2017 World Supersport champion Lucas Mahias has announced his switch to Kawasaki Puccetti Racing having left the GRT Yamaha squad at the end of this season.

Since returning to the World Supersport ranks on a full-time basis with GRT Yamaha at the start of 2017, Mahias has been an ever-present front-runner and clinched the world title in the same year before finishing runner-up to Sandro Cortese this season.

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Despite five race wins and nine additional podiums across 24 races with GRT Yamaha, Mahias leaves for a new challenge with Kawasaki Puccetti who endured a difficult 2018 campaign after the injury-enforced retirement of five-time world champion Kenan Sofuoglu.

Mahias, a former title rival to Sofuoglu, is relishing the fresh opportunity as he aims to follow in the footsteps of the Turkish rider by winning the World Supersport championship with multiple manufacturers.

“I’m very happy to be a part of team Kawasaki Puccetti Racing,” Mahias said, having been in testing action with the team in Jerez last week. “After having spent many years with the same manufacturer, I needed new motivation and couldn’t have ended up in a better place, considering that Kawasaki and team Puccetti are as keen as I am to win the world title.

“During the Jerez tests, I was reminded of my previous battles with Sofuoglu and now that I’ve ridden the Ninja ZX-6R, I understand why Kenan was so competitive. The bike already performs well, but we still have a lot of work to do with many things to test.

“I cannot wait to get back on track for testing at Jerez and Portimao, to continue our set up work in order to be ready for Phillip Island.”

Hikari Okubo has been retained by the Puccetti squad on the second ZX-6R and is eager to build on a maiden year with the team.

“I’m really pleased to stay with the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team in 2019,” Okubo said. “The 2018 season was not an easy one for me, but it allowed me to gain experience and learn more about the bike and my rivals, so I’m optimistic about next year.

“I want to aim to run at the front each weekend and know this is not an impossible dream. It won’t be easy of course, but I know I can count on team Puccetti and its professional staff. I’m highly motivated and want to give it my all in every race. Thanks to Kawasaki, the sponsors and my whole team.”



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