Turkish hero, Kenan Sofuoglu, won the WorldSSP race at Jerez and was crowned the 2016 FIM Supersport World Champion just five laps into Sunday’s battle at Jerez, after his Kawasaki Puccetti Racing Teammate Randy Krummenacher crashed out of contention for the title. Thirty-two year old Sofuoglu is the only rider in history to win the WorldSSP Championship five times, with back-to-back titles over the 2015 and 2016 seasons, and earlier title victories in 2007, 2010 and 2012.
His fifth title win makes him the most successful WorldSSP rider in history.
Sofuoglu had to fight hard for the victory as Kallio Racing Team’s Niki Tuuli and CIA Landlord Insurance Honda’s Kyle Smith tried everything they could to beat the Kawasaki Rider at his own game. But experience won out and the duo were unable to match his incredible pace. Tuuli finished second, Smith came home in third and Honda World Supersport Racing Team’s PJ Jacobsen finished in fourth after catching the podium finishers in the final laps.
Sofuoglu had the holeshot and led from the first corner, focused only on winning his fifth title. Krummenacher who was running in second, attacked at every opportunity to get in front of Sofuoglu. The first few laps saw the lead switch between the two Kawasakis before Krummenacher became undone at turn one and slid out on lap five. He wasn’t able to continue and officially retired from the race on lap nine, with Sofuoglu automatically being declared champion of WorldSSP.
Further down the order FIM Europe Supersport Cup leader Axel Bassani (San Carlo Team Italia) had a good start and was fighting for sixth position with Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Ayrton Badovini (GEMAR Balloons – Team Lorini). The young Italian was able to hold off his world supersport challengers and was able to finish in fifth, after Federico Caricasulo (BARDHAL Evan Bros. Honda Racing) crashed out in the final laps. By being the first ESS rider home, Bassani won the FIM Europe Supersport Cup.
Cluzel finished in sixth ahead of second-placed ESS rider Illia Mykhalchyk (DS Junior Team), with Badovini coming home in eighth. Christoffer Bergman (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) finished in ninth with Lorenzo Zannetti (GRT Racing) rounding out the top ten.
Third-placed ESS rider to finish was Alessandro Zaccone (San Carlo Team Italia) who placed 11th in the race overall, ahead of Xavier Pinsach (GEMAR Balloons –Team Lorini) in 12th. Hikari Okubo (CIA Landlord insurance Honda) finished in P13 with Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing) in 14th and Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) picking up a point in P15.
Thanks to Sofuoglu’s win, Kawasaki were named Manufacturers’ Champions of the WorldSSP category, joining their WorldSBK counterparts who won the award on Saturday at Jerez.
Though the championship has been decided, WorldSSP isn’t over just yet. The field now heads to Qatar for the final round of the 2016 season on the 28th to 30th of October.
WorldSSP Race Results: 1. Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 2. Niki Tuuli (Yamaha) 3. Kyle Smith (Honda)
Australians: 23. Lachlan Epis – Kawasaki
1. Kenan Sofuoglu – 192 points (Kawasaki) to win the 2016 WorldSSP world championship 2. Randy Krummenacher – 129 points (Kawasaki) 3. Jules Cluzel – 126 points (MV Agusta)