kawasaki GP Project), in third place, with Carrasco fourth and Mika Perez (Prodina Ircos Team Kawasaki) sixth. Deroue, like Booth-Amos, had to start from the fifth row of the grid in each race, having qualified 13th.


Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki Motoport) was almost on the podium in race one but his fourth place puts him overall eighth place in the table, despite a no-score in race two.


The sixth placed rider in the championship after the two Jerez races is Thomas Brianti (Prodina Ircos Team Kawasaki), with Nick Kalinin (Battley-RT Motorsports by SKM-Kawasaki) seventh.


Front row qualifier Ieraci was 22nd in race one but seventh in the race two, for 11th overall after one round.


Now the 50-plus WorldSSP300 riders head to Portimao in Portugal for the second round of the series next weekend, between the 7 and 9 of August.


Ana Carrasco, stated: "I am happy with second position because I think the Sunday race was really hard. I tried to make a gap in the first lap but it was very difficult in this heat. So I decided to stay in the group and fight in the last lap. It was a shame because they had a little bit of a gap ahead so I could not arrive in a good position to try and fight for the victory. It is a good result for us and our championship position and after the end of yesterday's race I needed to be on the podium. I think we deserved it. Let's keep working on the same line and let's see what's happening in Portimao."


Tom Booth-Amos, stated: "The Sunday race did not start so well for me, I went backwards again like yesterday. I think after two or three laps I started to find my rhythm and pace and I just picked them off one-by-one. Honestly, I just kept getting held up by people. As soon as I passed them they would pass me back and hold me up. It is a shame really because I felt I had the pace to win the race. I am happy to be leading a world championship for the first time, and obviously this is a good feeling that puts us strong for the rest of the year."


Scott Deroue, stated: "I had a good start on Saturday because we had to, coming from P13. I was able to quickly make it to the top five, but I didn't have the speed to get away. Halfway through the race it got really tough with these temperatures, although I normally tolerate heat well. In the final phase we fought for P2. I had the plan ready for the last corner, but because I was hit I had to go wide and lost a few places. On the last straight I was able to come to P3 again because other riders touched each other. I am happy with the result, although I would have liked to finish second. We didn't have the pace today. In the warm-up it went great, but in the race we had a hard time with the high track temperature. Normally they have a hard time passing me with brakes and now they could. Then you get out of rhythm. But with P4 we should be very satisfied today after yesterday's podium. Now, on to Portimão."


Yuta Okaya, stated: "I had a good feeling after the Superpole. The start of the first race wasn't good, but after that I could join the front group. I had mixed feelings after the race, because I was so close to the podium. The second race went very well and I was leading a lot. In the penultimate lap, I hit the rider's rear tire in front of me in a fast corner and lost the front. Happy with my pace in Jerez, but I would have liked to have been on the podium!"


#NinjaSpirit

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