Kenan Sofuoglu knows that if he can maintain his remarkable 100-percent podium record for the 2010 World Supersport season, the title will be his after Sunday’s final race at Magny-Cours in France, which hosts Round 13 of the World Superbike Championship.
The Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider finished second in last Sunday’s penultimate round at Imola in Italy, despite being skittled off his CBR600RR by his only championship rival Eugene Laverty, who finished third. Such was the pair’s pace that they had built up a sufficient gap to give them time to remount their machines and still finish on the podium.
The main beneficiary of the last corner clash was Sofuoglu’s Hannspree Ten Kate Honda teammate, Michele Pirro, who began the last lap at Imola in fourth place. The 24-year-old Italian cruised to his first ever World Supersport victory in his first year with the team.
However, it is on the two championship protagonists that all eyes will be focused in Sunday’s encounter , as Sofuoglu’s aims to win his second and the team’s eighth World Supersport crown at the 4.411-km Magny-Cours circuit in central France.
Kenan Sofuoglu says: “I know that what happened in Imola was really a racing incident and Sunday was an emotional day. Eugene wanted to win as much as I did and sometimes these things happen. It’s been an amazing season between him and me and it’s a shame that Joan Lascorz wasn’t able to compete in the last few races, otherwise I think it would still be a three-way battle.”
“Of course I am happy that we can go into the last race in Magny-Cours with a 16 point advantage. I know what results are needed on Sunday, but we must approach it like any other race and aim for a win or podium because sometimes it is difficult to change your approach to get a specific result. Anyway, it has been a very good season so far and the team has worked really hard to give me a bike that has put me in this position. We must all work in the same way until Sunday.
Michele Pirro says: “Even though it was a surprise, the win in Imola was very special for me. To stand on the top of the podium for the first time at my home race in Italy with all the fans was incredible and a moment that I will never forget.”
“But will also not forget that the team is concentrating on winning another world championship and I will do what I can to help them. Magny-Cours is a good circuit and although I qualified OK, I was only tenth in the race last year. It would be very good to finish this season again on the podium and, I hope to be there with Kenan.”
Ronald ten Kate (team manager)says: “The World Supersport championship is coming to its climax at the final round – something that for a long time we’ve all believed would happen and something that I’m sure all the fans would have hoped for. We will treat it as any other race though, because sometimes the more carefully you plan a race, the less chance there is of it going to plan!”
“However, we as a team and Kenan as a rider have been in this position before, so we are prepared and ready to go. Although Michele’s victory at Imola was ‘gifted’ to him, it was a good reward for his hard work throughout the season. He has been unlucky at times, too, so he was probably overdue a slice of good fortune. I hope his win marks the start of many more to follow.”