Kenan Sofuoglu capitalised on a early fall for championship leader Lucas Mahias at Misano to close the gap in the standings to just five points, after the Turk held of fJules Cluzel for his fourth straight win of 2017.

Pole man Sofuoglu got the holeshot into Turn 1, but a mistake at the Rio corner allowed GRT Yamaha’s Mahias to slip underneath him.

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The Turkish rider tried to fight back into Turn 8, but Mahias held the upper hand. Sofuoglu successfully carved his way through on the inside of of Turn 2 on the next lap, while behind Fedrico Caricasulo led Cluzel.

Mahias’ championship challenge took a massive knock at the start of the fourth lap when he slid off at Rio. The Frenchman rejoined, but damage to his YZF-R6 saw him crash again just a few corners later.

Sofuoglu now held an advantage of 0.8 seconds over second-placed Caricasulo, but it was Cluzel who was the fastest of the three.

The CIA Landlords Insurance rider barged up the inside of Caricasulo into Turn 10 on lap eight and began his hunt for the race leader. Cluzel had managed to get the gap down to just 0.1s by half distance and made a move stick into Turn 8.

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Caricasulo tried to run with the leading duo, but the Italian’s pace quickly faded and third was all that he could manage at home.

Sofuoglu hounded Cluzel over the next few laps, eventually retaking the lead with six laps remaining. The Turkish rider proceeded to pull a gap, and a moment getting on the throttle exiting Turn 14 on the penultimate lap for Cluzel all but sealed the deal for Sofuoglu.

The Turkish rider crossed the line two seconds clear of Cluzel to notch up his third Misano victory and reignite his title challenge, while Caricasulo held PJ Jacobsen at bay for a distant third.

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Kyle Smith took top British honours in fifth spot ahead of Gino Rea after Profile Racing’s Luke Stapelford crashed out 10 laps from home.

Puccetti replacement rider Axel Bassani finished his WorldSSP return a respectable seventh. Sheridan Morain headed leading European Supersport runner Hannes Soomer in eighth, with Ant West completing the top 10.

Alessandro Zaccone too the chequered flag in 11th ahead Kazuki Watanabe and Rob Hartog, who pipped Kyle Ryde in the closing stages. Hikari Okubo was the last of the points scorers.

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