Cluzel resists van der Mark charge for Misano win

Jules Cluzel resisted a late charge from championship challenger Michael van der Mark to take a famous win on his MV Agusta’s home race in Misano with PJ Jacobsen climbing aboard the World Supersport podium for the first time in third.

Starting from pole position the Frenchman led from start to finish to record a victory at the end of a turbulent week for the MV Agusta team. With Yakhnich withdrawing their support from their Supersport title assault earlier in the week the MV factory announced they were to step in and direct affairs for the remainder of 2014.

Cluzel claimed his second victory of 2014 at Misano
Photo: worldsbk.com
In turn Cluzel responded brilliantly. With a strong start he quickly pulled a one second gap on the chasing pack of Kenan Sofuoglu, Michael van der Mark and Raffaele de Rosa in the opening laps.
Sofuoglu made a lunge into turn one on the second lap, pushing van der Mark wide and allowing Jacobsen through to second place. 

The Dutchman later voiced his displeasure at the move and believed Sofuoglu should have utilised the slip road when he realised he wouldn’t make the corner. When de Rosa crashed from fifth on lap five there was a brief three way fight for second.

But by mid race van der Mark had made his way past Sofuoglu and the impressive Jacobsen with brave moves through at the fearsome turn eleven. The championship leaders eventually disposed with the class rookie at turn four on lap eleven. He then immediately set about hauling Cluzel, 1.5 seconds ahead, in.

By lap 15 the gap was under one second but Cluzel responded and came home a comfortable 1.5 seconds ahead of the Dutchman to reignite his championship charge.

“It’s really incredible,” said an exuberant Cluzel. “I’ve been looking for this after the last two races. I just tried to push so hard at the beginning, but he [van der Mark] came back. It wasn’t easy but I’m really happy. We struggled a little bit and we’ll push to the last race so I think we’ll have a nice fight with van der Mark.”

The Dutchman saw his championship lead reduced to 28 points but was content with his sixth consecutive podium, a run that stretches back to the second round held in April. “The start was quite good,” he said. “I was third and after a few laps Kenan went quite wide. PJ passed me and it was difficult to get past him. In the end Jules was really fast and did the perfect race. If I got away with him we could have had a nice fight but in the end second is ok.”

Jacobsen was delighted with his first world championship podium in just his seventh race in the class. He said, “It was a really good race for me. I was trying to catch Jules, I was almost doing the same lap time but wasn’t close enough. I made a few mistakes, Michael came past and I couldn’t hold on to him. I kept Kenan away from me so it’s a great result for me and the team.

Sofuoglu finished just over two seconds behind the American in a race that arguably ended any hopes he harboured over a championship challenge. Roberto Tamburini equalled his best result of the season with an excellent ride to fifth, having decisively passed Lorenzo Zanetti on lap 17.

It was a difficult day for Kev Coghlan who brought his DMC R6 home in eighth, a place behind Florian Marino. The Scot struggled to understand why his times weren’t coming all weekend but was content to get points on the board.

Jack Kennedy came home twelfth after losing out in a fierce battle for ninth which PTR team-mate Ratthapark Wilairot claimed ahead of Alessandro Nocco and Roberto Rolfo.

The result leaves Van der Mark sitting on 135 points compared to Cluzel’s 107. The fading Florian Marino is a further 22 back on 85.

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