Courtesy of KRT – Kawasaki Racing Team
Kawasaki Puccetti Racing rider Kenan Sofuoglu won his fourth 2017 season WorldSSP championship race in succession today, recording his 42nd career victory in masterful style. Kyle Ryde, his team-mate, finished in the points with a 14th place finish.
Sofuoglu drew on all his long experience in this class of racing to take his fourth win of the year, after running out front with some of his championship rivals, and finally only having Jules Cluzel for company.
Kenan controlled the pace at the end and won by just over two seconds to take himself within five points of the championship lead. Lucas Mahias, still the overall leader on points, crashed out twice in the early laps and no-scored.
After qualifying 19th Ryde was still able to progress to 14th at the flag, scoring two more points and still well inside the championship top ten at the start of the summer break.
Ryde and his pit crew found him the same race pace as he had demonstrated in qualifying which helped him to ride with confidence and consistency.
In the current championship standings, Mahias has 105 points and Kenan 100, with the next nearest rider 24 points behind Sofuoglu after seven rounds.
There will be no WorldSSP race at the forthcoming WorldSBK Laguna Seca round, which means that the eighth race in the Supersport season will take place on Sunday 20th August, at the Lausitzring in Germany.
Kenan Sofuoglu, stated: “I am very happy to have won another race because Puccetti did a lot of organising this weekend and Kawasaki did a lot of work with us. So I am very happy to give them this present. My team told me that Mahias was out but this was not my biggest point – I just wanted to win the race. I wanted to see what Cluzel could do but I understand that I had a faster pace and I could pull a gap. This is what I tried and it paid off. Today I cannot say that I was very fast but my experience won the race.”
Kyle Ryde, stated: “I have not done a long run all weekend and a couple of riders fell off so I got a some points. That is a positive but I am even happier with the consistency I showed during this race. It was a solid one second per lap off the race winner but I was doing consistent mid 1’40s after my qualifying time had been a mid 1’40. I had a bit of bad luck on lap six when a rider in front missed a gear and I ran into the back of him, bashing my knee on his exhaust pipe. I lost a few seconds there and it took me a few laps to get back into it. I think I could have been up to, maybe, eighth without that happening. But we were definitely better in the race than on Friday and Saturday.”
Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) was a strong sixth today at his team’s home round, with Axel Bassani (3570 Puccetti Racing FMI Kawasaki) just one place behind him as he deputised for an injured Michael Canducci.
Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) was 12th at Misano, Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Jenik Against Cancer Kawasaki) 13th, Ryde 14th and Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) 16th.
Lachlan Epis (Response RE Racing Kawasaki) did not finish after a heavy fall, with Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) also a non-finisher after a crash.