Match Point to Mahias in WorldSSP at Jerez2017-10-17 08:21
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team's Lucas Mahias arrives at the penultimate round of the 2017 FIM Supersport World Championship in Jerez this weekend with a chance of being crowned champion. The 28-year-old French rider leads the championship by nine points with just two races remaining, meaning Mahias can wrap up the title with one race left if he leaves Jerez leading the standings by more than 25 points. His teammate Federico Caricasulo will be looking to build on his third podium of the season last time out at Magny-Cours as he aims to finish the year in the strongest fashion possible.
Magny-Cours saw Mahias forced to ride through the pain barrier during the race after the championship contender aggravated an old injury in his right wrist during a nasty looking highside in a wet FP3 on Saturday. In Sunday's race, the home hero had to battle back after contact with another bike on the first lap saw him down in 19th place, scything his way through the pack in sensational style to cross the line in an incredible fourth place. Mahias had further treatment on his wrist injury after the race in Magny-Cours but arrives at Jerez almost 100% fit and determined to put the championship beyond doubt. The Jerez track holds happy memories for the French rider, with his first victory outside of France coming at the circuit in the CEV Moto2 European Championship and he was also on the podium in STK1000 last year. Mahias is currently leading the overall championship standings with 154 points and there are 50 points up for grabs in the remaining two races.
His teammate Caricasulo is looking to build on the superb pace he showed in Magny-Cours throughout the weekend where he recorded his third podium of the season after finishing the race in second on his Yamaha R6. The 21-year-old Italian has shown his potential in 2017, winning in Thailand and also finishing on the podium in Assen. Having secured his place with the GRT team for 2018, his focus has now switched to trying to finish the 2017 season in the best possible way to allow him to enter 2018 as a serious title contender. Caricasulo is currently sixth in the championship standings with 80 points heading into the final two races of 2017.
The iconic 4.423km Circuito de Jerez is located 90km south of Seville in the sherry-producing Andalucía region in Spain. Opened back in 1985 it hosted its first WorldSBK race in 1990, becoming a permanent fixture on the calendar from 2013. The track consists of 13 corners, 8 right and 5 left-handed, plus a start/finish straight of just 600m and contains a mix of fast, sweeping corners and slow technical hairpins, with constant elevation changes. The track is incredibly popular with the Spanish fans, who always manage to create a positive atmosphere at the circuit and also in the nearby city of Jerez de la Frontera. The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team are in action from 11 am local time on Friday for Free Practice 1, with Saturday's qualifying set for 15:00 pm and Sunday's race due to start at 15:15 pm.
Lucas Mahias Profile 2017 Lucas Mahias
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 1st - 154 points
"I'm really happy to arrive at Jerez. I like this track a lot and I won my first race outside of France here in the CEV Moto2 European Championship. The layout suits my riding style and I enjoy riding here, I cannot wait to hit the track on my R6. There is a lot of talk about the championship and what can and can't happen, so I will just try to approach the race weekend in the normal way and give it everything to win!"
Federico Caricasulo Profile 2017 Federico Caricasulo
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 6th - 80 points
"I am ready for Jerez! I want to continue the pace I showed in Magny-Cours. I have been training very hard the last two weeks in preparation and after the work we did in France I am much more confident with the base setting on my R6 and with my team. I will work hard from FP1 to try and get the best result this weekend, so we can finish our season in the strongest way possible."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager
"It is the last two chances to claim the championship as we head to Jerez - the last European round - ready, with both our riders and the whole team up for the challenge. For Lucas, we simply want to get the best result possible as we focus on the championship. Obviously, we know there are a lot of possible outcomes but this weekend is like the first match point, so all we can do is focus on trying to get the best result possible to give Lucas the best chance of lifting the title. Federico's target is to reach the levels of performance he had in Magny-Cours. He has set the bar now and we want him to finish his season in the best way possible to allow him to go into the 2018 season full of confidence and ready to challenge for the title. It should be an exciting weekend!"
Source: Yamaha Motor Europe
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