Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was already the most successful rider to have ever competed in the Supersport World Championship, but today he proved again why he is the best; setting the bar even higher by rewriting his own record today, the Turkish rider won his fifth World Supersport Championship at the Circuito de Jerez. Only his rookie teammate and main rival Randy Krummenacher could have prolonged the inevitable from happening today, but after the Swiss rider crashed out of the race on lap 5, Sofuoglu only needed to finish the race to seal the deal. But in typical style, simply finishing wasn’t enough. Sofuoglu beat all his challengers to win at Gaerne Spanish Round and was crowned Champion once again.
Born in the Turkish town of Akyazi (whose postcode is 54 and the number with which Sofuoglu has always raced), he began his professional career in 2003, missing out on the IDM Supersport title by just ten points. That same year he also made his debut in the World Supersport Championship, competing at the rounds in Valencia,Oschersleben and Magny-Cours.
His first two titles came with Hannspree Ten Kate Honda in 2007 and 2010 respectively. He achieved the crown again in 2012, that time with Lorenzini Kawasaki. During this phase, Sofuoglu also competed in the Moto2 World Championship in 2010 and 2011. In the second of the two years, he finished on the podium at Assen, beaten only by future MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez.
Sofuoglu’s title defence story of 2016 got off to a rocky start, after he crashed out of the first race at Phillip Island to walk away with zero points, while Krummenacher cemented his position as the Turk’s most dangerous rival. The Swiss led the overall standings for the first four rounds, but lost his advantage in Imola, where Sofuoglu scored his second victory of the year following his first win in Aragon. His road to triumph seemed set from then, adding another three consecutive victories to his name at Donington, Misano and then at Lausitzring after the summer break.
Rather than slowing down during the summer break, Sofuoglu only sped up! The Turkish national idol used the break to attempt to beat the World Land Speed Record on a motorcycle. He achieved this milestone riding a Kawasaki Ninja H2R, reaching 400 km/h on the new Osmangazi Bridge built near Istanbul.
Aside from winning championships and breaking world records, Kenan Sofuoglu has a philanthropical side too. The 32-year-old is very involved in helping nurture young Turkish talent to help catapult their careers in different World Championships. Toprak Razgatlioglu is a stellar example of Sofuoglu’s talent project, with the young rider also racing for Kawasaki Puccetti Racing in the STK1000 category.
Sofuoglu’s first chance at sealing the 2016 WorldSSP Championship came two weeks ago at Magny-Cours. He was blisteringly fast all weekend and everything seemed set for the champion to celebrate for a fifth time, but an uncharacteristic fall with eight laps to go only prolonged what has happened today. Incredibly, this season has seen Sofuoglu Incredibly, this season has seen Sofuoglu take 38 race victories and 77 podiums. He is the only rider this season to have won more than one race and has secured his remarkable fifth Supersport World Championship, still with a round to go. Kenan Sofuoglu’s grit and determination demonstrate the true qualities of a champion who is always striving for more. He has an all or nothing attitude, which is evident in his riding style and never gives up until he reaches victory- a quality seen time and time again throughout this magical 2016 season.
2017 will see the Champion compete in World Supersport once again with Kawasaki Puccetti Racing as he attempts to trump his own achievement and defend his title again.
WorldSSP Race Gaerne Spanish Round:
N.Tuuli Yamaha (+2.728)
K.Smith Honda (+3.398)
Championship Standings after the Gaerne Spanish Round:
Kenan Sofuoglu Kawasaki Puccetti Racing (196 points)
Randy Krummenacher Kawasaki Puccetti Racing (129 points)
Jules Cluzel MV Agusta Reparto Corse (126 points)