Five-time world champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) has yet to score a point this year, having missed two rounds with injury and then being taken out at the previous round in Motorland Aragon, but he enters Sunday’s Assen WorldSSP race with a new track best under his belt.
Sofuoglu won his 31st Superpole contest in the 600cc class with a 1’37.805 lap, which was fully 0.674 seconds faster than the best of his rivals – Patrick Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) could manage.
“I am very, very happy with that,” said Sofuoglu. “Yesterday in qualifying I spent all my time working for race simulations and long runs on the track. For Superpole I thought I could do a 1’37 and a track record. When we took to the track in Superpole 2 we put in a soft tyre and set a new track record. I am happy for this and for the pole win because the season started in a very difficult way for me. Now it is coming good – but most important is tomorrow and to try and get 25 points for winning the race.”EndFragment
Behind Jacobsen young Italian rider Michael Canducci (3570 Puccetti Racing FMI Kawasaki) scored third place for the novelty of a front row start.
Championship leader Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) was fourth in a tightly packed second group of qualifiers behind Sofuoglu’s astounding pace.
Most of the championship big guns were firing well on Saturday, as Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) went fifth and Sheridan Morais (Kallio Race System Yamaha) was sixth.
British rider Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing Triumph) was just under a second from Sofuoglu in seventh place, his fellow Briton Kyle Smith (GEMAR Balloons – Team Lorini Honda) eighth and Thailand race winner Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) ninth. The top ten was completed by another British rider – Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing).
Gino Rea (Team GO ELEVEN Kawasaki) was 12th, with Aussie riders Lachlan Epis (Response RE Racing Kawasaki) and Anthony West (West Racing EAB Yamaha) 25th and 26th respectively.
By Gordon Ritchie