Ex-Moto2 rider Randy Krummenacher had made the perfect start to his world supersport career with Kawasaki by taking a sensational victory in today’s dramatic 18-lap season-opener at Phillip Island.
The Swiss rider inherited the lead on lap 16 after teammate and world champion Kenan Sofuoglu unexpectedly crashed at turn six, and he was then unchallenged as he claimed the win from Honda rider Federico Caricasulo and Aussie top gun, Anthony West (Queensland), running a privateer Yamaha.
Queensland’s West was sensational in his wildcard appearance on the locally prepared YZF-R6, and came onto Gardner Straight for the last time in front of Caricasulo but was unable to hold off his rival in the run to the chequered flag.
It was West’s second WorldSSP podium at Phillip Island after finishing third in the 2009 race.
Four other Australians finished with world championship points today: Aiden Wagner (MV Agusta) in 10th, Glenn Scott (Honda) 12th, Alex Phillis (Honda) 14th and Mitch Levy (Yamaha) 15th.
Sixteen-year-old Lachlan Epis (Kawasaki) was 21st, while Kane Burns failed to finish on his Suzuki.
The WorldSSP race featured six different leaders, with American Patrick Jacobsen (Honda) the early leader before Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta), West and Sofuoglu also took their turns.
Things eventually turned sour for Cluzel — who’s won the last two WorldSSP races at Phillip Island — when he ran off at turn two battling with West, with Cluzel’s teammate Lorenzo Zanetti went down four corners later after another competitor touched his front wheel. Zanetti had worked his way through the pack after nearly crashing at turn 11 on lap one.
Meanwhile, Christian Gamarino (Kawasaki) finished fourth from Jacobsen and Alex Baldolini (MV Agusta).
Krummenacher came to WorldSSP after 10 years in grand prix racing — five years apiece in 125 GP and Moto2. His crew chief is none other than Australia’s former two-timer WorldSSP champion Andrew Pitt.
“It was really a special race because the conditions were different to anything before, any practice and any testing. At the beginning it was quite ‘hot’ because it was a big group and I think everybody tried to pass us. They were all looking for the Kawasakis.
“It made it really hard but when it started to rain a bit they were all a bit more scared than me and I went a bit away from the pack and behind Kenan. Then I made my best lap times. I did not expect that Kenan would crash, so I am very sorry for him. Then it was clear I had to bring it to the finish line and it was really hard because there was proper rain in some areas. I had to push or the others would have been coming but when I went over Lukey Heights I saw I had a big gap. I just had to manage the last two corners to bring it home. It feels great to win, unbelievable.”
“I think I got a wrong tyre but it was the same choice I made in qualifying, taking pole position and a fast pace in the warm-up. I put the same tyre in as then but the bike had little grip and vibration and mid-race it exploded, in the middle of the corner. When I exited the corner the tyre went and then I crashed. It was not overheating because I was much more aggressive on the same tyre in practice and the warm-up. It was almost impossible to ride from the first lap.”
“I didn’t expect to even get close to where we were. The whole week had started out as a complete disaster and going into yesterday we were still trying to find our way.
“We threw the team together last minute and we met each other for the first time on Monday – They have done great with what we’ve had to work with and we can’t expect more than that with this bike and what we have to go up against.
“It’s a big achievement for the guys, I think we have achieved what we were trying to do here. I’m looking for a ride for the rest of the year and its just another way to show that I’m still here and I’m still on a fight to win races. I’d like to go to the next World Supersport race if I can.
“Its great to get off the bike and have that Australian support behind me. It has taken a lot of determination from the guys, and determination from myself.”
“We got a good start. I felt good in the beginning and had a great battle with Cluzel. I thought it would have come down to a fight between the two of us but then we realised there was a whole group of riders behind us. Things got a little bit messy out there with people bumping to each other and it got kind of scary on the front straightaway. Towards the end I thought I would have had a bit more grip and obviously I was a bit disappointed with the result. I couldn’t deliver a podium today but I’m looking forward to going to Thailand, where I’m sure we can improve and do a better race.”
“Being able to find 8 tenths of a second in our warm-up session was such a great confidence booster, and really showed that I have what it takes to be in the mix with all these great riders.
“I am overwhelmed with today’s result, both my team and I took small steps forward all weekend and we have started the season strong.
“The mixed conditions in the race certainly made it exciting and I am happy to mix it with the top ten and prove that we can arrive to a good result from here on, Massive thank you to my team for their hard work and a big thank you to all my sponsors”.
World Supersport 2016 – Round One – Phillip Island – Race Results
1. Randy Krummenacher – Switzerland-Kawasaki WIN
2. Federico Caricasulo – Italian-Honda 2.747
3. Anthony West – Australia– Yamaha 2.761
4. Christian Gamarino – ItalianKawasaki2.917
5. Patrick Jacobsen – USA Honda3.20
10. Aiden Wagner – Australia– MV Agusta18.172
12. Glenn Scott – Australia (Central Coast) 18.334
14.Alex Phillis – Australia (Melb/Albury) Honda38.311
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