Kawasaki’s Sofuoglu sets pace on first day of WSS testing

Mahi India Kawasaki's Kenan Sofuoglu signals his intentions with a dominant turn on the first day of pre-season testing at Phillip Island - suspected broken right ankle for Jack Kennedy.
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Kenan Sofuoglu successfully lived up to his billing as title favourite on the first day of official World Supersport pre-season testing at Phillip Island as he comfortably paced both sessions.

Eyeing a record-breaking fourth WSS title this season, the Mahi India Kawasaki rider completed his day almost four tenths faster than his nearest rival as he topped the timesheets in both the morning and afternoon sessions.

Setting his best time of 1min 33.521secs in the morning, Sofuoglu's performance was enough to keep second place man Michael van der Mark at bay on the PATA Honda, the Dutchman making a slight improvement in the afternoon as the only man to prove relatively close to the Turk.

Indeed, no other rider would get to within eight tenths of Sofuoglu, with Vladimir Leonov eight tenths further back on the Yakhnich Motorsports MV Agusta F3 675.

With the Australian circuit failing to prove substantially faster in the afternoon, timesheet movements were kept to a relative minimum, with Jack Kennedy one of the few to make gains as he lifted himself to fourth best. However, the Irishman's day came to an abrupt conclusion with a crash at turn two – after which he was transferred to hospital in Melbourne to undergo x-rays for a suspected broken right ankle.

VFT's Fabio Menghi rounded out the top five as the top Yamaha rider, ahead of Lorini Honda's Riccardo Russo and Kev Coghlan on the DMC Panavto Yamaha, while top rookie PJ Jacobsen led the three-strong Intermoto Kawasaki contingent in eighth, ahead of Lorenzo Zanetti and Florian Marino.

Elsewhere, former Moto2 rider Ratthapark Wilairot proved a noteworthy 11th fastest as he continues to adapt to the Core PTR Honda, while former series runner-up Jules Cluzel was 15th best on the second of the Yakhnich MV Agustas and ex-MotoGP rider Bryan Staring was 16th.

As well as Kennedy, others to experience a crash in the session included German domestic champion Kevin Wahr and Russian youngster Alexey Ivanov.

Tagged as: Honda , Yamaha , Kawasaki , WSS , agusta

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