Sofuoglu Qualifies With A Final Front Row Flourish

2018-05-13 16:24
Five times FIM Supersport World Championship Kenan Sofuoglu put in a typically competitive performance in his final Superpole qualifying session before retirement, while scoring his 101st career front row starting place.

Despite not being at anything like full race fitness, and still recovering completely from long term pelvic injury, Sofuoglu surprised even himself to finish the Friday qualifying sessions in fifth place. He was even happier to have taken a front row starting place on his final competitive racing weekend.

Without the possibility of a pre-race preparation and training regime, Sofuoglu is unsure of how the race will develop for him on Sunday but he will be out to finish his peerless WorldSSP career with a strong performance.

For Okubo, Imola has delivered a relatively successful weekend so far as he lines up inside the top three rows for raceday, despite the treacherous and slippery conditions that affected Superpole 2.

The WorldSSP race on Sunday is scheduled for 17 laps of the 4.936km long Imola circuit, and is due to start at 11.30am local time.

Kenan Sofuoglu stated: “I did not expect this front row, so I am very happy. Since the Australian round I had no training, no time on the bike, and no conditioning for the race. To get into the front row is like a big gift for me in my final race. I am not here to win, or to show something, I am just here to say goodbye to everyone, to my championship and to my career. I do not care anything about tomorrow but it was nice to be on the front row today.”

Hikari Okubo, stated: “The first day was not so bad for lap times and I got into Superpole 2, but finally I crashed in the final chicane. Today, in Superpole, there were very difficult conditions because the rain came and it was quite slippy. I did not want to crash again so I could not push hard, not at 100%. But I qualified eighth, which is still my equal best qualifying position. I like this track so I hope I can make a good race on Sunday and try to get on the podium.”

ESS Rider, Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Against Cancer) went from Superpole 1 to Superpole 2 and then fifth overall in Superpole 2. He was the second fastest Kawasaki rider, after the amazing return of Sofuoglu to the front row.

Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki) qualified in 17th place today, with Wayne Tessels (Chromeburner Wayne’s Racingteam MTM) 25th, Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) 26th and Michael Canducci (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) 27th.

ESS rider Peter Sebestyen (SSP Hungary Team) placed 28th on the grid, and Javier Ezequiel Iturrioz (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) 31st.

Source: Kawasaki Racing Team

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