Jules Cluzel (NRT Yamaha) won his third race of the season after an epic defence of his almost race-long lead from pole man Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing Yamaha).
A leading hardcore of four riders split from the rest early in the 16-lap WorldSSP contest, with three Yamahas and one MV battling it our for the three podium places.
It became a fight between Cluzel and Cortese, with eventual third placed man Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) dropped a little and fourth place finisher Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) dropped a lot by half race distance.
A small squabble between the leading Yamahas allowed De Rosa back in, but in the last few laps, with the tyres sliding, it was Cluzel v Cortese to the flag.
A few heavy moments, including a hit between the leaders, ended up with both of them escaping to fight to the line, with Cluzel the winner by 0.148 seconds.
“I expected he (Sandro) would try to fight and the last lap last I was really struggling with the rear grip. I just tried my best and I tried to close a little bit the door. When we hit I have a big mark on my leathers! It was funny because we both stayed on the bike and I think everybody enjoyed it.”
Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha) was fifth, and not able to get into the leading group. Thomas Gradinger (NRT Yamaha) had a strong ride to sixth.
Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki) was top Kawasaki rider, in seventh place, but 20 seconds down on the winners. Kyle Smith (CIA Landlord Insurance) was eighth.
Top ESS rider was Finnish rider Eemeli Lahti (Sterkman Motorpsort by HRP Suzuki) in ninth, with Loris Cresson (Kallio Racing Yamaha) tenth.
Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was a non-finisher leaving top official Kawasaki rider Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in 13th.
In the championship, Cortese leads Cluzel, 122 points to 120, with Krummenacher on 105, Mahias on 103 and De Rosa top MV runner on 83. No WorldSSP riders in Laguna Seca of course, so their next round will be at Misano on July 8.