The one-time race winner has endured a difficult 2023 but will remain with the squad for a fifth consecutive season
Can Oncu will be back on the FIM Supersport World Championship grid in 2024 with the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing outfit after his stay with the team was confirmed to extend into a fifth campaign. Oncu claimed his first race win this year, but a serious injury sustained at Assen heavily disrupted his campaign but, despite this, he and the team remain committed to each other for a fifth season as they look to fight for podiums, wins and, perhaps, titles.
A DEBUT CAMPAIGN: learning the ropes of WorldSSP
Oncu came into WorldSSP as the youngest-ever Grand Prix winner after his stunning and unexpected 2018 Valencian Grand Prix victory as a wildcard, and he became the first rider to win on his Grand Prix debut since Noboru Ueda in 1991. He remained in Moto3™ in 2019 but the Turk could only score eight points and he moved to WorldSSP with Puccetti Kawasaki. The #61 was immediately a top ten contender and finished with 65 points to his name in 12th, before improving to sixth in 2021 with two rostrums to his name: both coming at the Circuito San Juan Villicum.
CLOSING IN ON A RACE WIN: the long wait ends in 2023
The 20-year-old made a massive step forward in 2022 as he started challenging for podiums on a regular basis, taking eight in total as he finished third in the standings behind Champion Dominique Aegerter and runner-up Lorenzo Baldassarri. His wait for a win continued until the third race of 2023 when he finally took his first WorldSSP victory at Mandalika in Race 1, but his season would unravel when WorldSSP returned to Europe. In Race 2 at Assen, Oncu was taken out by former teammate Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) at Turn 1 with the Turkish star sustaining a left forearm fracture. He returned to action at Magny-Cours and scored points in Race 2 with 14th, before taking 17th twice at Aragon. A week later in Portugal, Oncu put his ZX-6R on the third row in the Tissot Superpole session but was unable to hold that position in either race, dropping back to 14th and 15th but still scoring points.
2024 PLANS CONFIRMED: Oncu stays put
Despite the injury-hit campaign, the team and Oncu have kept faith in each other and will stick together for next year with the Turkish star hoping he’ll be back to full fitness by the time 2024 rolls around. It’s a long-standing partnership that’s delivered one win, 13 podiums and a top-three finish in the Championship. All parties involved will be looking to build on this throughout next season.
ONCU SAYS: “Next year, nothing will stop us from giving it everything as I go all out to pursue my goal”
Vowing to bounce back in 2024, Oncu said about his renewal: “I’m really pleased to continue with Kawasaki Puccetti Racing, a team that’s like a second family to me. Together with them, I’ve grown and achieved many of the goals we’ve set ourselves. This year we couldn’t obtain the desired results because of my injury, but next year nothing will stop us from giving it everything as I go all out to pursue my goal – to win the World Supersport title. I want to thank Manuel Puccetti and everyone at Kawasaki for the faith they continue to put in me. I’ll do all I can to repay them with the best possible results.”
THE TEAM VIEW: “We count on him being back in top shape next season; our goal will be to win the Championship.”
Team Manager Manuel Puccetti’s delight at keeping Oncu for 2024 was there for all to see. He said: “I’m pleased to continue developing Can Oncu as part of my team again in 2024. The plan that we made with his manager, Kenan Sofuoglu, is to help young riders mature and grow, just as we did in the past with Toprak Razgatlioglu, so that they can move up to World Superbike. Though still very young, Can has already shown that he has real talent and is a great professional. We were unable to score the expected results this year due to his injury, one he’s still recovering from, but we count on him being back in top shape next season, when our goal will be to win the Championship.”
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