REDDITCH rider Trystan Finocchiaro ended the final round of the 2017 Supersport 300 FIM World Championship in the gravel just as he appeared set for a highly respectable finish at the Circuito de Jerez in southern Spain.
After a positive practice day on the Friday, the 18-year-old Bierreti Racing prospect “found a good set-up” on the bike, a “great pace” and was more than ready for the challenge ahead.
On a World Championship circuit the teenager had never seen before, Finocchiaro was fighting it out with the other World Championship riders as if he had been riding there all his life.
In Saturday’s qualifying Finocchiaro found a very promising pace from early on in the session but he “paid the price of inexperience” and stated his “one-lap pace” needed improving in order to master the Supersport 300 specific slipstreaming strategies needed to reach the top qualifying positions.
Finocchiaro was not worried about this, however, as “this will come with experience” and the youngster stated he had “a great race pace that was a lot stronger than a lot of the riders who qualified in front of him”.
Sunday swiftly came around and, on the last race day of the year, the Transmec Group-backed rider was determined to end his 2017 World Championship attack on a high.
Finocchiaro suffered a sluggish start to the race, but quickly recovered and climbed higher and higher corner by corner. In typical Supersport 300 fashion, groups of riders started to form from the first lap.
Still recovering from a difficult start to the race, Finocchiaro found himself being the quickest rider in the group he was currently in. Whilst relentlessly fighting his way to the top of the group, Finocchiaro found himself locked handlebar to handlebar with another rider at the final corner of the circuit, thus losing touch with the current group.
Strong-willed and determined, Finocchiaro found himself lapping considerably quicker than the group and another rider five seconds ahead of them. The Coventry University student was determined to hunt down and pass the group and the next rider in front.
Within one lap Finocchiaro had already bridged the two-second gap and was already breathing down the neck of the riders in front. However, the half British, half Italian rider found himself running wide at turn six of the 4.4km Spanish circuit after hitting a devilish false neutral, thus undoing all of his hard work and restoring a two-second gap to the group in front.
Calm and unwilling to give in, Finocchiaro cleverly used the tow of another rider to pull him back up to the group he had just lost. However, disaster struck at one of the fastest and most demanding corners on the circuit.
Upon entering turn 11 of the 13-corner course, Finocchiaro hit the inside kerb, forcing his front tyre to lose grip on the paint and tuck away from underneath him. Within less than a second Finocchiaro was launched into the gravel – twisting, tumbling and turning at high speed.
Luckily the youngster stated he was “completely fine” and explained: “It was a very fast crash at a corner you really don’t want to come off at. However, I came away completely fine – a bit bruised and covered in dust but it could have been a lot worse.”
Looking ahead, Finocchiaro added: “I am of course disappointed we didn’t get a result but I am definitely happy with how the weekend went.
“It was extremely positive in that we found a pace that was very strong and looks very positive for next season provided we fine-tune a couple of things.
“Although I wanted a result I have to look at the bigger picture. We could have done very well this weekend but now my focus is on next year. I still need to improve a couple of things like my qualifying, one-lap pace and race craft at the beginning of the race, but this will come.”