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Donington WSBK: Supersport top ten for wildcard Francis

Dickies British Supersport regular Joe Francis raced to a well-deserved tenth place in the Donington WorldSSP race on Sunday, bouncing back from a crash on Friday to bag points score on the world stage.

After ending Friday’s first free practice session in fifth position, things took a bad turn in the second when he crashed, leaving the team with a repair job and missing most of the session.
But the teenager was back on form for Saturday’s qualifying, battling through SP1 and into SP2, eventually qualifying seventh on the grid, beating a number of high profile riders and becoming the highest-qualifying wildcard.
However, the race didn’t get off to the start he wanted as he dropped right back to 15th after making the wrong tyre choice. Yet his day was saved when another rider dumped oil on the track on the fourth lap, and the race was stopped to allow the track to be cleared up.
The race was replaced with a shortened 13-lap scrap, and this time the youngster was armed with a new tyre which worked much better. He managed to move up to sixth in the opening lap, holding the position for the majority of the race, only dropping off in the closing laps as his tyres began to go off.
He eventually crossed the line in tenth position, much to his delight. “Initially we had been recommended the hard tyre and everyone else ran the soft, and that’s what went wrong in the early stages of the race before it was flagged,” said Francis.

“I was happy the race was stopped when it was as it meant I was able to change it to the soft like everyone else.
“The difference was  amazing, it meant I was able to run comfortably in sixth for most of the race, and I only dropped a few places at the end because the tyre went off a bit.
“I’m really happy with the result, especially considering we missed most of FP2 and had to just make the most of what we had on track yesterday. I came here looking to make it into SP2 and to get a top 10 and we achieved both. It’s been an awesome weekend, and I want to thank Martin and the team for giving me the opportunity and for giving me a great bike.”


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