Courtesy of KRT – Kawasaki Racing Team
Five-time FIM Supersport World Champions Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) gave a masterful display of front running from pole position to win the 18-lap WorldSSP race at Assen by over 2.5 seconds. Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) made a great start and looked set for a top five finish but as the laps counted down he dropped to 12th at the flag. Michael Canducci (3570 Puccetti Racing FMI Kawasaki) was a strong seventh.
Pushing from the start to make the most of his pole starting position Kenan Sofuoglu eased away from an ever-changing pack of pursuing riders and was never headed over the 18-lap race distance.
This was Kenan’s 39th race win in the WorldSSP category and the perfect way to come back after his recent bad luck at the start of the year. This was also the first Kawasaki race win of 2017 in WorldSSP and Kenan is the fourth different rider to have won a race so far.
For Ryde, the Assen race started well but as he had to put more effort into steering his machine with each passing lap – possibly due to a less than perfect front tyre choice for the conditions – he dropped from a potential top five placing to 12th.
Canducci had a consistent race and made it pay off with a seventh place, his second impressive race finish in a row after his fifth place at Motorland Aragon last time out.
In the overall championship Ryde is still top Kawasaki rider, in fifth place, Sofuoglu jumped to ninth with his first points of the year and Canducci is tenth.
Kenan Sofuoglu, stated: “The season started really badly for me and there was a lot of stress in the race from inside me, not from somebody pushing me from outside. But finally this year I took a win in a race. So from now I can be more relaxed. I have zero idea about the championship and am going out to win as much as possible. This is the goal so another win in my career is very good. A big, big thanks to Kawasaki and my Puccetti team, because they have worked a lot to bring me back to P1 and now we are back there.”
Kyle Ryde, stated: “I got a good start but I was about the only person to use an SC2 front tyre. I thought it would be fine for the race distance. At the start I rode around a couple of people in the first lap and I thought that was it. I had put myself in the ballpark and thought I would hang with the group until the end of the race. But after four or five laps I was really struggled to get the bike to turn. I know I can be competitive now I just need the full set-up package and I know we will do it eventually. I need to have another first lap like I had today and be able to stay there to the end.”
Top ranked ESS rider was Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Jenik Against Cancer Kawasaki) tenth at his home round. Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) had a tough race to 17th and Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 19th.
Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) and Lachlan Epis (Response RE Racing Kawasaki) were unfortunate to crash out of contention, while Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) retired in the pits.