Courtesy of KRT – Kawasaki Racing Team
Kawasaki Puccetti Racing riders Hikari Okubo and Hector Barbera put in their personal best performances of the year at San Juan Villicum today, with Hikari eighth and Barbera ninth after a tough fight in a three rider group.
The 4.276km Villicum circuit was dry on raceday after heavy overnight rain. In warm up this morning Okubo was down in 20th place, setting only three laps. He made an excellent recovery from 16th place on the grid with a very strong performance in the 19-lap race to score eight championship points.
For Barbera, the Argentinean race also gave him his best result of his short WorldSSP season, having been 13th in morning warm up and 14th on the grid after Superpole qualifying on Saturday. Ninth in the race was his third consecutive top ten finish since he joined the team.
In the championship standings Hikari has moved up to 12th overall, with 40 points. Hector, after only three rounds, is 18th, with 19 points.
The season now moves to its 12th and final round, to be held under floodlights at the Losail circuit in Qatar between the 25th and 27th of October. Raceday, unlike the other events on the calendar in 2018, will be held on a Saturday.
Hikari Okubo, stated: “The race gave me a much better feeling because my lap times were constant. The only problem was my grid position because my qualifying was no good. If my start position was nearer the front we could have had an even better result. But I am happy because I got the best result in a race this year and the feeling was better with the bike.”
Hector Barbera stated: “Today was maybe my best race in this category, even if my final result was not what I wanted. I am not happy with the position but my feeling was better, especially after seven laps. My best race lap was better than the qualifying. My best lap today was similar to Perolari and he finished in fifth position. I think now I am closer to the riders in front but I need to work a little bit in the test days. I am happy because now I am closer.”
Christian Stange was 14th and scored two points for the GoEleven Kawasaki team, while Argentinean rider Javier Ezequiel Iturrioz (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) was 16th and just missed a point. Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 20th, but Glenn van Straalen (EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki) no scored.