Crash.Net WSS News
Lanzi scythes to Assen win on comeback
22 April 2012
Lorenzo Lanzi has added a World Supersport Championship win to his repertoire after showing his immense experience in tricky conditions at Assen to scythe his way up the order from 21st on the grid.
The Italian is making a surprise return to the 600cc series this weekend for the privateer ProRace Honda team, Lanzi having not competed at WSS level since 2004, prior to a moderately successful WSBK career that yielded three wins.
Nonetheless, despite his credentials, Lanzi didn't look like an obvious contender for victory from 21st position on the grid, but a timesheet topping lap during the wet FP2 session earlier in the weekend suggested he could be an outside threat ahead of what would be a fairly treacherous race.
Even so, he still had a task to do from row six, his lowly beginnings allowing pole sitter Sam Lowes to assume the early airtime as he held down the lead from Broc Parkes, Kenan Sofugolu and Vladimir Leonov.
Such was the disparity of the pace throughout the field, the top four quickly broke away from the chasing pack, while Lowes also found himself gapping Parkes and then Sofuoglu, the Turk pushing through into second position on lap three.
Lanzi, meanwhile, was swiftly hauling himself into contention, rising from 21st to seventh at the end of lap one, a position that became fifth by lap three and a spot at the back of the lead group by lap six.
Lanzi's march up the order would coincide with Lowes's fall from the lead. Indeed, the British rider had looked strong as he put air between himself and Sofuoglu, but after several moments as he tested the limit of his Bogdanka PTR Honda, he eventually had the rear come around on him on lap six, sending him to the ground. Though he would re-join in 13th, another accident four laps later would rule him out completely.
Lowes's elimination ensured Lanzi's charge to the front was made simpler, the former factory Ducati Superbike rider subsequently taking the lead with relative ease on lap seven of 21.
From here, Lanzi would put seconds between himself and the beleaguered chasing pack, his only wobble coming when his attempt to lap Sheridan Morais would catch the South African unawares, the pair making contact enough to send the Kawasaki rider across the gravel.
Despite this, Lanzi was still able to turn in a victory of more than twelve seconds, a stunning performance for a rider who hasn't competed at WSS for eight years, while it also marks a breakthrough result for the small ProRace team, the Czech team making its full-time international debut this year with Lukas Pesek initially ahead of signing Lanzi for what was originally intended to be the Assen race only…
A long way behind him, Sofuoglu fended off the persistent attentions of Leonov to cross the line in second position, the Turk making up good ground in the championship battle after his exclusion from the Imola round.
In fact, the race was a disaster for the series leader Fabien Foret, the Frenchman running off track early on before coming into the pit lane to retire. Fortunately for him, the Intermoto Step Kawasaki rider retains the series lead, albeit level on points with Sofuoglu, while Lowes remains 14 points behind in third.
Leonov's run to third aboard the Yakhnich Yamaha marks the first time a Russian rider has made it onto the podium, a fine result ahead of the first-ever race to be held in Russia later this season. Behind him, Parkes assumed fourth position to score useful points for the Ten Kate Honda team, albeit 23secs off the lead.
Even further back, despite being a mammoth 47secs off the leader, Alex Baldolini scored a fine top five finish for Suriano Triumph in fifth, the Italian prevailing in a race-long battle with ex-Moto2 rival Jules Cluzel.
Lorini Honda crossed the line seventh and ninth, with Andrea Antontelli ahead of team-mate Roberto Tamburini, the Italian pair sandwiching local wild-card rider Twan Van Poppel in eighth.
His Dutch counterpart Stuart Voskamp rounded out the top ten aboard the only Suzuki GSX-R600 in the field, while Romain Lanusse, Thomas Caiani, Patrick Jacobsen, Luca Marconi and Morais picked up the remaining points in what became a race of attrition.