WorldSSP: Kenan Sofuoglu stuns in WorldSSP sprint
In a delayed and shortened WorldSSP race on Sunday afternoon at the Motul Italian Round World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) took the win, using all his experience to beat Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) and PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), who both joined him on the podium.
Having missed the first two rounds of 2017 due to a training injury and then crashing out on his comeback at Aragon, Sofuoglu built on his Assen victory with a second consecutive triumph in this 11-lap sprint to claw back five points on championship leader Mahias.
Frenchman Mahias remains at the head of the standings following his second place finish, a fourth podium result of the year so far for the Yamaha man. Pole man Jacobsen crossed the line just behind Sofuoglu and Mahias in third, but he was never really able to challenge the leading pair for victory.
The top five also included Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing) and Kyle Smith (GEMAR Team Lorini), with South African rider Morais around seven seconds off the podium and eight tenths of a second in front of Smith.
Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda), Christian Gamarino (BARDAHL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing), Loris Cresson (SC Racing-RPM84), Hikari Okubo (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) and Alessandro Zaccone (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) were all in the top ten.
Indeed in tenth place Zaccone was the leading FIM Europe Supersport Cup finisher, ahead of Hannes Soomer (WILSport Racedays) in 16th and Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Jenik – Against Cancer) in 17th.
Alex Baldolini (Race Department ATK#25) retired with technical problems, with smoke pouring from his MV Agusta F3 675 machine, whilst there were crashes for the likes of Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing) and Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing).
The WorldSSP race finally took place after WorldSBK Race 2 following an initial race start delay and two interrupted races earlier in the day – due to red flags after incidents had left debris and oil on track. Due to the rescheduling of the race it was shortened from an original 17-lap length to 11 circulations of the Imola track.
The riders will be back in action over the 26th-28th May weekend at the UK’s Donington Park circuit.
Race Winner – Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
“It was not easy with many red flags. Finally for the race I had no new tyre left, I told myself no excuse, no complaint and I worked very hard to stay in front and push the whole race. I am very happy, and very happy for the team at their home round.”
#ItalianWorldSBK: WorldSSP Race
1. Kenan Sofuoglu (TUR) Kawasaki
2. Lucas Mahias (FRA) Yamaha +0.438
3. PJ Jacobsen (USA) MV Agusta +1.573
WorldSSP Championship Standings Motul Italian Round
1. Lucas Mahias (FRA) Yamaha (85 points)
2. Sheridan Morias (RSA) Yamaha (58 points)
3. PJ Jacobsen (USA) MV Agusta (55 points)