WorldSSP: Rivals, redemption and racing resumes
Since the wheels last turned at Misano World Circuit, FIM Superport World Championship riders have been eagerly awaiting the return to racing action and the time has finally come, with the WorldSBK circus rolling into Lausitzring for the Prosecco DOC German Round. Recently returning to the calendar, the circuit is fairly new in terms of WorldSSP races held and with Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) the only rider to line up on the grid to have won in the class around the circuit; it will be a strong ask for his competitors.
Leading the world championship by just five points, Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) will be hoping to bounce back from a tough race last time out around Misano after the French rider crashed twice, unable to rejoin after the second crash. Clinging onto the lead ahead of his rivals, Mahias will hope to return to his podium finishing ways we saw at the Pata UK Round back in May. But with the 28 year old without a win since the Pirelli Aragon Round back in March, he needs to produce a win to continue to hold a strong title fight. Making his debut around Lausitzring this weekend, it will be interesting to see what the French rider can produce.
Kenan Sofuoglu returns to Lausitzring, a circuit which saw him take a dominant victory of over 1.7s in 2016. The Turkish rider has reduced his gap in the championship to just five points heading into the final five rounds of the season, and his recent pace indicates he is showing no signs of slowing down. Winning every race he has finished so far in 2017, the 32 year old has clearly found a package he is comfortable with on his ZX-6R. A strong history around Lausitzring will work in his favour – three podiums and two victories – but he will have a strong fight back from his rivals.
Kallio Racing’s Sheridan Morais makes his return to Lausitzring with the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship paddock for the first time since 2007, where the South African narrowly missed out on a top ten finish. With just one podium finish to his name so far this season – at the Pirelli Aragon Round – Morais has been consistently finishing in the top six, but will be hoping to secure his first win of the season in the second half. Bridging the gap to the leaders will be a challenge, but will make for a great show.
28 year old Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) is still within reach of the championship fight, and in the unpredictable nature of the World Supersport championship, anything could be possible. Still searching for his debut win of the season, the French rider is getting ever closer to the top with a second position last time out at Misano. Securing a podium finish around Lausitzring last year, it’s clear Cluzel has a strong pace but it remains to be seen if he can repeat it this season.
WorldSSP racing gets back underway from 18th – 20th August, as the fight for the title intensifies.