Maria Herrera comes back to WorldSSP after injury
The Spanish rider crossed the line in P19 in Race 1, gaining six places from her starting position. "Twenty laps enjoying my R6" - she said, with Sunday coming up with Race 2 at Navarra.
As the World Superbike Championship makes its debut on our website, we take a look at the two women taking part in the supporting series of the championship where Jonathan Rea, Scott Redding and Toprak Razgatlioglu are competing.
In WorldSSP (World Supersport Championship), we find Maria Herrera - also known from her MotoE experience. In World SSP300 (World Supersport 300 Championship), here's Ana Carrasco, former champion and a symbol of determination.
This weekend, in Navarra, WorldSSP300 wasn't part of the schedule, but Maria Herrera was back to WorldSSP after an injury that had made her life harder in the other races.
The Spanish rider was 26th in FP1, 25th in FP2 and concluded in P25 in the combined results.
Some lap times in the Tissot SuperPole turned out to be faster than the main Superbikes times from the morning session - because of the weather conditions. Herrera lapped in 1:43.406.
Dominique Aegerter, also among the protagonists of the all-electric MotoE championship and championship leader in WorldSSP, jumped to the top of the standings with a 1:40.535 lap. No one could better the Swiss' time halfway through the session and the Championship leader, as he went out to start his fast lap, made a mistake in the final sector which destroyed his chances to go even quicker.
Maria Herrera set a new personal best time - 1:42. 134 - which got her to P25.
Montera Huerta crashed and brought out yellow flags, which interrupted the other riders' attempts.
Then, Dominique Aegerter smashed the qualifying pace with a 1:39.924 - becoming the first racer under the 1:40 mark. Niki Tuuli couldn't improve his performance as he made a save from a high side. Aegerter thus held on to pole position and Gonzalez lined up next to him; Odendaal - the Swiss' championship rival - would join them on the front row.
Maria Herrera was 25th.
Steven Odeendal made a great start: the South African took the lead, overtaking pole-sitter Aegerter. The Swiss fell back when Gonzalez managed to stay in second place and Jespersen made a great effort to advance into a podium position - even if he was soon overtaken by Aegerter again, before the latter made a mistake and dropped to sixth. Bernardi made a sensational move on the inside to take P4 from Cluze.
Ahead, Odendaal swapped places with Gonzalez for the lead: he went wide and allowed Gonzalez closed in to overtake him a few laps later - just as Aegerter was recovering to third.
Jespersen and Aegerter fought for P3 throughout this phase of the race and the Swiss man came out on top of this battle. The Dane went wide and dropped to seventh, leaving the door open to Cluze and Caricasulo.
When Odendaal made a bold move for P1, Aegerter made an even bolder move for second and Gonzalez lost two places in two corners. The championship leader was briefly in the lead, but his main rival responded back.
Bernardi continued to show some great pace and overtook Gonzalez to place himself on the podium. A few moments later, he would almost collide with Aegerter.
The rider of the Number 77 took the lead by making the perfect move at turn six and turn seven - but the Swiss then took a defensive line and almost elbowed him in a body-to-body fight. Manuel Gonzalez, after showing his potential, crashed.
Odendaal made one last attempt - he got ahead of Aegerter at the fast turn one, but he couldn't defend from the Swiss, who had a better exit and quickly took back his lead.
Maria Herrera moved up to P21, then P20. Meanwhile, Peter Sebestyen retired from the race and Marcel Brenner crashed.
In the last laps, Dominique Aegerter was unbeatable and won the first race at Circuit de Navarra. Steven Odendaal crossed the line in second place and preceded Bernardi.
Maria Herrera finished the race in 19th position, gaining six places to her qualifying spot.
"There are many things to improve but at least enjoying my painlessly, taking the group in front of me and almost beating everyone in the absence of some corners I had a problem with the ride, it did not enter me and I lost some position."
- Maria Herrera later commented on Instagram.
"Tomorrow we have another and we will give 106%."
Race 2 will take place on Sunday.