WorldSBK commentator Steve English reviews the record breaking season
The 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship season drew to a close in Qatar, and afterwards the attention was grabbed two record breaking world champions. While Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) broke the single season points record with another double victory, it was in World Supersport that Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) truly grabbed the attention. The Turkish rider braved the pain barrier to race with a triple hip fracture and afterwards his ability to overcome his injury was something that amazed the entire paddock.
“I've talked to Kenan about his injury and I know how bad it is,” said Rea while standing on the grid before the season finale. “To try and race in this condition is a real credit to the champion that Kenan is.”
Rea wasn't alone in heaping praise on the five times WorldSSP champion. Michael van der Mark, who raced against Sofuoglu in the class, was amazed by what he saw on track. “To race in that condition and set the fastest lap is incredible!”
Andrew Pitt, another world champion has worked alongside Sofuoglu's crew at Pucetti, and in Parc Ferme after the race it was clear how impressed he was with his team's Supersport rider.
It was an amazing achievement by Sofuoglu to race, and while he fell short of claiming a sixth title he left Qatar with the respect of the entire paddock. At times his hard riding has made him public enemy number one in the Supersport paddock. However, in recent years his bravery on and off the track has won him many admirers.
The respect that he has earned was shown in spades under the desert sky, on one of the rare occasions where he has come up short in his career.