The seventh round of the WorldSSP championship will see Kawasaki Puccetti Racing riders Hikari Okubo and Sheridan Morais aim for their best finishes of the season at a returning circuit to the WorldSSP calendar.
Brno is a known quantity for Morais, but this will be Okubo’s first taste of the modern classic Automotodrom Brno track, surrounded by forests and located near the old closed roads circuit that hosted the Czech Brand Prix for decades.
After experiencing the highs of a best ever qualifying at the previous round but the lows of a crash in the Donington park race, Okubo is in determined mood approaching Brno. He understands the importance of starting from a strong grid position and his primary focus will be on a positive Superpole showing.
Morais will make his fourth start of the season this weekend, having substituted for the recently retired Kenan Sofuoglu in the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing Team. He feels that the combination of Brno’s layout and his previous experience there should help him achieve his aim of a season-best race finish on Sunday the 10th of June.
In the current championship standings Morais is 15th and Okubo 19th after the mid point of the 2018 season.
The WorldSSP riders will not race at the Laguna Seca WorldSBK round but return to action at Misano, in Italy, between the 6th and the 8th of July.
Hikari Okubo, stated: “In the recent UK round I crashed but I got my best grid position. That was important and I improved a lot in qualifying. The race was not so good but the feeling with team and my bike is coming good. I never rode on the Brno track before so I don’t know the format, but I think I can do good work this weekend. My target is a top five finish. It’s not easy but I think I can do it.”
Sheridan Morais stated: “Brno is an amazing circuit and I am looking forward to going back there to race for the first time since 2012. My flu is gone at last and I’ve finally been training and getting strong for the WorldSSP challenge. I also believe that the smooth and flowing nature of this circuit will be good for my Kawasaki and I.”
Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki) found the physical challenge of Donington difficult to deal with last time out, after recent forearm surgery, but he is getting stronger each weekend. A veteran of many races at Brno in both the MotoGP and WorldSBK paddocks, he scored a WorldSSP second place in the 2009 season. ‘Ant’ is the highest placed Kawasaki rider in the current championship standings, in ninth place.
Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Against Cancer) sits 14th overall and is top of the ESS standings, designed for riders who only compete in the European-based rounds of the championship.
Michael Canducci (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) is ranked 24th at the mid-season point, one place ahead of Wayne Tessels (Chromeburner Wayne’s Racingteam MTM).
Javier Ezequiel Iturrioz (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) continues his relatively new partnership in the Italian-based GoEleven team, while Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) and Peter Sebestyen (SSP Hungary Team) also look for their first points of the 2018 season.