Ten Kate Yamaha’s Dominique Aegerter recovered from a poor start to claim the opening WorldSSP race victory by three seconds in Estoril.
Evan Bros. Yamaha’s Lorenzo Baldassarri secured second after a fight through the pack from seventh with Nicolo Bulega completing the podium celebrations on his Ducati debut at the Portuguese track.
Sighting lap drama found Stefano Manzi off track with a technical issue on the Dynavolt Triumph before the Italian had even made the grid ahead of the 18-lap race. Aegerter taking his position on pole after a record-breaking performance in the morning’s qualifying.
Bulega took the holeshot on the Aruba Panigale V2 with GMT94’s Jules Cluzel slotting into second ahead of Aegerter. Glenn van Straalen coming under immediate pressure on the EAB R6 from Puccetti Kawasaki’s Can Öncü as Bulega ran wide on his way to fifth. Cluzel capitalised out front with Aegerter up to second. Peter Sebestyen crashing the second Evan Bros machine out at turn six.
The second lap saw Öncü through to the lead from third with Aegerter maintaining his second position. Cluzel defending from van Straalen and a hard charging Federico Caricasulo as the Italian bettered his countryman on the Althea Ducati. Baldassarri circulating seventh in the opening stages with Puccetti’s Yari Montella, MTM’s Adrian Huertas and MV Agusta’s Niki Tuuli completing the top ten.
Bulega battled Caricasulo for the top five as lap three began. Öncü leading an intensely matched trio out front with less than two-tenths covering the fight as Cluzel settled into fourth, half second adrift.
Aegerter had a brief look at the lead before the Puccetti hit back with a hard breaking move characteristic of his mentor Toprak Razgatlioglu. Hannes Soomer crashing out at turn three to end a disappointing day for the Dynavolt duo.
The leading trio crossed the line three abreast as lap five concluded, Öncü wining out at the first corner once again with van Straalen beating Aegerter to the corner in the slipstream battle next time around.
Bulega headed an Italian quartet for fifth as Baldassarri bettered Caricasulo and Montella with a third of the race dispatched. Aegerter hitting the front, from third, as lap seven concluded with van Straalen second. Baldassarri gaining the advantage over the Ducati further back as he locked the Yamaha of Cluzel in his sights.
Aegerter pulled the pin as half race distance approached. Van Straalen crashing out at turn nine with Cluzel and Tuuli doing likewise half a lap later as Baldassarri found himself on the podium. The Swiss rider released with a two-second lead.
The drama saw Kyle Smith promoted into the top ten as the Yamaha circulated in ninth, Huertas and Ondrej Vostatek ahead with Andy Verdoia behind as van Straalen regrouped two seconds back.
Baldassarri captured second from Öncü with seven laps to go. Over three seconds separating him from the leader as Bulega looked to reel in the Kawasaki for the final podium position as the race counted down. Raffaele de Rosa the next to drop down the standings as he took his ride through penalty, rejoining in 25th.
Van Straalen’s recovery found the EAB rider in eighth as lap 14 played out. Ducati’s Oli Bayliss pushing hard from 12th as his pace picked up, ahead of Bahattin Sofuoglu, Simon Jespersen and Leonardo Taccini on the edge of the points.
The last laps saw Aegerter holding a near-four second lead over Baldassarri with a further second and a half separating the Italian from the pursuing Turk. Bulega achingly close for the final podium position with the Ducati snatching the spoils through the first corner as Caricasulo concluded a solitary race in fifth.
Montella headed a recovered van Straalen from sixth and seventh with Huertas, Verdoia and Vostatek completing the top ten. Smith crossing the line 11th from Bayliss, Jerspersen, Taccini and Marcel Brenner in the final points scoring positions. Sofuoglu crashed out in the closing stages.