Five-time World Supersport champion Kenan Sofuoglu has confirmed he will retire from racing after next weekend’s Imola round having been hampered by injury in recent months.

Sofuoglu suffered a nasty broken hip in a crash at Magny-Cours while fighting for the World Supersport title last year and made an impressive comeback at the final round in Qatar but it wasn’t enough to stop Lucas Mahias from sealing the world championship.

After recovering from the injury over the winter, Sofuoglu suffered a huge crash at the 2018 seasoon opener at Phillip Island and despite being able to race in Australia he was forced out of the following three rounds in Thailand, Spain and the Netherlands.

Reports have emerged in recent weeks that the Turkish rider would be announcing his retirement from racing due to his injuries, which have now been confirmed by his Puccetti Kawasaki squad.

Sofuoglu will return to action at the Imola round for a final outing, to mark his 20th anniversary of racing, before retiring at the age of 33.

Alongside his five World Supersport titles, making him the most successful rider in the series’ history, Sofuoglu has claimed a career total of 85 podiums and 43 race wins.

Sofuoglu, who has been supported by the Turkish President as a sport leader in his home nation, says the decision has been made with his health in mind.

“As the President wishes I am going to retire from racing this weekend, and I will celebrate my 20 years of racing anniversary this weekend,” Sofuoglu said. “In the last couple of months I had a few injures which made my family very afraid, as well as our President.

“I have decided to retire from racing earlier than I originally thought, but I can’t say I am sad because I have already coached and trained a few Turkish riders who will carry the flag for me.

“I started my racing career 20 years ago, with a goal to race in the world championships, and I have won the world title five times; I am very thankful for that. Many people supported me while winning these titles and I want to thank everyone for that. For Kawasaki Puccetti Racing Team and for my fans, I will be on track one last time from 11th – 13th May in Italy.”

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Manuel Puccetti, Kawasaki Racing Team manager, says he accepts his rider’s decision and has thanked him for his efforts and the success they’ve enjoyed together. Sofuoglu will continue to work inside the Puccetti squad as World Superbike rider Toprak Razgatlioglu’s manager.

“We are really sorry to lose such a talent like Kenan in the team, but we understand and respect his decision,” Puccetti said. “For us it has been an opportunity to work with one of the most professional and strongest riders in the Supersport category.

“It has been an honour having him in the team. We would like to thank him because we have grown a lot thanks to him and his collaboration.

“With Kawasaki we made a fantastic group and for sure we will keep working together in the future. Kenan is the manager of our current rider in WorldSBK, and in the future we will probably have other talents from his school and we will keep working together with Kawasaki and the Turkish Motorcycle Federation. There are many different best moments of our seasons together, but I will never forget the feeling when we won our first title at Magny-Cours. I think that it is really difficult to forget.”

Puccetti is yet to confirm a permanent replacement for Sofuoglu for the remainder of the 2018 World Supersport campaign after the Imola round, having had Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman step in at the Thailand round and Sheridan Morais fill in at the back-to-back Aragon and Assen rounds.

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