An exclusive interview with triple World Supersport champion Kenan Sofuoglu in which the Turkish star discusses his 2013 title challenge with Mahi Kawasaki and also reflects on his past experiences in WSBK and Moto2.
Sofuoglu also reveals what really happened from his point of view during the 2012 Aragon 'headbutting' incident.
The interview was recorded prior to last weekend's Donington round, where Sofuoglu finished second to Sam Lowes, who leads Sofuoglu in the WSS standings…
You have a famously aggressive style. When you are riding, do you feel angry?
The team have often told me that I look aggressive and when I see it, it can look that way but I don't feel that way on the bike. I accept it's seen as my style though. I think that the fact that I don't crash so much shows I don't ride too aggressively. Also people who know me would say that my character is totally different to what it looks like when I ride, perhaps you could say there are two Kenans.
Off the bike I have good relations with the people I work with and I like to have long-term relationships with people. Even when I was in Moto2 I was still good friends with and in contact with the Ten Kate team. Also I can't remember having a problem with another rider.
I remember reading an interview with Sam Lowes some time ago where he seemed uncertain about my riding but recently he has a better opinion because he had met me and knows me better. I think my reputation and what I am like when you meet me is different.
It's fair to say that Sam Lowes is keeping you pretty honest this season?
I'm really enjoying this season because Sam is there; if he weren't there I wouldn't have the same feeling of competition. I really respect him, his style is good and he is a very talented rider. I would say that Sam and I are at about the same level.
Having a strong rider to fight against makes me happy in my racing and means that the series is interesting to watch. When I win against a rider like Sam, I actually enjoy it more and his presence in the championship inspires me to work harder.
At the moment I'm waiting impatiently for the bad weather to pass so that I can continue my training because I know that Donington will be a hard race and he will be super strong there, I know I have little chance of beating him there but I will fight to the end.
Also importantly he has a great package with the Yamaha. I feel that Sam's bike's great strength is in the handling as you saw at Assen whereas mine does better with the engine and power. For this reason before Assen I felt sure that Sam would be the man to beat but for Monza I was confident I was going to win, as it turns out, over confident.
Some riders prefer to lead, but others prefer fighting in the pack, which are you?