Home riders usually have the advantage, and this statement proved true Sunday during World Supersport’s debut in Thailand. Thai’s Ratthapark Wilairot was the crowd favorite at Chang International Circuit, and he capitalized on the roar from fans to take his debut World Supersport win.

The 26-year-old, who spent six years in Moto2/250cc Grand Prix before joining World Supersport last season, overcame many challenges at Chang to earn his second-career podium finish (the other was second at last year’s season finale in Qatar). The CORE Motorsport Thailand Honda pilot started from seventh on the grid, and battled his way up to second on lap six of 17.

From there, he began chasing race-leader, MV Agusta Reparto Corse’s Jules Cluzel. But on lap 13, Cluzel – the winner at the season opener in Phillip Island – was forced to retire with technical issues on his F3, giving the lead and win to Wilairot.

The Honda CBR600RR pilot would be joined on the Chang World Supersport podium by three-time WS Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and the only American in World Supersport, PJ Jacobsen (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres).

The win was not only special for Wilairot, but also for Honda; it was the Japanese manufacturer’s 100th victory in World Supersport.

Speaking after the race, Wilairot says “Today is an important day for Honda as this was their 100th win in the Supersport World Championship. I am happy for this win because we worked very hard from the first day. Yesterday we had a limit to fight for the podium, not the win.

“I realized I would have to keep my pace and go fast from the start. I knew I had good pace for the race, better than in warm-up, because we tried a few changes in the morning. I knew then I could be on the podium and on the top. Today we showed that we could be on the top all the time. After Jules Cluzel’s machine stopped today became incredible for me. Thank you to Core” Motorsport Thailand and Honda.

“It was incredible to win in front of my home fans and it was an impressive feeling. I cannot remember anything like today because it has been a long time to wait for this win. The first time for a Thai in the World Championship and my first win, so it was important – incredible for me. The team has been working very professional and we have to say thank you to the Core” Motorsport Thailand team which has chosen all the important people in the team, who all work very professionally.”

When the race began, Sofuoglu took the holeshot, but on lap five Cluzel, Pata Honda’s Smith, Jacobsen and Wilairot closed in. Jacobsen battled to third by the end of lap two, and Cluzel would take the lead on lap three.

As these top-five battled, Cluzel’s teammate Lorenzo Zanetti crashed out on turn five of lap eight while running in eighth. Smith also crashed a lap later.

Cluzel rode smoothly, and had a clear advantage. Wilairot was charging through the field, and eventually passed Jacobsen and Sofuoglu. He chased Cluzel down, but didn’t have much to worry about once Cluzel was forced to retire with bike issues.

Wilairot would take the win 1.828 seconds ahead of Sofuoglu. Jacobsen tried all he could to earn second, but would have to settle for third after a photo finish.

Taking fourth was the Frenchman Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres), who crossed the line alone 8.664 seconds later. He finished ahead of Ratthapark’s brother, Ratthapong Wilairot aboard the A.P. Honda Racing Thailand CBR600RR.

Seventh went to Sofuoglu’s teammate Marco Faccani, and eighth to former AMA SuperBike rider Martin Cardenas on the CIA Landlords Insurance Honda. Cardenas became the first Colombian rider in history to earn points in World Supersport.

Rounding out the top 10 were Race Department ATK25 MV Agusta’s Alex Baldolini and Cardenas’ teammate Gino Rea.

With his win in Thailand, and a fifth-place finish in Australia, Wilairot has the World Supersport Championship lead with 36 points, six ahead of Sofuoglu. In third, 11 back, is Cluzel.

The World Supersport series now breaks for three weeks before heading to Aragon in Spain April 10-12.

2015 Thailand Supersport Results – Round 2
1 Ratthapark Wilairot 27m57.523s THA HONDA CORE Motorsport Thailand
2 Kenan Sofuoglu 1.828 TUR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Puccetti Racing
3 Patrick Jacobsen 1.860 KAWASAKI Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres
4 Lucas Mahias 8.664 KAWASAKI Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres
5 Ratthapong Wilairot 12.110 HONDA A.P. Honda Racing Thailand
6 Roberto Rolfo 13.599 ITA HONDA Team Lorini
7 Marco Faccani 14.025 KAWASAKI Kawasaki Puccetti Racing
8 Martin Cardenas 14.857 COL HONDA CIA Landlords Insurance Honda
9 Alex Baldolini 21.690 ITA MV AGUSTA Race Department ATK25
10 Gino Rea 30.238 HONDA CIA Landlords Insurance Honda
11 Decha Kraisart 30.639 YAMAHA Yamaha Thailand Racing Team
12 Kevin Wahr 36.167 GER HONDA SMS Racing
13 Christian Gamarino 36.337 ITA KAWASAKI Team GO ELEVEN
14 Glenn Scott 36.670 HONDA AARK Racing
15 Dominic Schmitter 37.587 SUI KAWASAKI Team GO ELEVEN
16 Thitipong Warokorn 38.746 HONDA A.P. Honda Racing Thailand
17 Jules Cluzel DNF FRA MV AGUSTA MV Agusta Reparto Corse
18 Kyle Smith DNF GBR HONDA Pata Honda
19 Lorenzo Zanetti DNF ITA MV AGUSTA MV Agusta Reparto Corse
20 Kieran Clarke DNF HONDA CIA Landlords Insurance Honda
21 Riccardo Russo DNF ITA HONDA CIA Landlords Insurance Honda
22 Chalermpol Polamai DNF YAMAHA Yamaha Thailand Racing Team
23 Fabio Menghi DNF ITA YAMAHA VFT Racing
2015 World Supersport Championship Standings:
1 Ratthapark Wilairot 36 pts THA HONDA CORE Motorsport Thailand
2 Kenan Sofuoglu 30 pts TUR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Puccetti Racing
3 Jules Cluzel 25 pts FRA MV AGUSTA MV Agusta Reparto Corse
4 Gino Rea 22 pts HONDA CIA Landlords Insurance Honda
5 Patrick Jacobsen 22 pts KAWASAKI Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres
6 Lorenzo Zanetti 20 pts ITA MV AGUSTA MV Agusta Reparto Corse
7 Roberto Rolfo 18 pts ITA HONDA Team Lorini
8 Alex Baldolini 16 pts ITA MV AGUSTA Race Department ATK25
9 Kyle Smith 13 pts GBR HONDA Pata Honda
10 Marco Faccani 13 pts KAWASAKI Kawasaki Puccetti Racing
11 Lucas Mahias 13 pts KAWASAKI Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres
12 Ratthapong Wilairot 11 pts HONDA A.P. Honda Racing Thailand
13 Christian Gamarino 8 pts ITA KAWASAKI Team GO ELEVEN
14 Martin Cardenas 8 pts COL HONDA CIA Landlords Insurance Honda
15 Dominic Schmitter 8 pts SUI KAWASAKI Team GO ELEVEN
16 Decha Kraisart 5 pts YAMAHA Yamaha Thailand Racing Team
17 Glenn Scott 4 pts HONDA AARK Racing
18 Kevin Wahr 4 pts GER HONDA SMS Racing
19 Aidan Wagner 3 pts AUS YAMAHA Oz Wildcard Racing
20 Fabio Menghi 1 pts ITA YAMAHA VFT Racing
21 Alex Phillis 0 pts HONDA Team Lorini
22 Thitipong Warokorn 0 pts HONDA A.P. Honda Racing Thailand
23 Marcos Ramirez 0 pts ESP KAWASAKI CATBIKE/exit
24 Kieran Clarke 0 pts HONDA CIA Landlords Insurance Honda