Courtesy of KRT – Kawasaki Racing Team
The 12th and final round of the 2019 FIM Supersport World Championship takes place this coming weekend in Qatar with Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team-mates Lucas Mahias and Hikari Okubo intent on scoring podium finishes.
Mahias, approaching the end of his first season as a Kawasaki rider, has already won a race in 2019 as he approaches the venue where he made certain of his status as WorldSSP champion in 2017. Lucas has scored two of his six career race wins at Losail, in 2017 and 2018.
After his recent popular race victory at his home round in Magny Cours Mahias has underlined the combined capabilities of rider, machine and team, to the point whereby he has re-signed with Kawasaki for a full-on assault on the 2020 WorldSSP season.
Lucas will now finish the year in a guaranteed fourth place overall, largely thanks to scoring podium finishes in every one of the last five rounds.
For Hikari his personal ambition is to earn a place on the Losail podium, as he has come close to his first top-three performance more than once in 2019. He is also set to defend his fifth place in the championship standings, where he enjoys a five-point margin over the rider one position behind.
In its own right the 5.380km Losail International Circuit in Qatar is a well-designed and fabulously appointed modern venue, but it becomes a truly unique challenge under the vast numbers of floodlights that come into play on race weekends.
At Losail the overall race ‘weekend’ is run one day earlier than normal, which means that the final race of 2019 takes place on Saturday 26th October.
Lucas Mahias, stated: “I’ve won twice at Losail and ‘good things come in threes’, as they say. I really like the track and racing at night is always exciting. I don’t have any particular goals; only to work with my team to find a good set-up for my bike so that we can round out the 2019 season with the best possible result.”
Hikari Okubo, stated: “I really like racing at Losail because it’s done at night – and that’s exciting. Unfortunately, I had to retire from the last two races I ran here, but it is for that reason that I’m even more motivated to finally achieve an important result. I’ll do my best to finish the season strongly and confirm fifth place in the championship.”
Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) has one more chance to repeat the podium placing he scored at the Magny Cours round, as he occupies overall tenth place in the championship standings.
Kyle Smith, the FIM Europe Supersport Cup (ESS) title holder hopes for a personal 2019 season best, especially at circuit he has won not one but two WorldSSP races at. In the championship rankings Kyle is 15th.
Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team Kawasaki) and Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer Kawasaki) head to the final round in 20th and 21st places overall, tied on the same total of nine championship points.