News 2017 Imola World Supersport: Kawasaki’s Sofuoglu Claims 40th WSS Win

2017 Imola World Supersport: Kawasaki’s Sofuoglu Claims 40th WSS Win

2017 Imola World Supersport Results

The reigning World Superbike Champion, Kawasaki Puccetti Racing’s Kenan Sofuoglu, had a troubling start to the 2017 WSS season.

The Turkish rider was forced to miss the season opening rounds at Phillip Island and Thailand due to injuries sustained in a training crash. He returned at Aragon, only to crash out of the race.

But Sofuoglu regrouped quickly at round four in Assen, claiming the win. He carried this momentum into Imola this past weekend, and claimed a second-straight WSS win, which was also his 40th-career World Supersport race.

2017 Imola World Supersport: Kawasaki’s Sofuoglu Claims 40th WSS Win
2017 Imola World Supersport Results: Kawasaki’s Kenan Sofuoglu

This was after Sofuoglu put his experience to test in an 11-lap race that was shortened due to two red flags. The Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja pilot claimed the win by 0.438 of a second ahead of GRT Yamaha YZF-R6 rider Lucac Mahias, and 1.573 seconds ahead of MV Agusta Reparto Corse’s PJ Jacobsen, who claimed the pole.

Sofuoglu’s 40th victory includes five WorldSSP titles, and 80 podiums in 119 race starts. He has taken 23 of those victories on Kawasaki machinery.

Kenan Sofuoglu says: “My 40th WorldSSP race win was not easy especially as the many red flags gave us a hard time. Finally for the race I had no new rear tires left to use. But I told myself ‘no excuses, no complaints’ just go for the win. I worked very hard to stay at the front with a good pace. I am especially happy for the team because it is an Italian round and therefore a home round for them. I am also very happy for Kawasaki because this was a good result.”

With his fourth-straight podium of the year, including the win at Aragon, Mahias leads the championship with 85 points, 27 ahead of Kallio Racing Yamaha’s Sheridan Morais and 30 ahead of Jacobsen, the only American in 2017 World Supersport. Sofuoglu is in fourth with 50 points.

Morais finished in fourth, just ahead of GEMAR Team Lorini Honda’s Kyle Smith, the South African rider Morais 7 seconds behind Sofuoglu. Rounding out the top 10 were  Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda), Christian Gamarino (BARDAHL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing), Loris Cresson (SC Racing-RPM84), Hikari Okubo (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda), and Alessandro Zaccone (MV Agusta Reparto Corse)

Alex Baldolini (Race Department ATK#25) retired with technical problems, with smoke pouring from his MV Agusta F3 675 machine. There were also crashes for Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing) and Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing).

2017 Imola World Supersport: Kawasaki’s Sofuoglu wins
2017 Imola World Supersport: Kawasaki’s Sofuoglu Claims 40th WSS Win

The WorldSSP race finally took place after WorldSBK Race 2 following an initial race start delay and two interrupted races earlier in the day – due to red flags after incidents had left debris and oil on track. Due to the rescheduling of the race it was shortened from an original 17-lap length to 11 circulations of the Imola track.

The 2017 World Superbike Championship now breaks for two weeks ahead of round six at Donington Park in the UK May 26-28.

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling.

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