Okubo Falls But Finishes As Wildcard Scores Strongly2018-03-25 07:15
Hot conditions arrived in force on Sunday at the Chang International Circuit, with the air temperature recorded at 34°C. I made for a hard race for Okubo and his fellow Kawasaki riders.
Getting into sixth place on lap one, Okubo gradually went back to ninth place before a last corner fall stopped his chance of scoring points. His determination to restart took him to an eventual 19th place.
Replacing injured regular rider Kenan Sofuoglu this weekend, Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) finished 16th in the 17-lap race. He missed out on a points score by just one single finishing position.
The next round on the calendar takes place in Spain, at Motorland Aragon, between 13th and 15th April.
Hikari Okubo, stated: “It was a very tough race but my start was not so bad, as I went from ninth place to sixth. I tried to push hard but the top group were fast every lap so my group was a little bit behind. In the last seven laps I had a drop in tyre performance but I never gave up and pushed again near the end. In the last corner of the last lap I tried to overtake another rider but I lost the front and crashed. I want to say sorry to the team for that but this race was very important because I found a good feeling again. The next race is Aragon and I like it there. I want to get a podium.”
Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman, stated: “I feel happy to finish the race but it was a very difficult weekend in some ways. It was my first time with a Supersport bike, plus the suspension and tyres were all new for me, so I had to adapt to a lot of things. I did not have so much time to understand more things with the bike. It was difficult but I am happy to have finished the race. The experience with the team was great and I would like to say thank you very much to Kawasaki Puccetti Racing for my chance to ride this bike. I gained a lot of experience because this is a top team in the world championship. It was an honour to be here and working with them. I hope I can get more chances like this in the future.”
Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki) was unable to stay in contention on the straights but recorded a more than creditable sixth place, winning a last lap battle on his way to ten championship points.
Regular WorldSSP rider Lachlan Epis (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) had a crash and could not finish. Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) also fell, got back on to ride to the pits, but finally retired. In his first WorldSSP race as a stand-in rider for the injured Michael Canducci, Ted Collins (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) was 22nd.
Source: Kawasaki Racing Team
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