Lucas Mahias says his World Supersport title is yet to sink in having clinched the championship with victory in Qatar but was also keen to credit Kenan Sofouglu for his efforts in his title defence.

Knowing an 11th-place finish for better would be enough to wrap up the title regardless of Sofuoglu’s result at the Losail International Circuit, Mahias refused to take the easy option as he hunted victory despite risking crashing while battling with Jules Cluzel.

The GRT Yamaha rider got the better of his rival on the final lap to take victory and with it a maiden World Supersport title, and the new Yamaha R6’s first world championship, but admitted it was an anxious race having narrowly missed out on taking the crown last time out in Jerez.

"It is an incredible feeling!” Mahias said. “I started riding properly ten years ago and if you had said to me then I would be the WorldSSP Champion I would have said it was impossible but I have worked hard these last ten years and now it has happened. It still hasn't sunk in yet!

“The race was really difficult, because all the different outcomes were going through my head Should I push or not push? I obviously didn't want to crash but, if I am honest, I really wanted to win the race to become champion as that is much better. It is an incredible feeling, I am very, very happy! Thank you to Yamaha, the whole of the GRT Team, and my family.”

Mahias also made the point of tipping his cap to dethroned champion Sofuoglu who he accepts may have stopped him winning the title if injury hadn’t plagued his campaign. The Puccetti Kawasaki rider missed the opening two races with a leg injury before reeling in Mahias to lead the championship heading into the final three rounds.

But disaster struck again for the Turkish rider when he suffered a triple hip fracture in a qualifying crash at Magny-Cours, only to make an impressive recovery to return to action in Qatar to finish third less than a month after his crash.

“I also want to say congratulations to Kenan for an awesome season,” he said. “To finish second in the championship after his two big crashes and to come here and even be able to ride, let alone finish on the podium is incredible.

“I am not stupid, if Kenan did not crash at the beginning of the year and at Magny-Cours, I would have finished second in the championship, but this is racing and I am just happy to be champion!"



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