WorldSSP: Krummenacher takes surprise win as West stars


It was a thrilling World Supersport (WorldSSP) race at Phillip Island with the recognised Championship contenders not making the post of their Australian visit. We take a look with photos from Leonard Smith.


WorldSSP Practice 1

With a best of 1’33.788, Puccetti rider and 4-time WorldSSP Champion Sofuoglu ruled the timesheets once again in FP1, but recovering rival Jules Cluzel improved towards the end of the session to close the gap to only 2 tenths. The 2016 season looks set to see the two rivals go head to head once again, with the MV Agusta rider having closed in after struggling in the first preseason tests.

Ex-Moto2 rider and WorldSSP rookie Randy Krummenacher was third fastest, maintaining his impressive pace in the WorldSBK paddock after testing saw him take the fight to his teammate: Kenan Sofuoglu.

Towards the end of the session, key protagonist of last season PJ Jacobsen had a spectacular slide through Turn 3 – Stoner Corner – before getting a little out of shape in the braking zone for Turn 4. That left him running down the escape road to rejoin, before Stefan Hill crashed in the final part of the session without consequence.

With weather improved slightly from the earlier damp of the WorldSBK session, the Superbike riders will be hoping it remains that way when they get back on track for their second session.



WorldSSP Practice 2

Reigning Champion Sofuoglu retained his grip on P1 after the second Supersport session of the day despite not setting a time, as rival Jules Cluzel took a tumble at T11. The Frenchman walked away from the gravel trap before being taken to the circuit Medical Center for a medical check. Swiss Puccetti rider and Sofuoglu’s teammate Randy Krummenacher registered a best time of only one thousandth of a second slower than Frenchman Cluzel, reinforcing his quickly earnt reputation as a WorldSSP force to be reckoned with by being quickest in the afternoon.

PJ Jacobsen, a key protagonist of the 2015 season, improved his time in the afternoon session before suffering a crash in the final few minutes but luckily escaping unhurt. Taking the 6th fastest time on the combined sheets, in FP2 the American was the third quickest behind Italian Lorenzo Zanetti.  Gino Rea showed the biggest leap in FP2, ending the session 4th, ahead of fastest local and wildcard Anthony West, who ended the afternoon session 6th.




WorldSSP Qualifying

After enjoying a significant advantage on Friday, the Turkish rider took an incredible pole position in the first ever Superpole qualifying in the history of World Supersport. With more than half a second of advantage over second placed PJ Jacobsen on the Honda, the reigning Champion looks eager to retain his crown.

Christian Gamarino took the top spot in the first ever Superpole 1 session, taking the honours from Federico Caricasulo who had been fastest throughout much of the first few minutes and was the second rider to move into Superpole 2. Australian wildcard rider Anthony West just missed out on graduation to Superpole 2 to fight for the top 12 but impressed by finishing the session in 3rd.


The big surprise of Superpole 2 saw Jules Cluzel crash out when running in 8th. The French MV Agusta rider is coming back after a big crash last year in Jerez that saw him unable to continue his title fight and ruled him out for the rest of the season. The new technical regulations have also required the Italian marque to make more adjustments over winter testing than many other teams, given the ban on traction control and the production spec MV Agusta’s use of the system as part of the road bike package. Cluzel also crashed yesterday in practice and will be hoping to iron out the bumps in the road to challenging for the crown once again in 2016.


Rookie Randy Krummenacher, teammate to reigning Champion Kenan Sofuoglu, showed his impressive run in preseason testing and practice was here to stay with a lap good enough to see him take a comfortable front row start for his first ever WorldSSP race, lining up for tomorrow´s race in 3rd.

Honda’s PJ Jacobsen, a title contender last year and looking to go one further in 2016, came back from a Friday that saw him slip slightly down the timesheets to pip Randy Krummenacher to P2 and show he’s definitely one to watch this year. The American, who gained traction throughout the season last year, will be looking to Turn 1 for his first chance to lead in 2016.


WorldSSP Race

Swiss rookie Randy Krummenacher has taken victory in the WorldSSP race at Phillip Island, beating STK600 graduate Federico Caricasulo and wildcard Anthony West to the top step of the podium.

Honda’s PJ Jacobsen got the best start from P2 on the front row of the grid, leaving the Puccetti pair of Krummenacher and Sofuoglu to squabble with Caricasulo around the first couple of corners until the long train of the lead group started to break away. MV Agusta rider Jules Cluzel, who has suffered a difficult weekend on his return to the WorldSSP grid after being ruled out of the end of 2015 due to injury, got an incredible start from P8 and hit the front only a couple of laps later as the real battle began and the breakaway group started to pull away.


Wildcard Anthony West was another rider who gained a lot off the start, joining the lead group after just missing out on entry to the first ever Tissot-Superpole 2 yesterday. The Australian managed to keep the lead pace of the front group, battling for podium positions, before taking the lead of the race just after being informed that he had to drop two positions for an earlier infringement. Luckily seeing the sign and obeying the ruling, the Aussie rider dropped back from the lead and back into the battle behind. That battle saw some hard moves making sure none of the riders could escape at the front.

On lap 9, Jules Cluzel ran into the gravel and opened the door for a duel between reigning Champion Sofuoglu and wildcard West. Not wanting to let the Turkish rider escape, West fought hard before eventually having to concede the pace advantage of the Puccetti rider, who began to pull away and create a gap to the group behind.


Rain began to fall lightly in the first two sectors, but Sofuoglu continued to make a gap to those behind, the Turkish rider dropping his times even as conditions worsened. Krummenacher then began to respond, until reigning Champion Sofuoglu had a tyre problem on Lap 15, lowsiding into the gravel at Turn 6. That left teammate Krummenacher to inherit a well-deserved lead after managing the conditions perfectly and still staying ahead of the chasing pack.

Wildcard Anthony West, who has previously won in races in both WorldSSP and Moto2, was left in a battle over the last few laps with Caricasulo, positions switching and both riders fighting hard over what had become a chance at P2 in the race. On the final lap, as Krummenacher crossed the line more than two seconds clear of the rest of the field, the Australian and the Italian went head to head, with West riding as defensively as possible and maintaining his grip on P2 for the majority of the lap. Caricasulo ran out of other options once the riders were through Turn 11, the result then dependent on the run to the line and getting good drive out of the final corner, all eyes on the line.


West, with track position as they straightened up for the final push to the finish, tucked in for the dash to the line as Caricasulo took the slipstream. Almost side-by-side down the first part of the straight, it was the Italian rookie who made it over the line in front, his bike crossing the line only 0.014seconds ahead of that of wildcard West.

Krummenacher now leads the Championship after his first race in WorldSSP, but teammate and reigning Champion Sofuoglu is sure to hit back soon, looking to turn his incredible pace in practice into a win next time out in Thailand

Leonard Smith February 2016

Words by WorldSBK PR

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