Waters & Suzuki Ecstar 2nd In Australian SBK Opener

Team Suzuki ECSTAR Australia got off to a flying start in the 2018 Australian Superbike Championship this weekend, run in conjunction with the opening World Superbike Championship round with defending champion Josh Waters taking home second place overall with Pole Position and a 3-2-2 result aboard the new GSX-R1000.


Team Suzuki Press Office – February 26.

 

Josh Waters – (3-2-2) – 2nd overall

Markus Chiodo – (10-25-11) – 12th overall

 

Team Suzuki ECSTAR Australia got off to a flying start in the 2018 Australian Superbike Championship this weekend, run in conjunction with the opening World Superbike Championship round with defending champion Josh Waters taking home second place overall with Pole Position and a 3-2-2 result aboard the new GSX-R1000.
Waters’ team-mate and ASBK Rookie Markus Chiodo came home 12th (10-25-11) for the weekend in a packed 50-plus field after qualifying in 14th and battling all weekend.

 

Josh Waters:

“It was a tough weekend overall. I felt great on Friday, and it showed with a strong time and Pole Position for the weekend. I was in the lead when the rain started to come down in the first race and the conditions were getting dangerous, but the confusion in pit lane meant we didn’t get warmers on for some time and so it made the second part of the race tough to race with the lead riders. For the rest of the weekend, we were chasing the setup a little around the conditions and I was pushing hard all the time to keep battling for the lead. Overall, I’m happy heading into the next round, so second overall isn’t a bad start to the year.”

 
Markus Chiodo:

I expect a lot from myself, especially having this incredible team supporting me, so to come home 12th overall, I didn’t achieve the goal I set for myself. Phillip Island is a strong circuit for me, so I really wanted to do well here, but after qualifying in 14th, I had my work cut-out for me in every race to even try to reach the lead group, let alone stick with them. A crash in race two put me way down the order, losing some critical points that could have seen me reach the top-10.”.

 

 

Dale Brede – Team Owner:

“It was a great weekend of racing that had us all on the edge of our seats in every race with close racing and typical changing Phillip Island weather causing havoc not just for us but everyone in the paddock.
“Finding the perfect settings this weekend was a challenge with the conditions and Josh managed to ride the wheels off the bike to get the results he did and Markus, although I know he’s a little disappointed to be outside the top 10, did a great job on debut and no doubt will continue to improve every time he rides the GSX-R1000. To head to our home round second in the championship with podiums in every race is a great result, but we’re motivated to win and will keep working hard to get there!”

 

Team Suzuki ECSTAR Australia racing now prepare for what is a home race for the Canberra-based team in Wakefield Park, Goulburn NSW on March 16-18th.

Sofuoglu And Okubo Fight On

In a nine-lap WorldSSP sprint race, after the expected flag-to-flag race was stopped by a red flag incident, Kawasaki Puccetti Racing riders Kenan Sofuoglu and Hikari Okubo secured 13th and 14th place finishes respectively at Phillip Island. After suffering a fast crash on Saturday, Sofuoglu was ready to take the fight to the opposition, but […]

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In a nine-lap WorldSSP sprint race, after the expected flag-to-flag race was stopped by a red flag incident, Kawasaki Puccetti Racing riders Kenan Sofuoglu and Hikari Okubo secured 13th and 14th place finishes respectively at Phillip Island.
After suffering a fast crash on Saturday, Sofuoglu was ready to take the fight to the opposition, but in the single nine lap race he felt vibrations from his machine as he fought inside the top positions, and slowly dropped back, concerned about another possible tyre issue.

Kenan finished with three points for 12th place, and a great desire to have better fortune when the championship heads to Thailand in late March for the next round.

New Kawasaki Puccetti Racing rider Okubo was knocked off his bike in the first attempted running of the race, but was then fortunate to be able to make the restart after some smart repair work from his crew. Riding with his own concerns about a vibration during the race, he finished 14th and scored points in his first ride for his new team.

Round two of the championship will take place on Sunday 25th March at the Buriram circuit in Thailand.

Kenan Sofuoglu, stated: “It was a very difficult weekend. Before Superpole, with a tyre problem that made a very big crash, it did a lot of damage to my body. I still wanted to fight today but in the race I understood that the level was strong and the pace was very fast, faster than Superpole. I pushed very hard but with four or five laps to go the bike started to have a vibration. For that reason I slowed down, and lost positions. After my fall on Saturday I had no problems with my physical condition in the race.”

Hikari Okubo, stated: “I got a good start in the first race start but in turn two a lot of riders were moving and changing their line, hitting my bike, so I crashed. After two laps there was a red flag and a restart to I could get onto the grid again. The bike looked like it had no big damage and the mechanics worked well to change the damaged parts. A big thanks to them for that. I pushed hard in the restart but I had a different feeling. After three laps the rear tyre had a big drop and a vibration, so I could not push. A difficult first race but a little bit lucky as I got two championship points. Not so many but it is important to always score points.”

Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki) was hugely unlucky not to score strongly in the race after demonstrating good pace in practice, suffering an early technical problem and being unable to make the restart.

Local rider Tom Toparis (Cube Racing Kawasaki) scored a point for 15th place today.

Lachlan Epis (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) was also unlucky not to finish the race with a small technical issue, but Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) finished 18th. Michael Canducci (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) fell and suffered a concussion, and is currently under assessment in hospital.

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Rea Second And Sykes Fourth In Aussie Thriller

After a change in the regular race two format, from a straight 22-laps to a flag-to-flag contest with mandatory pit stops at half race distance, KRT’s WorldSBK riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes finished second and fourth respectively. Rea’s second place today made it 350 podium finishes for Kawasaki riders since the start of the […]

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After a change in the regular race two format, from a straight 22-laps to a flag-to-flag contest with mandatory pit stops at half race distance, KRT’s WorldSBK riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes finished second and fourth respectively. Rea’s second place today made it 350 podium finishes for Kawasaki riders since the start of the championship in 1988.

As a safety precaution to make sure that the race tyre options would go for full race distance, the second 22-lap race at the 4.445km long Phillip Island was split into two parts, with riders forced to enter pitlane for a new rear tyre during a window of three laps in the middle of the race, and having to adhere to the standard 63 second pit intervention time, which is the minimum every rider has to spend in pit lane during his tyre change at this circuit.

From the off, and starting on the front row after finishing race one in fifth place, Rea was with the front group and took over the lead on lap 20. With a lower rev limit of 14,100rpm this year for the Ninja ZX-10RR, under new technical rules for the class, Rea could not quite make his last lap leading position count at the end of the long straight. Despite leading into the final corner the three-time champion was beaten by only 0.021 seconds after a unique and often breathless second WorldSBK contest of the season.

Sykes, starting from the third row of the race after his race one podium finish on Saturday, was also in the leading group, pitting at a different time from Rea for a new rear tyre. Tom lost some degree of performance and he finished fourth at the flag, and still just 1.488 seconds from the win.

In the championship itself double race winner Marco Melandri has 50 points, Sykes 33 points and Rea 31.

On a month’s time the WorldSBK paddock will reconvene for the second round of the championship in Buriram, Thailand, between 23rd and 25th March.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “My only chance to win the race was to try and be in the lead out of the last corner. On the penultimate lap and during the race they were passing me on the straight. When I got passed by Marco into T1 I just thought ‘I am going to let the brakes off and go right down the apex and see what happens!’ I wanted to put together the best last lap I could but all weekend we have been struggling with fourth gear. It was too long for that corner and we did not have enough drive on the exit. I could not get it done today and I made a bit of a mess of my pit exit. I completely forgot to change into second gear to release the pit rev limiter and both van der Mark and Fores came past me, so I lost track position. When we came round there were already a few riders ahead so I gave myself some work to do. I am happy to turn the page and start afresh in Thailand.”

Tom Sykes, stated: “In one respect it has been very successful weekend and in another I am disappointed because I really felt that that race, potentially, was mine. I had such a good feeling with the bike but unfortunately on lap three we started to have a small technical issue and for some reason the power dropped off in some sectors of the track. Apart from that the general set-up of the bike was spot-on. In one respect we were lucky to get to the end of the race and take the championship points, but honestly I felt a better result was taken away from me. But, I have to be upbeat because it is Phillip Island in windy conditions. I had a good feeling with the Ninja ZX-10RR this weekend and there are lots of positives to take from this round. I am looking at going to Thailand now and making progress through the season.”

2018 KRT Rider Statistics

Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016 & 2017
2018: Races 2, Wins 0, Podiums 1, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 54 (39 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 113 (71 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 14 (10 for Kawasaki)

Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2018: Races: 2, Wins 0, Podiums 1, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 33 (33 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 101 (100 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 43 (43 for Kawasaki)

5 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016 & 2017), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
3 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017)
3 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016 & 2017)

Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 109 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 350 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 74 – second overall

#NinjaSpirit

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New Look First Day For KRT In Australia

KRT riders Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea took part in a new-look Friday on the opening day of the 2018 season, with three 40 minute practice sessions now replacing the two one hour long practices of 2017. Sykes finished fourth fastest overall and Rea fifth today, with both Ninja ZX-10RR riders earning automatic Superpole 2 […]

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KRT riders Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea took part in a new-look Friday on the opening day of the 2018 season, with three 40 minute practice sessions now replacing the two one hour long practices of 2017. Sykes finished fourth fastest overall and Rea fifth today, with both Ninja ZX-10RR riders earning automatic Superpole 2 places in the process.

Overnight rains affected FP1 today, with most riders posting their fastest laps in the dry FP2 session knowing there was another 40 minutes available in which to make a final push.

Jonathan was one of the few riders to go faster in the third session, after trying some different machine settings from those he used in the recent official tests earlier today.

&nbspSykes almost joined Rea in setting an even better lap time in FP3 than his previous 1’30.882 but was still well inside the leading group, one place up on Rea. After good set-up work on used tyres, Sykes is fully prepared for race one on Saturday – if the conditions turn out to be dry.

With both official Ninja ZX-10RR machines clearly inside the top free practice places, preparations now begin inside the KRT garages to qualify well in Superpole 2 and ensure that each rider takes a leading grid position for race one.

The first race of the new season will take place on Saturday 24th February and race two on Sunday 25th, with both events scheduled for 15.00, local time.

Tom Sykes, stated: “I am very happy with today’s results. We have just done a long run on the tyres. In that last FP3 session we used the tyre from the previous session, so it has 28 laps on it now. My fastest lap today was on lap 16 on that same tyre, so I am happy. We were going to use a new set of tyres later today but we tried a couple of new things on the bike and it is working flawlessly at the moment. I am really enjoying riding it and I’m looking forward to the race. If it is dry then we are very well prepared.”

Jonathan Rea, stated: “We put everything together and tried something we were thinking about from the test, to put together for the weekend. Unfortunately we missed the first session due to rain and in the second session the change we tried was not exactly right. We tried something a little bit different for the last session to try and give me a bit of front end confidence, and I got it. Not many people improved their lap time in the last session but I was constantly on a really good pace in those conditions and I feel good for tomorrow. I was on course to be fastest but I had a huge moment in T11. I just got a little bit too excited because I knew it was a good lap time!”

2018 KRT Rider Statistics

Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016 & 2017
2018: Races 0, Wins 0, Podiums 0, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 54 (39 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 112 (70 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 14 (10 for Kawasaki)

Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2018: Races: 0, Wins 0, Podiums 0, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 33 (33 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 100 (99 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 42 (42 for Kawasaki)

5 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016 & 2017), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
3 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017)
3 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016 & 2017)

Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 109 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 348 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 73 – second overall

#NinjaSpirit

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New Season Awaits Sofuoglu And Okubo

Kawasaki Puccetti Racing rider Kenan Sofuoglu and his new team-mate Hikari Okubo finished eighth and tenth fastest in the final pre-season test of the 2018 WorldSSP campaign at Phillip Island, before the racing starts for real next weekend in Australia. Five-time world champion Sofuoglu, who is now fully recovered from pelvic injures suffered in 2017, […]

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Kawasaki Puccetti Racing rider Kenan Sofuoglu and his new team-mate Hikari Okubo finished eighth and tenth fastest in the final pre-season test of the 2018 WorldSSP campaign at Phillip Island, before the racing starts for real next weekend in Australia.

Five-time world champion Sofuoglu, who is now fully recovered from pelvic injures suffered in 2017, spent much of the two testing days at Phillip Island looking for an improved set-up package. As a result was unable to go for one fast lap to move beyond the top eight in the combined times, or do a final long-run to simulate real race conditions.

Even though he is rebuilding confidence and full one-lap pace after missing much of the 2017 season through injury, Sofuoglu was only 0.662 seconds from the fastest test time.

Japanese rider Okubo was one second behind the fastest rider of all, and ranked tenth overall in a field of 24 who took part in the official WorldSSP tests at Phillip Island. He is a new signing for the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team this year and is still finding his optimum machine set-up at this stage.

Now, with the first race of the season soon to take place over 18 laps of the 4.445km circuit, the main work will be to make a tyre choice and machine set-up package to last the entire race distance, at a circuit that is often very hard on the left hand side of the tyres.

Kenan Sofuoglu, stated: “We know our bike over many years of racing and we wanted to find the next step with the machine set-up. We went in many different directions with the bike’s settings but, like in the Portimao and Jerez tests, it looks like in the end we have gone back to our basic set-up. We had a very good set-up in the past and it is not easy to improve in that package. Because we spent so much time working in that area today I only had a chance to try a race simulation yesterday. I think we finished in eighth position after the tests but we will see what happens for the race. It is always different and maybe I need to search for my confidence in the race itself. I am 100% fit to ride the bike. My 2017 injury is fixed and I do not have any problems, I am only searching for some confidence right now.”

Hikari Okubo, stated: “I am happy about these two days of testing because I had the chance to improve the set-up of bike. Even if this is not the first time I rode the Kawasaki – I tested in Almeria and Portimao – I just needed more time to understand the bike. Together with the team I worked to find a better set-up and to make the tyres last the duration of the race. We tried a different set-up with the suspension, I made two long runs and we are probably on the right path to find a solution for the race.”

Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki) was the fastest Kawasaki rider in the tests, in fifth place after two days of dry, but windy, track action.

Wildcard rider, and Australian compatriot of West, Tom Toparis (Cube Racing Kawasaki) secured the 17th best time, one place up on Michael Canducci (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) in the timesheets.

Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 21st and Lachlan Epis (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) 23rd.

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