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WSS: Speedy Scassa denies plucky Lowes
27 February 2011
BE1 Racing's decision to defect from Triumph to Yamaha machinery over the winter has been fully vindicated after Luca Scassa took a stunning last gasp World Supersport victory at Phillip Island in a finish that saw the top three covered by just 0.033secs.
A breathtaking taster of what is to come for the remainder of the season, the race was relentless from start to finish as several riders took stints at the front of the pack right up until the final bend.
Indeed, while Scassa began the last lap in front, an unexpected pass by Lowes on the run up to Lukey Heights saw him enter the long left hander that leads onto the home straight in the lead.
However, an untidy exit left him vulnerable to the close following Scassa and Broc Parkes, with both riders using an apparent straight line speed advantage to edge past just in time for the line.
Finding enough room alongside a powerless Lowes, it was Scassa that crossed the line in front, just 0.009secs up on Parkes, whose benefit of a double-draft very nearly hauled him past both riders.
Though a bitter disappointment for Lowes, Scassa's equally impressive performance marks his first victory at WSS level, as well as success for Yamaha in its first WSS race since Portimao 2009.
Despite missing out on a home win by the smallest of margins himself, Parkes will nonetheless be pleased with his run to second having looked completely out of contention mid-race when he slipped to as low as seventh.
However, while it will be the rush to the finish line that dominates the headlines, the race as a whole should be remembered as a typical WSS classic.
Indeed, victory looked set to come down to a battle between as many as five riders, with Chaz Davies and pole sitter David Salom also well in contention until the very final stages. Both riders led at some stage, with Salom looking particularly good mid-race before being reeled in and bumped down to an eventual fourth position, himself just 0.2secs off the win.
Davies, however, was denied a shot at victory after suffering a puncture three laps from the chequered flag whilst running with the leaders in third. One of three riders – including Fabien Foret and Massimo Roccoli – to suffer a rare rear deflation in the closing stages, Pirelli are likely to come under the spotlight from disgruntled teams.
Their misfortune meant Robbin Harms – who ran with the leaders during the early stages of the race – was promoted to a top five finish, ahead of James Ellison, who shrugged off his knee complaint to claim sixth on the Bogdanka PTR machine.
A dismal start that dropped him to the bottom of the top twenty failed to deter Florian Marino as he fought his way back up to seventh, winning out in an intense battle with Lorenzini Kawasaki's Vittorio Iannuzzo, Alexander Lundh and Danilo Dell'Omo, the latter securing Suriano Triumph a top ten finish on its debut.
Ronan Quarmby, Ondrej Jezel, Bastien Chesaux and Team Hungary Toth riders Balazs Nemeth and Imre Toth rounded out the points paying positions.
As well as Foret – who was expected to mount a victory challenge after setting the pace in free practice and qualifying -, Gino Rea lasted only five laps when he ran off the circuit and dropped his Step Racing bike on the wet grass.
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