Courtesy of KRT – Kawasaki Racing Team
Hikari Okubo was the best placed Kawasaki Puccetti Racing rider in Superpole qualifying, in ninth place. Top Kawasaki runner today was Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki) who placed sixth, for a second row start in Sunday’s race.
In increasingly hot conditions on track as the day progressed Okubo set his best lap of 1’38.100 after qualifying directly into Superpole 2, to earn a third row starting position in only his second full-time ride for his team.
Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who is standing in for the injured Kenan Sofuoglu at this round, rode to 17th overall after Superpole 1, as he gets used to riding on different tyres and suspension from his regular 2018 Kawasaki machine.
Next the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing duo will face the field in Sunday’s 17-lap WorldSSP race, the second of 12 races in the 2018 season. The scheduled start time is 14.30, local time in Malaysia.
Hikari Okubo, stated: “I am relatively happy to be inside the top ten after Superpole 2 but my target was to be inside the top six today, as I had been yesterday. It will be hotter tomorrow and it is a long race of 17 laps in Supersport. It will be difficult for sure so I need to think cleverly and not crash. I need to watch the other riders and keep my energy, but I need push more as well.”
Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman, stated: “I am very happy now because I struggled a little at times this weekend. I am still not perfect riding with this bike set-up because the suspension character is different, and the tyres are different from what I have been using. I learned a lot of things this weekend and I am here to learn and improve. It is hard but I am happy to be here in WorldSSP. I hope tomorrow I can make a good race and enjoy it.”
Thitipong Warokorn (Core Kawasaki Thailand Racing Team) placed eighth in Superpole, one place ahead of Okubo. Lachlan Epis (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) secured 21st place on the grid, and series regular Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) qualified 23rd.
Late rider replacement Ted Collins (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) was 26th on the grid, in his first ever visit to Chang, and his first ride on his team’s Kawasaki.