Kenan Sofuoglu – 2015 WSS Champion
For the fourth time in his career, Kenan Sofuoglu has claimed the FIM Supersport World title. The 31-year-old Turkish rider earned the title one round early Sunday during a shortened 11-lap Magny-Cours World Supersport race. The race was red flagged after Kevin Manfredi’s CIA Landlords Insurance Honda CBR600RR blew up, spewing oil on the track surface.
When the race restarted, Kenan fought with 2015 Supersport World Champion rival PJ Jacobsen (Core Motorsport Thailand), and the two swapped the lead. But Sofuoglu, who races the #54 Kawasaki ZX-6R (54 is same postal code as his hometown of Akyazi), knew second was good enough to secure the title. He rode smartly and earned the 68th podium of his WSS career, finishing second behind the American Jacobsen.
“We came here to get the title not to win the race. That was most important for us. Everybody knows that the track conditions were very difficult. In the first race it was easy to go away out in front. In the second race it was different and I had a different tire, but I had one goal – to go very fast at the beginning of the race to stay with Jacobsen only, take second place and get the title. When we had a two second gap to the rider behind I just thought I had to stay on my bike, not crash and get the title. Our plan worked well,” Kenan Sofuoglu says.
“I am happy because I did not make any mistakes and the team did not make any mistakes. I think everybody did a great job. I have to say a big thanks to the Puccetti Racing team, they have done an incredible job and of course Kawasaki helped us a lot to win this title. In the end we got the championship.”
Sofuoglu began racing in 2003 in the IDM Supersport, missing the title that year by a mere 10 points. He also made his debut appearance in World Supersport, and in 2006 earned his first WSS win at Assen.
The ZX-6R rider’s first two titles arrives on Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR machinery, Kenan Sofuoglu earning the title in 2007 and 2010. His next title arrived in 2012 with Lorenzini Kawasaki. During 2010 and 2011, he also competed in Moto2, beaten only by two-time MotoGP title holder Marc Marquez.
In 2015, Sofuoglu dealt with much drama, including a difficult start to the season with sixth place at Phillip Island. But the biggest challenge arrived before Imola Supersport in May. At only seven weeks old, Sofuoglu’s son Hamza was fighting for his life in a Turkish hospital. Sofuoglu rode on, though, and won that Imola round before heading back home to be with his son, who eventually recovered.
Throughout his career, Sofuoglu has earned 32 race wins in 103 starts. He has finished on the podium 68 times, and earned 22 pole positions, 81 front row starts and 25 fastest laps. He was already the only rider to have taken three WSS titles, and now extends that record.