CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider reflects on a great end to the season
A superb final lap in the last WorldSSP race of 2016 saw Englishman Kyle Smith go head-to-head with World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu in a epic duel, which Smith went on to win by just a 0.006s margin.
Smith had looked good throughout the race and at one stage had built a sizeable gap at the front on his Honda CBR600RR, but Sofuoglu stalked him down late on and the two battled spectacularly on the final lap.
Sofuoglu was leading going in to the last two corners only for an excellent last corner move from Smith to take him past the Kawasaki rider, meaning it was then a desperate sprint to the line under the Losail floodlights. Smith just edged it, to repeat his 2015 Qatar win and add another victory to his 2016 tally having also won at Assen in April.
Smith enthused after the race: “I’ve had the pace all weekend and the bike has been feeling good. I enjoy this track a lot, I won here last year and I got the fastest lap. These last few races we have worked a lot on the bike and found a set up that I feel really comfortable with. Before I went out there I was super nervous though. I knew I could do it but it has to be perfect to beat the best in the world, to beat Kenan (Sofuoglu), (Jules) Cluzel and (PJ) Jacobsen, you’ve got to really push and not make any mistakes.”
He continued, “At one point in the race I pulled a little gap and then in the last few laps Kenan caught me back up. He is not a man you want to come past you on the last lap! I just had to concentrate so hard and not make any mistakes. Finally I just beat him to the line, I don’t know by how much but it definitely wasn’t very much!”
Regarding those pre-race nerves and the approach he took to the final race of the season, Smith also stated, “I took the same strategy as at every race and I tried not to think about things too much. Subconsciously though, when you know you can do well you put extra pressure on yourself. But it has turned out ok!”