Misano's opening WorldSSP clash was a race full of tension, drama and excitement as Ten Kate Yamaha's Dominique Aegerter claimed his second victory in as many races and took the championship lead.
It was Aegerter who stole a march on his rivals at the start as he got a superb launch off the line, with the Swiss rider remaining at the front of the field after he secured pole position in the morning Tissot Superpole session. It was a complete contrast to Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha ParkinGo Team) and Luca Bernardi (CM Racing), who joined Aegerter on the front row, with both losing ground at the start of the race.
Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) jumped up from the second row of the grid to second place and immediately put Estoril Race 2 winner Aegerter under pressure, although the Swiss rider was able to withstand that pressure in the early stages of the race.
Gonzalez found himself being forced wide by Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) in the middle stages of the race as the Frenchman looked to move into the podium places, and although he was able to briefly jump up into third place, he found himself shifted down to fourth place by a resurgent Bernardi, who also took advantage of Gonzalez running wide to move up the order.
Once Bernardi passed Cluzel, he set about closing down Odendaal for second place while Aegerter pulled a gap on the South African rider, with Aegerter able to make it back-to-back wins following his success at Race 2, while also claiming Yamaha’s 100th victory in WorldSSP. Bernardi was able to pass Odendaal on Lap 14 in the 18-lap to move into second place, with Aegerter his next target. Odendaal had other ideas, though, and kept the pressure on the Sammarinese rider although Bernardi was able to hold on for second place.
Cluzel had no answer to Bernardi’s pace while he also had to hold back Gonzalez who was looking to move back ahead of Cluzel, with the battle ongoing throughout the second half of the race; Cluzel just about holding on by just 0.031s on a race to the line coming out of the final corner.
Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) claimed a sixth place finish ahead of 2019 Champion Randy Krummenacher (EAB Racing Time) as the Swiss rider secured his best result of the 2021 season with seventh place, after working his way through the field and battling with Can Öncü (GMT94 Yamaha) as the Turkish rider taking his best result in 2021.
Finnish rider Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Corse Clienti) finished in ninth place after battling back from two crashes in Tissot Superpole to secure a top ten finish, ahead of Wild Card rider Roberto Mercandelli (Team Rosso e Nero) who rounded out the top ten after a strong one-off weekend for the Italian rider.
One Event rider Filippo Fuligni (D34G Racing) finished in 11th place, another rider who had a strong showing on their first appearance of the 2021 campaign, finishing ahead of Kevin Manfredi (Altogo Racing Team); Manfredi the highest place WorldSSP Challenge competitor in the field.
Indonesia’s Galang Hendra Pratama (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) finished inside the points with 13th place, ahead of Finland’s Vertti Takala (Kallio Racing) and Leonardo Taccini (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) completing the points; Taccini claiming points in WorldSSP for the first time in his career.