Courtesy of KRT – Kawasaki Racing Team
Lucas Mahias and Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will join their fellow Kawasaki WorldSSP riders at Portimao this coming weekend as the series gets underway again after a long summer break since the previous round at Donington Park in early July.
After a season-best performance of third at the two most recent WorldSSP events, at Misano and Donington, Mahias has lifted himself up to fourth place overall in the championship standings.
A pole position at Misano showed what the combination of Kawasaki and 2017 WorldSSP Champion Mahias could achieve with enough track time and shared experience.
This coming weekend in Portugal Mahias can draw on memories of his 2018 WorldSSP race win at Portimao and a positive recent test session at Misano to boost his podium, and even race-winning, ambitions.
Having been the top-ranked Kawasaki rider until his team-mate Mahias moved one place ahead of him at Donington, Okubo is having his best year in WorldSSP racing so far.
Consistently in the points and regularly inside the top six in his second WorldSSP season as a Kawasaki rider Okubo will be out to score his first podium finish this weekend. Like Lucas and the entire Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team, Hikari tested at Misano recently and will therefore restart the season refreshed and ready to race.
The ninth venue on the 12 round WorldSSP campaign trail, the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve is a ceaselessly undulating 4.592km ribbon of tarmac that provides one of the biggest tests of a rider’s stamina and powers of concentration. Race day will be Sunday 8th September.
In the championship points, after eight rounds, Mahias has 82 points and Okubo 73.
After the long summer break the restart in WorldSSP action provides a relatively closely packed run of races to the finale in Doha, in late October. The next round after Portimao will be held at Magny Cours in France, with the race itself taking place on Sunday 19th September.
Lucas Mahias, stated: “I really like the Portimao track and have already scored a win and a second-place finish here. The Misano tests were very positive and we have a good setting from which to start. My goal is definitely the podium and perhaps even the highest step.”
Hikari Okubo, stated: “During the Misano test I think we solved some issues that have been causing me a few problems during the last races, preventing me from obtaining the results we are capable of. I am ready and motivated for my arrival in Portugal and will be aiming to score my first podium of the season.”
Ayrton Badovini and his Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki team-mate Kyle Smith took part in an official organisers’ test session at Portimao recently, meaning that they both intend to arrive in Portugal ready to score their season best performances. Currently Ayrton is 13th overall and Kyle 18th. Smith still leads the class-within-a-class FIM Europe Supersport Cup (ESS), for riders who race at the European rounds.
Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team Kawasaki) remains one point and one place behind Smith in the points with Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer Kawasaki) now joining Hartog on the nine point mark, after a fine 12th place at Donington. Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) will return to action looking for his first championship point of the campaign. ESS rider Gaetan Matern (Flembbo Racing Team Kawasaki) will also compete in Portugal.