Kawasaki had already won the Manufacturer’s championship and MTM Kawasaki has now taken its second Team’s Championship title in succession, giving the Ninja400 a clean sweep of all the honours in 2021. The FUsport RT Motorsports by SKM Kawasaki team placed second in the Teams’ Championship.
Entering this round one Kawasaki rider - and in fact an MTM Kawasaki rider - was certain to win the title, with only 2020 champion Jeffrey Buis (MTM Kawasaki) mathematically capable of overhauling Huertas on the eighth and final race weekend of the year.
After the two great rivals and MTM team-mates made contact during Saturday’s race Buis fell and that was the last chance of the championship win for himself over - Huertas was already champion.
The third and final podium place in Race One, behind Di Sora and Huertas, went to another MTM rider, Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki).
In a busy first WorldSSP300 race Di Sora achieved a long held ambition to win a race for his team and the French fans, as he just held off the push of new champion Huertas by 0.067 seconds. Okaya was third just a thousandth of a second from Huertas, and Okaya just one-thousandth of a second ahead of Yamaha rider, Bahattin Sofuoglu.
Riding with an injured right thumb but a much more troublesome broken left shoulder Booth-Amos battled hard to finish Race One fifth, just 0.424 seconds from the winner. Dirk Geiger (Fusport - RT Motorsports by SKM Kawasaki) was a late call up for this round and finished Race One sixth. Inigo Iglesias (SMW Racing Kawasaki) was seventh and Koen Meuffels (MTM Kawasaki) eighth. With Bernat Ieraci (Kawasaki GP Project) tenth there were eight Kawasakis in the top ten places in Race One
Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki Provec WorldSSP300) was 15th in race one and 21st in race two, enough for 16th in the final championship standings.
In the second Raceday Buis would also fall and with Tom Booth-Amos (Fusport - RT Motorsports by SKM Kawasaki) returning from injury, taking fifth and then second places in the Portimao races ensured that he and not Buis ended up second in the championship overall.
In a dramatic late twist to Race Two, Iglesias was promoted to third place after another rider was penalised for irresponsible riding, making for a clean sweep of Kawasaki riders on the last two podiums of the season.
Huertas’s win took Kawasaki’s tally of individual WorldSSP race wins for Ninja riders since the first season in 2017 to 39, with 21 of them being taken by MTM riders.
Beyond the Race Two podium positions occupied by new champion Huertas, then Booth-Amos and Iglesias, Okaya was finally fourth, Geiger an even more impressive fifth, Meuffels sixth and Oliver Konig (Movisio by MIE Kawasaki) seventh.
Buis fell again in race two while trying to make sure he would be second but after winning the title last year he will end 2021 third overall.
The second WorldSSP300 race of the Portimao race weekend was the 16th and last of the season. Kawasaki won 13 of the races thanks to riders from four different teams. Nine of the Ninja400 race wins went to MTM riders
Kawasaki has provided Riders’ Champions four times in the five year history of the WorldSSP class - in 2018 with Ana Carrasco, 2019 with Manuel Gonzalez, 2020 with Jeffrey Buis and now this season with Adrian Huertas.
In the final points rankings the top five are all Kawasaki riders. Huertas has 255 points, Booth-Amos 189, Buis 174, Di Sora 148 and Okaya 140.
Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki), stated: “I am happy to win the World Championship. I moved to the MTM Kawasaki team thanks to my manager. They are a winning team and they put their confidence in me. I saw what I can do this year and I am so grateful for MTM because they gave me this opportunity. Thanks to them because without their help it would not have been possible. I am really happy because I had some hard years recently but I came to this team this year and became the world champion. I feel sorry for Jeffrey because he touched me and crashed in race one. We have worked for a long time with a group of people for this results! It was also great to end the season with such a strong win. For the future, I want to keep working in this way and keep dreaming.”
Tom Booth-Amos (Fusport - RT Motorsports by SKM Kawasaki), stated: “I knew coming into this weekend that it was going to be tough so I knew that the battle was on for second in the championship. Luck went my way yesterday when Jeffrey crashed out, and also today, which made it a bit easier. I am very happy to come away with second in the final race and second in the championship.”
Samuel Di Sora (leader Team Flembbo Kawasaki), stated: “Saturday, what a day for us, it was incredible. It has been a very tough season and coming here to the last race the objective was to get that first race win for me, my team, for friends in WorldSSP300 - and we got it. Superpole did not go very well but it is difficult with no slipstream, riding alone. We worked on race pace during free practice and it worked well in the race. I came from really nothing so to be here, winning, it was something special. I wanted it so hard, so to cross the line with nobody in front of you was special. I think it is a bit late in the championship to have my first win, but I want to thank the team for making it possible. This win is for everybody but me.”
Jeffrey Buis (MTM Kawasaki), stated: “The feeling during practice was already good and I showed that again during the first race. After there was a gap, I was able to move up quickly in the leading group, until the moment I crashed. Adrián had a tight line and I couldn't avoid him. Very unfortunate, but that is racing. I want to congratulate Adrián on his world title. It was a good second race and I did everything I could to finish second in the championship. In the last lap I gave everything, but I lost the front. I gambled and lost. Overall, we just had a very good season. I want to thank the team for that!”
Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki ), stated: “It was a good weekend! In Superpole I managed to set a good lap time, which allowed me to start from the second row of the grid. I was satisfied with my first race. We were very close to the win. Unfortunately, I got a bit on the green in the last lap, which cost me one position. It was also a good second race in which I finished fifth. I want to thank the team and congratulate Adrián with the world title. We have been very strong as a team this year!”
Ana Carrasco (Provec Kawasaki Racing), stated: “Today was a difficult race because I didn't have the confidence of Saturday at any point, I felt like I didn't have the same rear grip and it was hard for me to go fast. I fought in the group and I gave everything to get the best result today. It's been a difficult year for me because I've had to deal with a lot of things but we have to try to keep the positive and be aware that this year had to be a period of readjustment, with no preseason, and after an injury. I want to thank the team for all their work this year, Kawasaki and especially all the sponsors who have continued to support us for another year. In a few days, we will start preparing for 2022; we will come back stronger than ever.”
Koen Meuffels (MTM Kawasaki), stated: “First of all, I would like to congratulate Adrián with his world title; well done! We finished the season with a good weekend in Portimão. I'm happy that I was able to show in the races that I have the pace. In the first race I was leading regularly and was actually consistently in the top-four. I would have liked to finish better in the last lap, but I was satisfied with my performance. These were my last races in WorldSSP300. After four years I am done with this class. I have achieved good results in all these years so I want to thank the team and all my sponsors. On to the next challenge!”