Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) added another new all-time statistic to his glittering WorldSSP career with an unprecedented 40th race win – his second race victory in succession in 2017. Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) suffered some misfortune today and fell in his attempt to score championship points.
The WorldSSP race at Imola was delayed to start, then red flagged twice and subsequently postponed until after the Sunday WorldSBK race had been completed.
The fifth race of the year was also shortened to 11-laps but for Sofuoglu none of these potential problems finally mattered in a race that he won by just under half a second from championship leader Lucas Mahias.
Kenan’s 40th race victory, over a career that has included five WorldSSP championships, was also his 80th podium placing from a total of 119 race starts. Kenan has taken 23 of his race wins on a Kawasaki.
Having fallen heavily earlier in the weekend teenager Ryde was to crash on the first lap of the final restart. Michael Canducci (3570 Puccetti Racing FMI Kawasaki) finished in the points at his home round, in 14th place. In the championship Ryde is seventh overall, Canducci 11th.
The championship fight now goes to the sixth round of the season, at Kyle’s home round of Donington Park, with raceday on Sunday 28th May.
Kenan Sofuoglu, stated: “My fortieth WorldSSP race win was not easy especially as the many red flags gave us a hard time. Finally for the race I had no new rear tyres left to use. But I told myself ‘no excuses, no complaints’ just go for the win. I worked very hard to stay at the front with a good pace. I am especially happy for the team because it is an Italian round and therefore a home round for them. I am also very happy for Kawasaki because this was a good result.”
Kyle Ryde, stated: “Not our best day because we got no points but we had a more positive day on Saturday. Then I managed to get into Superpole 2 straight away, but unfortunately we had three restarts today which meant I had to choose the less favoured tyre option. I thought it would be OK for ten or eleven laps but even on the first lap the track temperature was too hot to use this tyre. I then had a small crash, with no injuries. Now I have to go to Donington – and try to beat Kenan!”
One place behind Canducci, Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) was 15th today, with ESS rider Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Jenik Against Cancer Kawasaki) 17th and Lachlan Epis (Response RE Racing Kawasaki) 19th. Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) placed 21st but Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) and Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) did not score.