Lucas Mahias has secured a maiden World Supersport title after seeing off a valiant effort from dethroned champion Kenan Sofuoglu in Qatar.

The GRT Yamaha rider held a 20-point lead coming into the season finale at the Losail International Circuit over Sofuoglu, knowing an 11th place finish or better would be enough to seal the title, but Mahias’s enjoyed a race-long tussle with Jules Cluzel to charge to victory and with it the world title.

Sofuoglu’s dramatic return from injury delayed Mahias from grabbing the 2017 title in Jerez and in truth it was a campaign hampered by injury while the French rider was able to produce consistency to guide his championship charge.

With Sofuoglu missing the first two rounds due to a pre-season injury, while being taken out during the Aragon race, Mahias grabbed the championship lead thanks to second place at Phillip Island and victory in Aragon.

A run of runner-up finishes, coupled with Sofuoglu winning four races in a row saw the defending champion reel in the GRT Yamaha rider before taking the points lead with victory in Portimao directly ahead of Mahias.

But a qualifying crash in the wet at Magny-Cours derailed Sofuoglu’s ambitions of a sixth World Supersport title as he missed the next two races while Mahias claimed fourth place at his home race and fifth place in Jerez to pull out a near-unsurmountable advantage heading to the season finale in Qatar.

Despite Sofuoglu’s best efforts returning to action a month after a triple hip fracture, Mahias was able to steer to the 2017 title with victory in Qatar.

 

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