Fond Farewell For Sofuoglu As Okubo Continues

The final WorldSSP race for five times champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) takes place this coming weekend at Imola but for his team-mate Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) it will be just his fifth race since he joined the team at the beginning of this year. Sofuoglu’s career sign off, in his team’s home […]

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The final WorldSSP race for five times champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) takes place this coming weekend at Imola but for his team-mate Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) it will be just his fifth race since he joined the team at the beginning of this year.
Sofuoglu’s career sign off, in his team’s home country of Italy, will be a focus of incredible attention as he is the most successful WorldSSP rider in history. His five FIM Supersport World Championship titles – three for Kawasaki in all and two for his current Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team – total three more than any other rider has secured.

All being well in practice and qualifying, the 33-year-old Sofuoglu will take part in his 126th WorldSSP race this weekend. He holds all the major statistical records in the class. He has scored a total of 85 podiums, of which 43 have been race wins. He has taken 34 pole positions and has started from a front row grid position 100 times.

Okubo, who joined the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team this year, has experienced some misfortune so far but also demonstrated pace for top six finishes at times. He sees the Imola weekend as the ideal moment to re-boot his championship ambitions. He is currently 26th overall, thanks to the two points he scored in the opening round in Australia.

The historic Imola circuit features seemingly endless elevations and sudden drops, with a mixture of incredibly fast curves and slower sections, including four chicanes. The race itself is scheduled for Sunday the 13th of May.

Kenan Sofuoglu stated: “Twenty years ago I started my racing career with a goal to race in the world championships. We won five times the world title. I am very thankful for that. Many people supported me while winning these titles I want to thank everyone for that. For Kawasaki Puccetti Racing Team and for my fans I will be last time on the track in Italy.”

Hikari Okubo, stated: “I think I can have a good race weekend in Imola because I like this track. The Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team is also an Italian team, so I need get my best result possible. The previous races this season have not given me a happy result but we are refreshed in spirit and we will restart the year from this race on.”

Other Kawasaki runners at Imola have a high chance of scoring well, with Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki) looking to score strongly again, as he continues his privateer season. He is 11th overall now, after a no-score in the previous round in the Netherlands.

ESS Rider, Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Against Cancer) who only races at the European rounds, leads the ESS rankings. He is now 13th overall in the full championship standings too, even against riders who race all the rounds.

Michael Canducci (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) will have a new team-mate for his home round this weekend, in the shape of Argentinean rider Javier Ezequiel Iturrioz (Team GoEleven Kawasaki).

Full-time runner Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) will be joined in Imola by fellow Kawasaki runners, and ESS competitors, Wayne Tessels (Chromeburner Wayne’s Racingteam MTM) and Peter Sebestyen (SSP Hungary Team).

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Undulating Imola The Next Venue For KRT

After KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes won a WorldSBK race apiece at the previous round at Assen a very different kind of circuit – Imola in Italy – will offer up two more opportunities for podium success soon. The races at Imola will be held on Saturday the 12th and Sunday 13th of […]

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After KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes won a WorldSBK race apiece at the previous round at Assen a very different kind of circuit – Imola in Italy – will offer up two more opportunities for podium success soon. The races at Imola will be held on Saturday the 12th and Sunday 13th of May, at what is the fifth stop on the 13-round championship trail.
With the 2018 FIM Superbike World Championship now well underway three-time champion Rea has scored three race wins. With 2013 champion Sykes now back to race winning ways as well, after his victory in race two in the Netherlands, KRT riders have won half of the races so far. This level of success has been achieved despite the Ninja ZX-10RR having the lowest maximum revs of any of the four-cylinder machines – under balancing rules recently introduced to the WorldSBK regulations.

With both official Ninja ZX-10RR riders already proven double race winners for Kawasaki at Imola (Sykes in 2013 and Rea in 2015) a race weekend at Imola is prospect to be relished. The official Kawasaki duo have also enjoyed two days of fruitful testing at Brno in the Czech Republic, shortly after the previous competitive round at Assen, adding more data and track time to their overall Imola preparations.

Rea’s win and second place finish at Assen last time out see him 30 points ahead of his nearest rival in the championship battle, with Sykes’ victory in race two at Assen putting him overall 5th, and only two points from 4th place.

Each KRT rider can make a little bit of history for himself at Imola over the next few days. If Sykes wins the pre-race Superpole qualifying contest it will make him the stand-alone pole position record holder. He currently shares that top honour with Australian legend Troy Corser, on 43 Superpole wins apiece. Already with 57 individual WorldSBK race wins to his credit, a race-winning double from Rea in Italy would draw him level with top-ranked Carl Fogarty in terms of career victories.

This weekend will be the 16th time that WorldSBK has visited the classic parkland circuit in the centre of the city of Imola. The ‘Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola’ is a 4.936km long ribbon of asphalt that winds its way through and around what is normally a public park. Its elevation changes and challenging variety of curves are punctuated by four significant chicanes. Evocative corner names like Tosa, Piratella and Rivazza are well known by motorsports fans all over the globe.

Joining the WorldSBK entry this weekend will be current BSB Championship points leader Leon Haslam, who will ride for the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing Team at their home round in Imola, alongside team regular Toprak Razgatlioglu.

After the completion of the Imola race weekend the sixth round of the FIM Superbike World Championship will take place at Donington Park in the UK, between the 25th and the 27th of May.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “It’s been a good to be at home and recharge the batteries after our recent back to back races, and then a test in Brno. I’m feeling good ahead of the Imola weekend. It’s a track that has a fun and challenging layout. It’s also been a circuit where we have just lacked that last piece of the jigsaw in recent years so it would be great to try to improve on our most recent Imola form. It’s such a picturesque circuit, and steeped in history, that’s it’s impossible not to enjoy riding there – especially in front of the Italian fans for the first time in 2018. We will be targeting race wins, let’s see if we can do it!”

Tom Sykes, stated: “It’s always a pleasure to go to Imola as it has a good track layout and great fans. I always enjoy myself on Wednesday, thanks to the Italian food and café culture. The easiest way to describe the feeling after my race win at Assen is that normally a win means a celebration, but this time it was a relief. It was also a gentle reminder that I was world champion for a reason. It has given me some self-confidence back. Since then I have been working well and we are starting to get back on the right track. We have had race-winning levels of pace this year but also some bad luck at times. On track at Imola we will work hard with the bike and try to win again.”

2018 KRT Rider Statistics

Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016 & 2017
2018: Races 8, Wins 3, Podiums 6, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 57 (42 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 118 (76 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 15 (11 for Kawasaki)

Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2018: Races: 8, Wins 1, Podiums 2, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 34 (34 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 102 (101 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: 113 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 356 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 75 – second overall

#NinjaSpirit

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KENAN SOFUOGLU WILL RIDE THE LAST RACE OF HIS CAREER IN IMOLA

Kenan Sofuoglu will race the fifth round of the FIM Supersport World Championship this weekend at “Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari” in Imola for the last time in his career. The Turkish rider has officially declared his intention to retire after the Italian round this weekend, which will coincide with his 20th year racing […]

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Kenan Sofuoglu will race the fifth round of the FIM Supersport World Championship this weekend at “Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari” in Imola for the last time in his career.
The Turkish rider has officially declared his intention to retire after the Italian round this weekend, which will coincide with his 20th year racing anniversary.

On many occasions this year the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing’s rider has declared that there was a possibility for him to retire after the terrible crash he suffered in Australia that left him with additional issues apart from the those he sustained in the accident at Magny Cours last year.

For Sofuoglu 2017 was marked by many injuries. After injuring his right hand during training just before the start of the season, Kenan missed the first two rounds. His come back in Aragon saw him being forced out of the race while he was fighting for the victory finishing again with no points. In the following encounters, the five-time world champion achieved 5 victories and a second place reopening the battle for the championship title.

But after a dramatic crash in France, which left him with a hip bone injury, the chance of winning the sixth WorldSSP title of his career seemed to have vanished. The tough Turkish rider didn’t give up and decided to attempt to race in the final 2017 round in Qatar – less than a month after a crash that would normally require a 12-week recovery time. Sofuoglu performed at his very best to finish in third place, which unfortunately wasn’t sufficient to secure the championship title.

Because of these continuous injuries the Turkish rider decided together with his family to end his career sooner as was expected.
After having won the Supersport world championship title five times in 2007, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016 (the two last ones with the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team) and having become one of the most successful riders ever with 45 victories overall (43 of that in WorldSSP) Sofuoglu made the difficult decision with no regrets.

Kenan has been a great fighter both in life and on track. He is a modest rider but with a great experience, talent and professionalism. He will now focus on his riding school where he has been training many Turkish young riders who are already showing their talent on the international stage. Among them there is Toprak Razgatlioglu, WorldSBK’s rookie rider on board the Kawasaki ZX-10RR machine with the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team this year.

After Imola, Sofuoglu will keep working with the team supporting and helping his rider to grow in the main category of the championship. From 11th to 13th May Kenan Sofuoglu will be out on track for the last time in his career at the team home round in Imola.

The Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team and its staff would like to thank Kenan for his precious collaboration in the last few years and wish him all the best in his life and lot of success for the future.

Manuel Puccetti, Team Principal:
“We are really sorry to lose such a talent like Kenan in the team, but we understand and respect his decision. For us it has been an opportunity working with one of the most professional and strongest riders in the Supersport category. It has been an honour having him in the team. We would like to thank him because we really grow a lot thanks to him and his collaboration. With Kawasaki we made a fantastic group and for sure we will keep working together in the future. Kenan is the manager of our current rider in WorldSBK and in the future we will probably have other talents from his school and we will keep working together with Kawasaki and the Turkish Motorcycle Federation. There are many different best moments of our seasons together, but I will never forget the feeling when we won our first title in Magny Cours. I think that it is really difficult to forget”.

Kenan Sofuoglu, #54:
“As how the President wishes I am going to retire from racing this weekend. I will celebrate my 20 years of racing anniversary this weekend! Last couple of months I had a few injures which made my family very afraid, also our President. We decide to retire from racing earlier then what I was thinking. I can’t say I am sad because I have already a few Turkish riders which I trained to race and carry our flag. Twenty years ago I started my racing career with a goal to race in the world championships. We won five times the world title. I am very thankful for that. Many people supported me while winning these titles I want to thank everyone for that. For Kawasaki Puccetti Racing Team and for my fans I will be last time on the track on 12-13 May in Italy.”

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Clement Desalle wins again in Russia

Clement Desalle and the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team raced to victory in the Russian round of the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship at the Orlyonok raceway for the second consecutive year. The twenty-eight year old Belgian was in inspired form on race day at the spectacular track overlooking the Black Sea coastline. Dialling in […]

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Clement Desalle and the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team raced to victory in the Russian round of the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship at the Orlyonok raceway for the second consecutive year.

The twenty-eight year old Belgian was in inspired form on race day at the spectacular track overlooking the Black Sea coastline. Dialling in his starts he burst through the sweeping first turn in second place in each moto and immediately set his sights on the leader. Within the first half lap of the opening moto he had made a dramatic pass for the lead and maintained a strong pace to establish a six seconds lead at one stage; as the pressure mounted in the closing laps he remained cool and unruffled to score a clearcut victory. In race two Clement was again fully focused as he exited turn one in second place and kept the pressure on the leader through the early laps until they were clear of the chasing group; secure in the knowledge that second place in the moto would ensure the overall victory he remained focused to the end for a highly popular win, the first in the motocross world championship by a Japanese manufacturer this year. The forty-seven point scoreline has also taken Clement back to third in the series standings after six rounds of the twenty event GP schedule.

Clement Desalle: “I’m really happy about my riding today and to be able to put a green bike on the top of the podium. I found some really good lines in the early laps of the first race to take the lead and build a good gap; they came back at me in the last few laps but I was able to control the race for the victory. I got another good start in race two, could stay with the leader for several laps and stayed focused to the end to take the overall GP win. It was great to win again at this track, and now we will work for more GP victories.”

Francois Lemariey (KRT team manager): “Clement rode two great races, to win the first moto and then to keep the gap safe to third in race two to secure the overall victory. It’s great to see the result of all the hard work put in by the entire team and to see Kawasaki take the first victory of the year by a Japanese manufacturer.”

KRT teammate Julien Lieber, a sensational third during qualifying the previous day, could not quite repeat that success but the MXGP rookie had two solid rides to cement his top ten world ranking. In the first moto he pushed forward to eighth place and in race two went one better to end the day seventh overall.

Julien Lieber: “Today was the race day and we know that it’s never the same as during a qualifying day. I’m happy with my weekend; with a seventh overall I got my second best result in the MXGP class. My starts were not so great but I made some passes during the first few laps to finish eighth and seventh. It was important to be twice in the top ten this weekend. I made some mistakes in the previous rounds so one of my goals was to avoid any mistake here and that’s what I did.”

Alessandro Lupino of Gebben Van Venrooy Kawasaki Racing finished eleventh in each moto to secure ninth place overall.

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Deroue Leads Championship On Ninja 400

After an incredibly hectic last lap in the Assen race of the WorldSSP300 championship race a third place finish for local rider Scott Deroue (Motoport Kawasaki) saw him take the championship lead after two rounds. Having started from tenth place Deroue was third in the race, by just 0.421 seconds after 12 laps of incredibly […]

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After an incredibly hectic last lap in the Assen race of the WorldSSP300 championship race a third place finish for local rider Scott Deroue (Motoport Kawasaki) saw him take the championship lead after two rounds.

Having started from tenth place Deroue was third in the race, by just 0.421 seconds after 12 laps of incredibly close action. He was part of a five-rider finishing group that contained three Kawasaki runners.

Added to his second place finish in round one at Motorland Aragon last weekend, Deroue has a four point championship advantage despite recent balancing rule changes that have affected the on-track performance of all the Kawasaki Ninja 400s in this class.

Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team Kawasaki) was fourth, and Walid Khan (Nutec – Benjan Kawasaki) was fifth, the latter 0.814 seconds from the winner as the final lap unfolded and multiple passing manoeuvres were made.

Mika Perez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) and Tom Edwards (Nutec – Benjan Kawasaki) both fell in pursuit of glory in the final lap, but Darren Loureiro (DS Junior Team Kawasaki) was seventh, 1.7 seconds down after an incredible race held in outstandingly sunny conditions. Deroue’s Dutch team-mate Robert Schotman (Motoport Kawasaki) had to retire from his home race.

After two intense rounds in which the Ninja 400 has proven itself so well already the next race will take place at Imola, Italy, with raceday on Sunday 13th May.

Scott Deroue, stated: “Of course I knew there would be a big front pack in this race and because of my bad grid position I was eager to be with the leaders. I succeeded and showed them that I was feeling strong this weekend. Staying out of trouble was my main objective, and that’s not an easy task in this class. Although I couldn’t take the victory I’m glad that I took a rostrum in front of my home crowd. I know the season just begun, but it’s nice to be the leader of the championship after two rounds.”

#NinjaSpirit

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