Puccetti Kawasaki’s Can Öncü opened his WorldSSP victory account with a dominating performance at Mandalika on Saturday.
The Turkish rider secured the race one win, his first since joning the Supersport field in 2020, by over three seconds from Althea’s Federico Caricasulo with Dynavolt Triumph’s Niki Tuuli third.
A sharp shift in weather from the morning’s qualifying found a strong wind bringing in heavy cloud cover over the Lombok Island circuit as the Supersport class lined up for race one. Last weekend’s double winner Nicolo Bulega headed the grid following his maiden pole performance a matter of hours before with Caricasulo and Öncü alongside on the front row.
The rain arrived ahead of lights out for 18 laps. The initial smattering affecting all sectors but light enough for the action to ignite on slick Pirelli rubber. Bulega took charge as the pack released before Caricasulo swept through to lead with Öncü capitalising on the Italian duo as the opening lap completed. Bulega falling backwards to sixth by the start of lap two with Tuuli up to third on the Street Triple RS.
Last weekend’s podium sitter Nicholas Spinelli sat fourth on the VFT Yamaha after an eighth place start before both he and Tuuli captured Caricasulo ahead. Stefano Manzi making moves into the top six on the Ten Kate R6.
The battle for third continued as the race unfolded. Caricasulo attempting to hit back at his fellow Italian before Spinelli returned the advance. The pair bickering as lap four began with the Althea pulling a two then four-tenth gap next time around.
Bulega’s race picked up pace as the Aruba rider returned to seventh on Manzi. Glenn van Straalen fighting Raffaele de Rosa for fifth ahead on their respective EAB Yamaha and Orelac Ducati machines with Marcel Schrotter joining the top eight group on the MV Agusta.
GMT94’s Valentin Debise was the next to dispatch Manzi in the top ten as Öncü’s lead increased to 1.6s out front. Caricasulo challenging Tuuli for second as lap eight fired up with the Italian through halfway round.
Further back, John McPhee was running 13th on the Vince64 Kawasaki as fellow Brits Tarran Mackenzie and Harry Truelove circulated in 16th and 18th respectively. Spinelli down at turn five with Andrea Mantovani retiring on the Evan Bros in a disappointing two minutes for Yamaha.
The leading trio held a four second advantage over best of the rest de Rosa with eight laps to go. Tuuli returning to second through turn 13 before Caricasulo hit back as he powered down the home straight. McPhee advancing on Jorge Navarro for 11th next time around.
Five to go and the fight for fourth intensified. De Rosa defending hard from van Straalen with Bulega sitting tight half a second behind before Schrotter swept through to dispatch the former race winner. The German continued to climb as the race counted down, Schrotter picking off van Straalen with three laps to go before setting his sights on de Rosa in the closing stages.
Both Schrotter and Bulega bettered the Orelac for position as the penultimate lap neared conclusion before the Aruba rider skittled van Straalen off track. De Rosa suffering his own technical issues on the dramatic final lap as Debise capitalised to an unexpected top six.
Öncü met the flag over three seconds clear of Caricasulo and Tuuli with Schrotter and Bulega rounding out the top five the same distance back. Debise crossed the line eight seconds later for sixth with a distant Manzi over 15 seconds adrift. D34G’s Oli Bayliss, MV Agusta’s Bahattin Sofuoglu and McPhee completed the top ten ahead of the regrouped van Straalen while Navarro, Yamaha Thailand’s Anupab Salmon, Mackenzie and Petronas MIE teammate Adam Norrodin completed the points finishers.