Cluzel holds off Lowes for maiden win

Jules Cluzel keeps it neat and tidy to deny Sam Lowes a maiden World Supersport Championship win at Monza, while Sofuoglu completes the podium to extend his series lead.
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Jules Cluzel has made it four different winners in the opening four World Supersport races after prevailing in a thrilling final lap exchange with a charging Sam Lowes.

The Frenchman looked set for a fairly comfortable first WSS victory after long-time leader Lowes ran off course midway through the race and dropped more than four seconds to his PTR stablemate.

Undeterred, the British rider put in a tremendous fight back during the closing stages to get himself onto Cluzel's tail as the pair rounded the final lap, the PTR Bogdanka Honda rider pushing hard to get himself into a position to attempt a pass into the last corner of the race.

However, with particularly slippery conditions at the Parabolica making any out-braking manoeuvre off the drier line a risk, while a brave Lowes was indeed able to nose ahead, he subsequently ran wide, allowing Cluzel to dive back beneath and power to the chequered flag.

Marking Cluzel's first win at WSS level, and also a first victory for PTR since Eugene Laverty raced for the team in 2010, the Frenchman's breakthrough result has subsequently launched him into title contention.

Following the cancellation of the first World Superbike race because of the weather, the Supersport race began as planned now the rain had stopped, though with the final sector proving particularly treacherous, particularly in comparison to the drier first-half of the circuit, the conditions remained very tricky. It was something that Broc Parkes found to his cost when he crashed at turn three having reached the corner out front.

Handing the advantage to Lowes, both he and Cluzel proceeded to put a comfortable margin between themselves and the chasing pack, a cause that was aided further when Ronan Quarmby high-sided out of third position on lap two, prompting the following field to scatter around him.

Indeed, though Lowes maintained the lead of the race, a close following Cluzel would allow his fellow Honda rider to 'test' the ever-changing track conditions before him. It was a strategy that would duly pay dividends on lap seven when Lowes got it wrong under braking for Ascari, sending him across the gravel trap at high speed. Though he was able to stay upright, a feat in itself, Lowes re-joined having dropped more than four seconds to Cluzel.

Related Pictures

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Kenan Sofuoglu, World Supersport [Credit: Kenan Sofuoglu]
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Pata Honda`s Michael van der Mark celebrates podium finish at Phillip Island
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