Kenan Sofuoglu got his quest to become the first rider to win three World Supersport Championship titles off to a perfect start by claiming victory on his return to the series at Phillip Island.
Back in the WSS paddock after a disappointing foray to Moto2 last season, 2007 and 2010 champion Sofuoglu returns to the series as a Kawasaki rider having won both titles and each of his 17 race victories with Ten Kate Honda.
Proving that he has made a successful transition to the factory-backed ZX-6R, this year prepared by the DeltaFin Lorenzini team, Sofuoglu gave an example of his experience by hanging back in the early stages before climbing from fourth to first in just a single lap with only four revolutions to go.
Though a shortened race distance denied a potential scrap with the charging Fabien Foret, Sofuoglu was delighted to notch up an 18th career victory on his debut with the manufacturer.
“I was actually very nervous before the start because last time I won a race was a year and a half ago, so I am really happy,” the Turk said. “This was my first time racing with Kawasaki and I did not expect that the first weekend we would be so strong.
“My bike was working well and it has proved that my decision to come back to WSS with Kawasaki was a good one, because I have a really good bike. I have seen this the last few years and I believe this bike can make me World Champion again. I am happy to be back in this class.
“Everybody had tyre problems of some kind and I was afraid of what might happen at the end of the race, so I waited and then I took the chance to go into the lead. I made a bit of a gap and I really did not know that Foret was so close behind me on the last lap, so I was pleased to see the flag.”