Ana Carrasco claims SSP300 title at Magny-Cours
Ana Carrasco has claimed the World Supersport 300 title at Magny-Cours, becoming the first woman to secure a world title with a stellar performance in the 2018 season, as it came down to the line at the season final, with a single point separating Carrasco from runner up Mika Perez.
Ana Carrasco – DS Junior Team (Kawasaki)
“It is unbelievable to win the championship and we worked so hard to be here. I did not know I had won on the slowdown lap. I tried to see some TVs to check but I did not see any. I only realised when I got to turn five and I asked the spectators if I was first. I can only say thank you to a David Salom and all the Kawasaki DS Junior Team, it is for all of them. I also want to say thank you to my family who have done so much for me. I want to dedicate this title to Luis Salom. The day we lost him I promised to dedicate my first title to him. At the moment I am happy because we have achieved our goals, but I do not realise all of the things about being the first woman in history. I think after a few days I will be more conscious of this.”
Starting in 25th position on the grid Carrasco was involved in a fight for 20th place for much of the race but she made progress to 19th spot. In the closing laps she moved to a 13th place that would be enough to give her a one-point lead over Mika Perez in the final points table.
Perez was in a position to win the championship himself on the last sector of the final lap but his race leading position was taken from him with two corners to go, and his 20 points were not quite enough to give him the crown.
Carrasco was unaware that she had won the championship on her slowdown lap almost until her team stopped her for a trackside celebration, with her championship-winning T-shirt having the phrase ‘Ride Like A Girl” emblazoned on the front.
Beginning her career in 2011, Spanish sensation Ana Carrasco began in the CEV 125 championship and her points scoring performances saw her secure a seat in the Moto3 World Championship for 2013. Making the move over to WorldSSP300 in 2017, she has been showered in success.
Returning to the scene of her historical debut victory, Carrasco signed off the title with an impressive fight in France. But she hasn’t had a totally smooth season, which makes the achievement an even stronger one.
Beginning the season at MotorLand Aragon, the Spaniard took a top six finish in her debut with the DS Junior Team but was only 0.4s off the race winner. With a strong pace established on-board the Kawasaki Ninja 400, she then headed straight to Assen with points to prove. Crossing the line in fourth position around the historic circuit, she was again just over half a second behind the race winner as the unpredictable nature of a final WorldSSP300 lap can make for a difficult race.
But it was the third round of the season around Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola that ignited her title chances, winning the 11 lap race by a dominant 11 seconds over her rivals. Leaving them for dust, Carrasco put on a sensational performance under the Italian sunshine and left with a three point championship lead.
Carrasco’s sensational form continued over to Donington Park, which is a very different style of circuit to Imola, proving her pace was there to stay. Crossing the line this time by a mere four seconds ahead of the rest, the 21 year old was looking unstoppable as they hit the half way point of the season. Stretching out her championship lead to 22 points, it was hers to throwaway.
However, she faced two tough races in the upcoming rounds and it was a big challenge for the rider from Murcia. Only able to leave Automotodrom Brno with a top 11 finish, and Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli with a top 10, Carrasco entered the summer break with a 16 point championship lead and two races remaining.
With strong memories of Portimao from her debut victory in 2017, she was ready for the battle and prepared to seal the title in Portugal. But the luck didn’t fall in her favour in the penultimate round of the season, and the fight continued on to France. Heading to the final round with a 10 point lead, Carrasco put on a memorable performance to prove she was the worthy champion.
In an emotional display following the 12 lap battle, Carrasco will forever go down in history as she became the first female to take a world title, with a 13th position finish in France.
2018 World Supersport 300 Standings
- Ana Carrasco 93 Kawasaki
- Mika Perez 92 Kawasaki
- Scott Deroue 80 Kawasaki
- Luca Grunwald 78 KTM
- Dorren Loureiro 66 Kawasaki
- Manuel Gonzalez 59 Yamaha
- Borja Sanchez 58 Kawasaki
- Daniel Valle 55 Yamaha
- Glenn Van Straalen 55 KTM
- Galang Hendra Pratama 53 Yamaha
…21. Tom Edwards 11 Kawasaki
…30. Jack Micheal Mahaffy 3 Yamaha