Kenan Sofuoglu is to switch teams for the remainder of the 2014 World Supersport season. From Jerez, Sofuoglu will ride the Kawasaki ZX-6R for the San Carlo Puccetti Racing team, leaving the Mahi Racing Team India squad.
The move is a result of financial problems for the Mahi Racing team. By switching to the Puccetti team, Sofuoglu and Kawasaki were assured that the Turkish World Supersport champion could continue to compete for the remainder of the season. Sofuoglu is currently fourth in the World Supersport championship, but lost any hope of a fourth World Supersport title when the South African round was canceled, as he trails championship leader Michael van der Mark by 77 points.
Below is the press release from Kawasaki:
Kenan Sofuoglu To Join San Carlo Puccetti Racing At Jerez
Three-time FIM Supersport World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu will compete on a Ninja ZX-6R inside the San Carlo Puccetti Racing set-up at the next round of the championship, after an amicable parting with his previous Mahi Racing Team India squad.
Sofuoglu, a superstar in his native Turkey and WSS champion for Kawasaki in 2012, was victorious at the Motorland Aragon round in April and has claimed two further podiums since then. He is currently fourth in the championship after his most recent top three finish at Portimao in July.
No Points Compensation For Loss Of South African World Superbike Round - Three Rounds Left In 2014 Championship
The loss of the South African round of World Superbikes, when the safety improvements to the Welkom circuit could not be completed in time for homologation, meant that the WSBK calendar had lost two rounds from its 2014 calendar, with both South Africa and the Moscow Raceway event having been scrapped. Two rounds meant the loss of two World Supersport races and four World Superbike races, a total of 50 points for WSS and 100 points for WSBK.
The loss of those points left both championships much closer to being decided. Tom Sykes leads the World Superbike championship by 44 points with 150 points stil at stake, while Michael van der Mark is even closer to the World Supersport championship, leading Jules Cluzel by 53 points with just 75 points left. The teams, but most especially the riders, felt that they had had a chance to try to reopen the championship races taken away from them.
Dorna, the teams, the manufacturers and the FIM tried to find a solution to this quandary. Various proposals were made, including adding an extra round at another track, adding extra races on the existing three weekends left, and scoring double points at one of the last rounds. Finding a track willing and able to host a round of World Superbikes at very late notice was a non-runner from the start, leaving only an extra race or extra points.
The 2014 World Superbike calendar has been updated once again. The South African round of WSBK has been canceled, after the Phakisa Freeway track failed homologation. Work was being carried out on the circuit to allow it to meet requirements, but the work will not be finished on time. Dorna and the FIM are looking at finding a replacement for the dropped South African round, but at such short notice, and with attendance at WSBK events being disappointing, that will be difficult.
While the South African round was canceled, the Qatar race was confirmed. The racing at Qatar is to be held at night under the floodlights, just as MotoGP is. As this is also the last round of the season, the traditional awards ceremony will also be held in Qatar, though it will be held on the Monday after the race, rather than very late at night.
The cancellation of the South African round does not have direct consequences for the World Superbike championship chase, but it could have an effect for World Supersport. With just three rounds to go now, Pata Honda rider Michael van der Mark has a 53-point lead. That means that the Dutchman needs to score just 2 more points than Jules Cluzel, the man in second place, to clinch the title.
Below is the official press release from the FIM and Dorna on the 2014 World Superbike calendar:
Press releases from the series organizers, World Superbike and World Supersport teams after Sunday's races at Portimao:
Sykes pulls away and wins race 1 to extend points lead
Portimao (Portugal), Sunday 6 July 2014 - An enthralling 20 lap race 1 saw Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) emerge victorious at a cloudy and overcast Portimao to claim his 7th win of the season and the 21st of his WSBK career.
At the start it was Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea that took the holeshot, leading for the opening three laps before Sykes and Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) overtook him into turn one at the start of lap four.
By half distance the constant swapping of positions had allowed reigning champion Sykes to stretch his lead to 3 seconds, before seconds later the white flag was waved to indicate that rain was beginning to fall.
Behind the leader five riders that included Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team), Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team), and Sylvain Guintoli, Leon Haslam on the second of the Pata Honda’s slowly began to close the gap, giving the fans a six rider group battling for the podium places.
Leon Haslam collided with Chaz Davies, both riders able to remount with Davies later retiring. Haslam eventually finished 11th.
The weather continued to look threatening for the start of the World Supersport race.
Qualifying was done under the same warm and windy conditions as World Superbike.
Michael van der Mark is quickest ahead of Kenan Sofuoglu and Jules Cluzel. Sofuoglu fell with over ten minutes remaining in the session and was unable to restart.
Michael van der Mark was quickest in the second session, ahead of Kenan Sofuoglu and Jack Kennedy, but they were not as quick as this morning's times.
Kenan Sofuoglu and Michael van der Mark go quickest, separated by under a tenth of a second at the end of the session, with Jules Cluzel third quickest.
Press release previews from the World Superbike and World Supersport ahead of this weekend's Portuguese round of WSBK:
World Superbike at Misano, the seventh round of thirteen, offered a chance for Ducati to finally get a win on the Panigale, and a fairy tale result in Italy would round out the excellent work they did in qualifying.
Press releases from the series organizer and the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after Sunday's races at Misano:
Nineteen laps of World Supersport racing under a cooler 26º sun.