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Recently crowned #worldssp champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) came within 0.006 seconds of winning what would have been his ninth victory of the year after 15-laps of hard work and high entertainment under the floodlights at #losail. Randy Krummenacher (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) experienced some set-up issues in his last ride of the season to finish fifth today, and eventually third in the overall championship fight.
Five-time Supersport World Champion Sofuoglu had already helped Kawasaki win their Manufacturers’ Championship recently, as well as wrapping up his own Riders’ Championship at the previous round. At #losail he had gone out to try and win another race before the season was completed.
Kenan experienced some lack of grip in the early part of the 15-lap race and he spent the first three circuits in sixth place. He climbed up the field as his experience told, led the race itself on lap 13 but was finally beaten across the line after he made a small error in the very last corner. This allowed Kyle Smith to pass him and take the narrowest of victories in a thrilling season finale.
Randy had to finish high enough up the order today to guarantee the second place he had been holding for most of 2016, but with set-up issues appearing from the start in the night race he was eventually fifth. In finishing third today Jules Cluzel eventually placed second overall, with Randy just two points behind. The final points scores were Sofuoglu 216, Cluzel 142 and Krummenacher 140.
Kenan, the most successful #worldssp rider of all time, added to his records at this race. He now has 38 career race wins, 78 podiums in all, 30 pole position starts, 94 front row starts of all kinds and 27 fastest laps. And above all, his five world championships - the most recent three while riding the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R.
In what was his first season as a #worldssp rider, after a career spent in the GP paddock, Randy scored a win in the first round, three podiums in all, seven front row starts and one pole position.
Kenan Sofuoglu, stated: “That was a good race and I enjoyed it. At the beginning of the race I had no rear grip. I do not know what the reason was, but after a few laps, when I saw that everybody’s tyres had dropped, I got more confidence and came back. I had to push very hard to catch Smith and on the last lap it was not easy. Just before the last corner I made a mistake due to chattering and then on the last corner I had to give way because I knew he was right by my side. I tried again on the straight but it did not happen, and by such a small margin. For me it was a very good race. I think everybody enjoyed it and it is also what the class needed. I can be happy with the result today because we are champions already, we took another podium and that is always a good thing.”
Randy Krummenacher, stated: “I was, from lap one, on the limit. I was fighting with the set-up of the bike, not the other riders. Every corner was like that. If I pushed more it was not working, going wide or spinning from the rear. Right now it is hard to accept that I have lost the possibility of second overall but today, more was not possible. Overall, I can be happy with third in the championship, as it is a kind of podium finish. This was the first season in this paddock for me so we missed out with some experience but it is difficult to understand why we struggled at this race.”
Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac #racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) scored a confident seventh place to go 11th in the final championship rankings. Ondrej Jezek (Team GOELEVEN Kawasaki) was 11th today and 14th overall for the season. Kyle Ryde (Schmidt #racing Kawasaki) placed 14th at #losail and Lachlan Epis (Response RE #racing Kawasaki) recorded his first point of the year in 15th place.
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