Nothing beats the energy from the crowds when a rider dominates at his home track. This type of energy was present as Malaysian World Supersport rider Zulfami Khairuddin led round six Sunday at Sepang International Circuit.But on the final lap of the 14-lap race, Khairuddin was beat to the checkered flag by the Italian Ayrton Badovini on the Gemar Ballons – Team Lorini Honda CBR600RR. The battle went down to the wire, Badovini earning the victory by a mere 0.050 of a second ahead of Khairuddin’s Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R.
Earning the final podium position was GRT Racing Team MV Agusta’s Gino Rea, who finished 0.980 of a second behind Badovini, and was the final rider within a second of the winner.“We didn’t expect this but when we started the race in the wet conditions the feeling was good on the bike and I was thinking ‘I think we can do well..’,” Badovini says.“I was waiting for something in the last corner and then looking for a solution. He passed me in the corner and I saw he was going a bit long so I tried to close and it was an incredible fight. He’s a nice rider and it was a good race.”Due to heavy rain, Sepang World Supersport was delayed until the end of the second World SBK race, which was won by the American Nicky Hayden. When things got underway, Rea got to turn one first ahead of the reigning World Supersport Champion and pole sitter Kenan Sofuoglu.The Turk’s Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R teammate Randy Krummenacher lost ground in the first lap to cross the line tenth after Lap 1, with local WSS pilot Khairuddin went from fifth to second and began chasing down Rea.Sepang was recently repaved, further challening the riders with its wet conditions. As the track was drying out, though, Khairuddin passed Rea and was able to lead from lap two to lap 11, when Badovini took over.The Italian was able to remain in front, earning his first win of 2016 WSS, followed by Khairuddin and Rea.The American PJ Jacobsen aboard the Honda World Supersport CBR600RR earned fourth, beating out fellow Honda pilot (CIA Landlord Insurance) Kyle Smith and Sofuoglu. Rounding out the top 10 were MV Agusta Reparto Corse’sJules Cluzel, World SSP rookie and Sofuoglu’s teammat Krummenacher, Race Department’s MV Agusta F3’s Alex Baldolini and Bardahl Evan Bros. Honda’s Federico Caricasulo, another rookie.After six of 14 rounds, three-time World Supersport Champion Sofuoglu has 96 points, 20 ahead of Krummenacher. Cluzel is in third with 67 points.The 2016 World Supersport Championship now breaks for two weeks ahead of round seven at Donington Park.
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.