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Mahias Takes Stunning Victory in Qatar to Become WorldSSP Champion

Mahias Takes Stunning Victory in Qatar to Become WorldSSP Champion

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GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team's Lucas Mahias put in a sensational performance under the floodlights in Qatar at the final round of the season, despite being under immense pressure, to take a superb victory and become the 2017 FIM Supersport World Champion. Only needing to finish in tenth to secure the title, Mahias shook off any nerves he may have been feeling and enjoyed a stunning battle at the front, highlighting his fearless character as he went on to win the race by just 0.023s in an incredible finish to the season. In the process being crowned WorldSSP champion by a margin of 29 points, adding to the Team and Manufacturer titles that the GRT Team and Yamaha had wrapped up at the last round in Magny-Cours to complete the "triple crown'.

Despite the pressure of having the championship on the line, Mahias had been on fire all weekend in the hot and humid conditions in the Qatari desert, topping Thursday's practice and setting a new outright lap record on his way to securing his maiden WorldSSP pole position on Friday. If he was feeling any nerves, he didn't show it as he enjoyed a blistering start to Saturday's race and immediately became involved in a superb three-way battle at the front with his teammate Caricasulo and Jules Cluzel. With the championship on the line, Mahias pulled no punches and fought valiantly, even though he only need to secure 6 points to lift the title.

With his true racing character shining through, the 28-year-old French rider led across the line for the majority of the 15-lap race, but in the latter stages he came under heavy pressure from compatriot Cluzel. Battling fiercely right to the line on his Yamaha R6, Mahias bravely gave no quarter and in a dramatic photo finish, he took the chequered flag to secure the victory - and with it the championship - by just 0.023s. It was Mahias' second win of the year in a season that has seen him on the podium at 8 out of the 12 races and this result meant he ended the 2017 season on top of the overall standings with 190 points, 29 ahead of his title rival Kenan Sofuoglu, to be crowned the 2017 WorldSSP Champion. His performance capped off a 'perfect' year for his GRT Team and Yamaha, who had already secured the Team and Manufacturers titles at the last round in Jerez.

The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team have enjoyed an incredible year and will now head into the winter break full of confidence that they can defend their title in 2018.

Lucas Mahias

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 1st - 30:39.805

"It is an incredible feeling! 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 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. I also want to say congratulations to Kenan for an awesome season, 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's 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!"

Filippo Conti

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager

"At this moment, I am honestly lost for words after what has been an incredible season! I just want to say thank you. Thank you to Lucas and Federico

who are both fantastic riders and to every single member of my team because they have shown an incredible level of professionalism throughout the season but, most importantly, to Yamaha who have given us this chance to show what we can do and the fact that we won the championship, the team title and the manufacturers title says it all! It will be a season I will never forget! Today Lucas was simply sensational, to ride like he did when he was under so much pressure was incredible. To take pole position and then win the race with the championship on the line when he only needed to finish in tenth just shows you the kind of guy he is. Federico had another very strong weekend. He has finished the season in brilliant style and I think next year both riders will be battling it out for the title. What a season, what a year...bring on 2018!"

Andrea Dosoli

Yamaha Motor Europe Road Racing Project Manager

"This has been a really special season for Yamaha as we won the triple crown of rider, team and manufacturer's titles! This is an achievement that everyone who is involved with Yamaha should be very proud of. Lucas is fully deserving of being crowned the 2017 WorldSSP Champion and the way he won the race today, despite being under such pressure, just shows you what a great rider he is. The GRT Team have had a fantastic year, showcasing to the entire world how professional and competitive they are and the team has managed to create a very special atmosphere and winning spirit within itself. For Yamaha, the importance of winning the manufacturers title cannot be overstated and it is a testament to the amount of effort everyone has put in what is a highly competitive class. I want to say a huge thank you to all of the guys that made this possible, Lucas & Federico, plus Kallio Racing's Niki Tuuli and Sheridan Morais who also contributed a huge amount. Finally, I want to personally thank all of the members of the GRT Yamaha Team, led by Filippo Conti, who put in such a sensational effort this year to make all of this possible!"