The iconic MV Agusta marque is celebrating its first world championship victory in 38 years after Jules Cluzel claimed a hugely unexpected win on his World Supersport debut with the manufacturer at Phillip Island.
The Frenchman came through from 13th position on the grid to prevail in a bizarre 5 lap sprint to the chequered flag after the original race was halted on lap eight because of oil on the circuit from an engine blow.
Necessitating a lengthy clean-up operation, with time constraints to the next WSBK race putting a pressure on the schedule, it was announced the restarted race would take place over just 5 laps.
For Cluzel, the decision to restart proved a huge stroke of luck, the Frenchman having already ascended from 13th to fifth during the first stint of the race, even if he remained a fair distance back from the podium fight under normal circumstances.
However, with a reformed grid putting the top three within reach and leading contenders Kenan Sofuoglu and Michael van der Mark crashing out, Cluzel simply bided his time before launching a dramatic last lap challenge, overtaking Kev Coghlan on the penultimate bend to complete a historic win.
Cluzel's victory comes after a week in which persistent technical issues on the F3 675 left him with a fraction of the mileage under his belt compared with his main rivals. However, the 2012 runner-up, who returns to WSS after a season in WSBK, was thrilled with his turn of luck when it truly mattered.
“Amazingly, we were terribly unlucky during all tests and the beginning of the weekend. We completed less laps and didn't complete all we wanted. To win in such conditions is a dream! Before the start I told to my mechanics to do everything and I wouldn't fail.
“Maybe we are not quite ready to be the quickest but I didn't make any mistake, pushed as hard as I could. I'm sure we deserved this victory. It's a long way to go and we confidently started.”
A victory for Yakhnich Motorsport in its first weekend overseeing MV Agusta's factory-assisted WSBK and WSS effort, the win also marks the manufacturer's first at world championship level since Giacomo Agostini in 1976.