Ana Carrasco became the first female winner of a solo FIM motorcycle racing world championship after claiming the World Supersport 300 crown in a nail-biting finale at Magny Cours. The Spaniard, a former Moto3 Grand Prix racer before switching to the WorldSBK paddock, edged out compatriot Mika Perez by a single point to make female motorcycling history.
Carrasco had already broken new ground in 2017, becoming the first female to win a world championship-level race after triumphing at Portimao, but back-to-back victories from pole position at Imola and Donington Park this season propelled her into a 22-point championship lead. However, performance balancing regulations, including a rider/bike combined weight limit, had seen the 21-year-old struggle in the closing rounds as her Kawasaki Ninja 400 became less competitive.
Heading into the season finale in France, Carrasco held a 10-point advantage over Scott Deroue with Perez and KTM’s Luca Grunwald also in contention, but a disastrous Superpole session which saw her qualify 25th had jeopardised her title hopes. A mechanical failure for Deroue took the Dutchman out of the mix, but the title was still up for grabs with one lap of the season remaining.
Perez was chasing victory, knowing that would put the pressure on Carrasco to finish tenth at worst and the ParkinGO rider was denied in agonising fashion, losing out to Dani Valle two corners from home. With five crucial points lost, Carrasco had done enough to secure the title having clawed her way up to thirteenth with an aggressive final series of laps.
Once the message had been passed across halfway around the slowing-down lap, Carrasco was overwhelmed with emotion, bursting into tears as the achievement began to sink in. To complete a day of celebration for women in the series, Maria Herrera finished the race in fourth for her best result in the class.