Time a head to head in Qatar
Continuing with the stunningly dramatic action the 2017 FIM Supersport World Championship has treated us with, the title fight goes down to the final round in the heat of the desert as Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) looks to de-throne Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and take the title in Qatar. With Sofuoglu hoping to return from injury this weekend, there is all to play for and 25 points up for grabs
Following a heroic ride in front of his home fans around Circuit de Nevers Mangy-Cours, Lucas Mahias heads to Qatar with a 20 point advantage over Sofuoglu with just one round remaining. Struggling with his rear tyre in the final European Round at Jerez, Mahias has left himself with even more work to do around the Losail International Circuit. Taking two fourth position finishes around the track – both with Yamaha – the Frenchman has a solid history around the circuit, however he will have much more on his mind than taking his first victory here. If Sofuoglu does ride, all Mahias has to do is finish five points ahead and he will be crowned champion, which sounds easy. But nothing is easy in motorbike racing.
Looking to be the man to stop Mahais, is reigning champion Sofuoglu. Putting up a strong battle to return from injury sustained five weeks ago in France, the 33 year old won’t go down without a fight on board his ZX-6R. With eight appearances around Losail under his belt – two of those in WorldSBK – the Turkish rider has only won around the track once, back in 2007. He has however taken four podium finishes and is a rider you can never rule out of the fight. If he takes the title it will be nothing short of heroic, but if anyone can try its Sofuoglu.
No longer in with a chance of taking the title, Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) and PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) will be searching for their first win of the season after the pair have come so close on so many occasions so far in 2017. Cluzel has secured two podiums in the series around Qatar, whilst Jacobsen has had a varied history so far. But with the two riding with even more confidence, they will certainly be up at the sharp end and the title battle won’t be the only think to keep an eye on.
One rider to not forget is Brit Kyle Smith (Gemar Team Lorini), who has taken the victory in the WorldSSP race on the last two occasions around the Losail International Circuit. Following a strong start to the season, Smith’s run of form took a dip throughout 2017 but heading to a circuit where he will no doubt have a lot of confidence around, he will be one to watch this weekend.
Follow the intense championship battle in the Acerbis Qatar Round, all with the WorldSBK VideoPass, as the race is live on Saturday 4th November at 19.30LT.