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Mahias Gets WorldSSP Title Defence to the Perfect Start in Phillip Island

Mahias Gets WorldSSP Title Defence to the Perfect Start in Phillip Island

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GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team's Lucas Mahias got his title defence off to the best imaginable start at the opening round of 2018 FIM Supersport World Championship on Sunday at Phillip Island. The reigning champion was in devastating form in the restarted nine-lap sprint race, starting from pole and leading across the line for every lap before winning by 1.274s to secure the maximum 25 points.

Sunday saw a change to the WorldSSP race after tyre degradation concerns, with it being shortened to a 16-lap flag-to-flag format and riders only allowed to complete a maximum of nine laps on one rear tyre. Mahias had been the man to beat all weekend in Phillip Island. The 2017 WorldSSP Champion topping Friday's Practice and then storming to a sensational pole position on Saturday. Focused on getting his title defence off to the best possible start, the 28-year-old French rider got the holeshot in the original 16-lap flag-to-flag race and had opened up a two-second lead by the time the red flag halted proceedings on lap 3. In the restarted nine-lap race, Mahias once again got the perfect start and disappeared off into the distance setting a blistering pace. He was simply untouchable, opening up a lead of over 1.5s and managing it comfortably until the chequered flag to cap a simply sensational weekend for the rider. That now makes it two race wins from pole position in a row for Mahias - following on from his victory in Qatar at the final round of last season - and he now leads the way in the championship standings with 25 points.

Up next for the GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team is Round 2 of the 2018 FIM Supersport World Championship at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand on the 23-25th March.

Lucas Mahias

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 1st - 14:07.881

"Today's race was amazing and I am very happy to have won! I was ready for the flag-to-flag race, so I was a bit gutted when the red flag came out as I already had a 2-second lead! I managed to keep calm and in the restarted race, I tried to do the same which was to push a lot at the beginning and then try and manage the tyre. I was a bit worried as I hadn't managed to do many long runs this weekend, so I wasn't sure how the tyre would hold up, but I was delighted to win the race! It was an incredible weekend for me. I won the last race of 2017 from pole position in Qatar, so to start 2018 in the same way was amazing. I am looking forward to Thailand although it can be tricky for the bike, as it is so hot. Last year I had to retire from the race but I am now feeling really relaxed and confident because the bike is good, we aren't feeling any stress in the team, and I am very excited for Round 2!"

Filippo Conti

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager

"Today was an incredible day and I am very satisfied. Lucas was amazing! In the original race he showed sensational pace to break away at the start and, unbelievably, he managed to do exactly the same in the restarted race after the red flag. He was so fast, he was impossible to catch and the team did an incredible job. Our aim for Thailand will be to have both riders battling for the race win again. The team did an incredible job all week and I want to thank Yamaha for providing us with an amazing package and for all their support. Now we are ready and looking forward to Round 2 in Thailand!"