World Supersport News: "Sofuoglu penalty not enough"

PTR's Simon Buckmaster is the first to comment on Kenan Sofuoglu's “outright dangerous” actions against Fabien Foret during round 7 of the World Supersport championship. Sofuoglu, who is currently undergoing knee surgery, appeared to deliberately charge into Foret down the fast back straight at Aragon.

The text of the Press Release follows:


Sofuoglu penalty not enough

WE all saw the Kenan Sofuoglu incident last weekend at Aragon that was clearly no accident as he simply looked across and rode into Fabien Foret.

The race direction then put the incident under investigation and imposed a drop three places penalty. Now the rules say a rider has five-laps to take a penalty and with only four-laps left by the time the penalty was imposed Kenan simply did not have to take it. Strictly speaking under the rules he completed the race before his last opportunity to drop back. He was lucky here as he clearly had no intention of doing so, a point shown by him trying to go into the winner enclosure at the end of the race.

He even had the cheek to say he thought he was the fair winner of the race!!! Remember, he ignored a penalty for jumping the chicanes at Imola and got black-flagged. The punishment does not fit the crime.

In my opinion the penalty was simply nowhere near harsh enough for such an outright dangerous move. It is not the first time with Kenan either. Off the top of my head when he came back to Supersport the first time he kicked out at Josh Hayes at Portimao (Josh was then riding for us) for having the cheek to overtake him.
He also rode into Eugene Laverty at Salt Lake City on the final lap to get the win. Both these incidents went without penalty. He continued in his ways in Moto 2 at Barcelona when he clashed with Julian Simon causing injury to him.

Now I know some Kenan fans may say Eugene crashed and took him out at Imola at the end of 2012 on the last lap, this is true but Eugene was going for a fair overtake not just riding into competitors with no regard for their safety.

At Aragon Kenan should have been instantly black-flagged or received a race ban for his actions. I know he was demoted to 5th anyway after being allowed to take the flag but is this really enough of a deterrent for a rider who for some reason just loses his head and takes it out on his competitors. It's not a one-off incident by Kenan regardless of who the rider is, that move was dangerous and deserved a much harder penalty.

This by the way is not just a rant at Kenan who I will say is a great rider who's riding skills In the Supersport class I respect; or a cheap shot to try and get our biggest competitor banned. I love racing and want to see it as safe as possible and I feel this penalty just did not send out the right signals for Kenan and indeed all the other riders.

He was not the only rider who got off lightly at the weekend either. Look at what Bautista did at Assen Moto GP. Rushes down the inside of turn one with no chance to stop and crashes into a totally unaware Jorge Lorenzo.

His penalty to start from the back of the grid at the next race is a joke. In reality he is starting from 12th as he will very quickly move past the CRT bikes. The innocent Lorenzo on the other hand has lost his 25-point lead in the championship and an engine that could affect the rest of his season. Marquez got away with an outrageous clash at Philip Island last year with in effect the same penalty after crashing into another rider on the slowing down lap. Ok I know it was a minute penalty on his qualifying time but let's face it that was just starting from the back of the grid.

I understand it is difficult for race direction and someone will have a problem with whatever they decide but I believe the penalties have to be enough to make the riders think very hard before getting involved in things like this again. In all cases of the riders above they have done it more than once.

We see it in other sports as well. I am a big football fan and if a player diving seeking a penalty was a red card offence they would not do it. As it is a yellow card it is well worth the risk. I understand Kenan has been told any more behaviour like this will not be tolerated. Let's hope he listens this time and we only have his riding skill to comment on in the future.

Also I would hate to see another rider commit a lesser offence, which lets face, it would almost have to be punished to make an example for Kenan's unsporting and dangerous behaviour.

Come on Kenan at least have the courage and come out and say sorry for what you did, you are a great rider who can challenge for the title fairly and do not need to do things like this.

Can I finish by congratulating Sam on another great victory and having the maturity to not get involved with Kenan knowing he was the true winner of the race. Well done Ronan as well probably his best ride of the year for 6th. Jules slid off but he will be in contention at Brno as he always is. Mathew has no luck at all and after his bike did not get off the line was hit by another rider; and Martin was unable to start after a practice crash.

Here's to great results for all out riders at Brno and we will continue to take the fight to Kenan in a fair and sporting manor.

Cheers

Simon

Round Number: 
7
2012

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Comments

I agree with Simon here. We just can not tolerate behaviour like this. Even if Kenan was provoked by Fabien (we all know he can do that) we should never, never allow this to happen on racetracks. Not because they were doing 250 km/h and it might be dangerous, but because we are not in football (soccer if you want), not in boxing, not in motorcross and not in other sports were people don't respect each other. I mean, what's next? Rossi-fans beating up Lorenzo-fans? Riots after each race? Police guarding all racetrailers?

Headbutt photo: http://oliepeil.nl/images/stories/2012/07_juli_2012/Sofuoglu-kopstoot-Fo...

Whatever the reason was, it is unacceptable and ugly behavior which surely doesn't go along with any racer let alone a double world champion.

But then again, I'm really wondering what was the reason that made him did what he did. Is there any clue on that?

His nose was itchy and he just needed to borrow Foret's shoulder for a brief moment to help scratch it.

Lorenzo learned from that years back and it transformed him into the complete racer. Kenan needs to take some on track 'attitude' lessons from his current team mate.

Stuffing someone and pushing them off track at 35 MPH is one thing to turn into someone at 175 is something completely different. A 1 Race ban should have been imposed if not a 3 race ban. Making a mistake is one thing, but this was no mistake. This was deliberate and should be handled as strongly as the rules will allow. Also, showing no remorse for what he did the penalty imposed will have little to no effect on his riding style and his respect(or lack there of) for his fellow riders safety. His attitude is one that needs to be dealt with harshly. IMHO, A 3 race suspension should be imposed to ruin his championship hopes as he could as well ruined another racers life or worse.

Aggressive riding is what SS and Moto2 are all about. You have to be when machinery is so closely matched. I don't want to see that curbed by a rule but this behavior from a repet ofender needs to be dealt with. Shame on the FIM and RD for not imposing a harsher penalty, especially when he thought he had done nothing wrong.

Indeed the drop to fifth he got was way too mild for this lunatic action. Even more so since he was - like Simon concluded - clearly by no means planning to take his thee-place drop during the race, so he should have been disqualified. Which should have been done immediately after that move anyway.
I do not agree with Simon in his comparison with Bautista and others, because none of them intentionally rammed into someone else. Riding errors yes, and they were at fault, but those things can happen in racing.

With Sofuoglu it is different. Every now and then some fuses in his head blow and he goes bezerk. I remember that crazy move on Josh Hayes on Portimao that Simon mentioned. Same thing, Hayes had the nerve to overtake him, which is outrageous of course.
And I also remember his furious actions during the race when he could not win at the Lausitzring a few years back. He already had the title, but still smashed the windscreen and fuel tank of his Honda because he was second.

Riding against Sofuoglu is getting really dangerous. A couple of races ban would not be out of place.

The guy is an absolute nut job! I love his aggressive style, but I think he goes a bit too far at times. Pull a move on him and he blows up.

When Kenan gets angry, he puts the hammer down and turns some very fast laps.

This move reminded me of some American footballers that slap each other or themselves in the face and head to get 'pumped up' for the game. Stupid, but hey, whatever works.

Seems like Kenan was trying to get himself mad/pumped up to make a run for the lead.

I am disappointed that he was not black flagged and DQ'd!

He seems like a loose canon. He needs the threat of a full season ban hanging over his head. His riding has arguably damaged Julian Simon's career. Who's next?

I was just re-watching Bautista punt Lorenzo off track at Mugello in 2007 and it makes me miss the 250s so much. And that was back when Lorenzo was no saint himself.

The riders earn an international race license and just like driving on the road it should be possible that it could be revoked.

Kato, Tomizawa and Simoncelli didn't lose their lives by a dangerous action other than racing. And even the SBK injuries to Laconi and Lascorz were riders on their own. It's a dangerous sport.

I am just disgusted. I used to be a fan of Sofuoglu. No more. He could SO easily have killed someone.

As for the "penalty", that isn't even funny enough to be a bad joke. Sickening. Just bloody DISGUSTING.

And his giving the finger (or two fingers, depending on your country of residence) to the rules and powers that (should) be, by having the BALLS to go to parc ferme...well...that's the kinda thing that merits a good ol' Texas-sized ass kicking.

Stupidity like this wasn't funny when Biaggi did a similar thing to Rossi ten years ago, and it's a hell of a lot less so now.

I have no intention defending Kenan, and I do agree that he should have been black-flagged immediately - but maybe he simply didn't know anything about the penalty at that point? Even the commentators on Eurosport weren't sure if he had to drop the three places immediately, or if he was to be demoted by three places. Maybe his team simply didn't signal him. Mind you, dropping back three places at the time the penalty was imposed would have allowed Kenan to finish higher up than he did now, and maybe even theoretically still win.
I obviously also don't know what could have provoked his outrageous action, but I saw Fabien steer a little bit to the left prior to the incident, towards where Kenan was riding. Maybe Kenan felt that Fabian was trying to push him to the other side of the track, and wanted to tell him extremely drastically to stay out of his space. Also the way he gestured with his head prior to running into Fabian could be interpreted as "get away from me and leave me my space".
Whatever the reason, he should have been made to really feel that his action was totally unacceptable, the penalty was an ansolute joke.

Sofuoglu knew about the penalty. It was held out on a huge board at the start of the straight. Sam Lowes saw it (and was told P1 by his pit board) so you can be certain Sofuoglu saw it. 

As for a black flag, that would be irreversable through appeal, unlike a place penalty. If Kenan were to show his action weren't intentional, and he was black-flagged, he would never be able to get the places back. That's why black flags are rare.

Sofuoglu best serves his case through silence, so don't expect too much clarity on what happened. We're all just guessing what he was thinking.

My thoughts? He's indignant enough that, if he does get a ban, he'll say he's taking time off for his knee. Should he get a ban? If his actions were deliberate, and if Foret lodges a complaint, sure.

Is it just me or does it feel like race direction in both WSB and GP are making it up as they go along? You would think that there were set penalties for types of action. Then we would be arguing about what type of action a specific event was. Instead we seem to have a different penalty each time taken from a broad range. So not only are we arguing about how severe the action was but also what the penalty should be.

And it gets worse because when this happens during a race the teams then don't have any standard way of informing the rider. How are you supposed to tell a rider to go back 3 places when this is the first time anyone's imposed that penalty?

And yes, Sofuoglu should be given a one race ban. Pour encourager les autres as much as to try and wake him up and change his ways.

Didn't the data after the Sofuoglu / Simon accident in Catalunya prove that Simon braked early for the corner and Sofuoglu braked at the same point as he had each lap?

I'm pretty sure that was the case, for someone as influencial as Buckmaster to use the accident against Sofuoglu if it was not his fault is not on.

Agree the penalty was not enough though - mindless manouver of which there is no place for on a racetrack.

You are 100% right. For all of his skills, (on a Supersport, sucked on s Superbike) he is completely reckless and dangerous. How can you respect a guy that rides like that? What an asshole!