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2018 WorldSSP Assen Netherland - Assen

24 April 2018

Mahias Maintains Championship Lead in Assen

Mahias Maintains Championship Lead in Assen

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team's Lucas Mahias leaves Round 4 of the 2018 Supersport World Championship at Assen still leading the overall standings after a strong ride to fourth, although he was disappointed not to be able to fight for the race win on Sunday. His teammate Federico Caricasulo was pushing as hard as he could during the race before contact with another rider saw him crash out while battling in the leading group. In the European Supersport Cup, Alfonso Coppola made a strong start but faded towards the end of the race to finish in 20th place.

Mahias struggled to find the perfect setup in Aragon and, unfortunately, he suffered from a similar issue throughout the weekend in Assen. Starting from the middle of the front row, the reigning WorldSSP Champion was riding on the absolute limit for the 18-lap race before crossing the line in fourth. Despite being disappointed on missing out on the podium for the second consecutive race, the 29-year-old French rider leaves the TT Circuit Assen still leading the overall championship with 71 points, although his lead has now been reduced to one point heading into Round 5 at Imola.
Caricasulo also found it hard to get the perfect setup with his GRT Yamaha R6. Despite this, he fought valiantly all weekend and during the race, he had made his way up to fifth from seventh on the grid and was battling with his teammate in the leading group when there was contact with another rider on lap 13 at Turn 6 and his race ended prematurely. Luckily, despite it being a very fast crash, he walked away battered and bruised but without any serious injury. After his DNF, the 22-year-old Italian is now fifth in the championship standings with 49 points, trailing his teammate at the top by 21 points but confident he can fight back at Imola.
Coppola once again showed great progress throughout the race weekend, as the inaugural Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge winner continues to adjust to the WorldSSP championship. Starting from 25th on the grid, he enjoyed a number of good battles with other riders before the extra weight of the R6 and the longer duration of the race started to tell. Battling all the way to the line, he finished in 20th place and is now determined to work hard on his strength and stamina before the next round at Imola.
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team now head to a private test at Brno later in the week, before it is time to set their sights on Round 4 of the WorldSSP Championship at Imola on the 11th-13th May.
Filippo Conti Team Manager
"It was a very exciting race with lots of drama. We just missed out on the podium with Lucas but we managed to close the gap to the guys at the front over the course of the weekend. Federico was pushing really hard but when you do not feel 100% with your bike's setting, everything is harder and this was the reason why he had to take so many big risks. Honestly, I am not very satisfied with this race because I know that we have the potential to be fighting for the victory with both riders. We struggled really to find the right setup for our riders over the weekend and while we managed to improve in each session, it wasn't enough to win the race. Now we have the test at Brno to work on both riders setting's and hopefully we can be back fighting for the race win in Imola. Alfonso finished his first race and he showed really good improvements again over the weekend. Coming from WorldSSP300, he has to get used to the physical demands of riding the R6 in WorldSSP but we are confident he will work as hard as he can to arrive in Imola ready to battle for the top 15."
 

Interviewed: Lucas Mahias

"It has been a really, really difficult weekend for me. I am little bit sad right now because fourth is not the position I wanted to finish the race. This is the second race in a row I have missed the podium and, for sure, I have the pace to fight for the podium but we just can't get the bike setup perfectly at the moment. In Aragon we had similar issues and I seem to be losing out to the others on the straight, so now we must try to understand the problem. I pushed as hard as I could in what was a difficult race but, honestly, fourth was the best I could do today, it was impossible to get on the podium as it was like 18 qualification laps for me. I was pushing right on the limit every lap, which made it very difficult. My teammate Caricasulo had the same issue, he was pushing very hard in the race to try and stay in the podium fight and crashed. For me, it is not the end of the world as I am still leading the championship. I didn't make any mistakes and I genuinely think fourth was the best I could do. We will work really hard at the test in Brno to try and understand this issue and in the time before Imola, we will try and find a solution. I would like to thank my team for all their hard work this weekend. We improved in every session and the chassis is now setup perfectly. This is the reason I finished fourth, because of the excellent work from my team, so now I will focus on being able to fight for the win in Imola."

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