Honda rider shines in the Qatari night
The final WorldSSP race of the season was an edge-of-the-seat thriller that saw Kyle Smith (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) come out victorious over current World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) by just 6 thousandths of a second. Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) finished in third to secure the overall runner up spot in the 2016 FIM Supersport World Championship.
It was pole-sitter Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing) and Sofuoglu who took off side by side at lights out, but got caught up in the first corner as Alex Baldolini (Race Department ATK#25) shot away at the front. Pole man Stapleford ran into trouble on turn 10, ending his race early.
Runner-up contenders Randy Krummenacher (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Cluzel battled for second place and quickly joined by Smith, who had worked his way up from fifth on the grid, as they crossed the line together into the second lap. The Brit had the quicker pace and by the end of the lap had overtaken Baldolini and began to pull away. Cluzel was able to maintain his pace in second but Krummenacher couldn’t and began to fall back through the order, fighting for fourth with his other rival PJ Jacobsen (Honda World Supersport Team).
Sofuoglu was briefly caught up behind other riders in fifth, but it didn’t take him long to begin his assault back towards the front. With three laps to go, the Turkish rider hunted down Smith who was over a second in front. Smith didn’t let the Kawasaki rider get away and retook his lead with two laps to go, initiating the beginning of an epic shootout for the win as the lead alternated. Both riders crossed the line side by side with Smith taking the win by just 6 thousandths of a second!
Jacobsen won the battle with Krummenacher for fourth, while the Swiss rider took fifth in the race and third overall in the Championship. Ayrton Badovini (GEMAR Balloons – Team Lorini) finished the race in sixth ahead of Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) in seventh.
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda’s Christoffer Bergman came home in eighth while Massimo Roccoli (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) finished ninth, while Baldolini rounded out the top ten. Ondrej Jezek (Team GOELEVEN) claimed 11th with Loris Cresson (RPM84) completing his fourth WorldSSP race in P12. Hikari Okubo (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) came home in P13 ahead of Kyle Ryde (Schmidt Racing) and Lachlan Epis (Response RE Racing) who picked up the seasons last points in P14 and P15.
WorldSSP will restart their engines for the new season at Phillip Island in February 2017. Until then, stay up to date with the latest news and videos on WorldSBK.com.