Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) took part in his first race of 2018 as a stand in for the injured Kenan Sofuoglu and secured a positive seventh place finish, having been fifth until three laps from the end of the 16-lap race. Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was heading for a top ten placing today but a technical issues caused him to retire.
Having not ridden competitively since November of 2017 Sheridan Morais was unsure of how he would finish in today’s race – making his eventual seventh place a real reward for all his and his team’s efforts. He had also qualified seventh in Superpole on Saturday.
Sheridan made a good start to the race and was sixth on lap one, fifth on lap eight, and hanging onto the back of the leading pack around the long and varied 5.077km circuit in northern Spain.
He only dropped his best pace near the end and was finally passed by two riders, ending up seventh and scoring nine points as a result. He will be back in action for the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team at the next round, next week, at Assen.
New team regular rider Okubo was in a strong seventh place on track after eight laps, but a loss of power at low revs forced Okubo to slow his pace. It eventually became an issue that caused Hikari to pull over and retire from what was a promising race, riding not far behind the leading runners.
Now all the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team staff will head for the fourth round of the year, to be held at Assen in the Netherlands next weekend. Raceday will be Sunday 22nd April.
Sheridan Morais, stated: “It was surprisingly good today especially for the first half of the race. I was managing to stay at the front, stay competitive, and I felt like we have worked well all weekend. The bike was really strong entering the turns. I was losing a little bit on the exits, and that is something we will work on for Assen. The thing that let me down was actually mental fitness. Towards the end of the race I ran off track three times. I was out-braking myself and making silly mistakes but I expected worse, because I have not raced for such a long time. Qatar at the end of last year was my most recent race. Fifth was in the bag for us at one stage but we still got seventh, so it wasn’t bad, really.”
Hikari Okubo, stated: “I was feeling good but in the first lap I made a little mistake and hit another rider. But I kept ninth position in the early laps. I could watch the race in the top group so I tried hard to join, and I had a little bit of a fight with Kyle Smith. Then I had a strange feeling after five laps with my bike and no power at low RPM. I tried to change my riding style to keep a constant lap time but in the end it destroyed my front tyre, and some chattering started. I was sliding a lot and then there was a drop in power, so I stopped. It was not a happy result but the lap time was not so bad in the beginning. I think my position to fight is about sixth to ninth.”
Privateer Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki) rode hard for ninth place with ESS competitor Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Against Cancer) 1.5 seconds behind, and completing the top ten.
Michael Canducci (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) secured 14th place and his fellow regular rider Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 17th at his home round.
Peter Sebestyen (SSP Hungary Team) placed 21st, Wayne Tessels (Chromeburner Wayne’s Racingteam MTM) in his wheel tracks in 22nd and Lachlan Epis (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) ended up 24th and the final finisher.