WorldSSP: Turkish delight

Monday, 12 June 2017 08:59 GMT

Can anyone slow down Sofuoglu?

Rolling into the seventh round of the season, the FIM Supersport World Championship takes the fight to the world famous Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, a circuit set alongside the stunning Rimini coastline and a fan favourite. Nearing the half way point of the season, the battle for the title intensifies as Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) continues on a stunning run of form. One man looking to stop him is current championship leader Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team), who has kept a hold onto the lead for the last four rounds and shows no signs of slowing down. This season has already shown that anything can happen – so what will the Pirelli Riviera Di Rimini Round bring?

Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) has now taken three victories in a row in the WorldSSP series but is firmly set on only riding for wins and not with the championship in mind. Re-signing with the Italian squad for 2018, it’s clear the Turkish rider is happy with his ZX-6R machine and heads to Misano with a confident feeling – it’s a circuit he has taken two victories around and crossed the line with a comfortable margin last year. Despite also being a strong circuit for his rivals, Sofuoglu is never deterred by the pace of those alongside him and will be out to continue his winning form in San Marino.

World championship leader Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) has made it clear of his desire to win in the series, as he has watched his lead diminish to now only 30 points, with Sofulogu slowly chipping away. Despite this, it’s important to note how consistency is key in the ever competitive class and as the Frenchman heads to Rimini – where he secured the STK1000 victory last season, meaning he will certainly be one to watch.

Undisputed record holder around Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) is continuing to look for that all important first victory of the season following a tough start. With two podiums secured so far in 2017 – one last time out at Donington Park – Cluzel will hope to add to his two victories so far in Rimini. A circuit he is proven to have a strong pace around, there will be a high level of competition but the level of determination will be even higher for the 28 year old.

Donington Park brought a tough run for American PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) as he was forced to retire from the re-started race. However with some time off to recuperate on top of a two day private test around the Rimini circuit, Jacobsen will be hoping to be able to be up and fighting for the victory, as he will work towards bringing a similar pace to last season. Locked in the fight for the victory in 2016 around the 4.226km circuit, and now with an Italian machine he will be battling for not only his third podium of the season but also some home glory.

Italian fans play a huge part in the atmosphere of the Pirelli Riviera di Rimini, and the desire to impress in front of the home crowd is one which stretches even further for the Italian riders. 2016 rookie Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) put on a stunning show last season but was unable to make the chequered flag. With a varied record so far this season, Round seven of the championship could be the young rider’s time to shine on board his YZF-

R6. Meanwhile Alessandro Zaccone (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) will be fighting for top European Supersport Cup honours in front of his home crowd, as the inner-championship battle continues.

Keep up with all the sensational WorldSSP action from Misano as the action kicks off on Friday at 08.45LT with Free Practise one, ahead of the Race on Sunday at 11.30LT.