WorldSSP: Unstoppable Kenan Sofuoglu registers third successive victory
Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) made another big statement of intent in the 2017 WorldSSP championship fight on Sunday afternoon at the PATA UK Round, taking a third win in three races. He was joined on the podium at the Donington Park Circuit by standings leader Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) and Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda).
Having missed the opening two rounds of the year due to a training injury, Sofuoglu has clawed his way back to second in the championship after six races courtesy of a 100% record in the last three rounds. In a restarted race, after a red-flag in the initial get away, pole man Sofuoglu notched up a dominant win in a shortened 13-lap contest, crossing the finish line 2.45s in front of closest challenger Mahias.
For Mahias it was his third consecutive second place finish behind the Turk and the result means he maintains the championship lead by 30 points, even if he can feel Sofuoglu on his shoulder as the World Champion moves up the general standings.
A good performance by Cluzel on the Honda CBR600RR saw him bring it home in third, for his second podium of the season. The Frenchman pushed his compatriot Mahias hard for second place but just could not make a move stick over the final corners.
The top five also featured Luke Stapleford in fourth place as the top British finisher and his fellow Profile Racing rider – Irishman Jack Kennedy – in fifth.
The top ten was competed by Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing), Anthony West (EAB West Racing), Kyle Smith (GEMAR Team Lorini), Hikari Okubo (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) and Joe Francis (HALSALL Racing Team). Meanwhile in 11th and 12th there were point-scoring finishes for Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) to make it five Britons in the top 12.
A crash at turn 12 for Cardelus Garcia (Race Department ATK#25) saw the initial race start red-flagged as the marshals cleaned the track – following the incident for the MV Agusta F3 675-equipped rider.
Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) crashed at turn 12 soon after the race was restarted and his Italian compatriot Christian Gamarino (BARDAHL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing) also crashed out in the final stages of the race. An issue for PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) meant he did not participate in the restart.
The WorldSSP riders will be back in action over the 16th-18th June weekend at the Pirelli Riviera Di Rimini Round.
P1 – Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
“I am not thinking about the championship, I am very much interested to keep winning. I am very happy, all weekend I was not fast enough but finally I told myself I will push like Superpole. I was doing a good lap time and I am very happy with the pace, it’s nice to know I am fast enough but I know I have a lot more to do.”
#UKWorldSBK: WorldSSP Race
1. Kenan Sofuoglu (TUR) Kawaski
2. Lucas Mahias (FRA) Yamaha +2.450
3. Jules Cluzel (FRA) Honda +2.576