Kenan Sofuoglu will race the fifth round of the FIM Supersport World Championship this weekend at “Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari” in Imola for the last time in his career.
The Turkish rider has officially declared his intention to retire after the Italian round this weekend, which will coincide with his 20th year racing anniversary.
On many occasions this year the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing’s rider has declared that there was a possibility for him to retire after the terrible crash he suffered in Australia that left him with additional issues apart from the those he sustained in the accident at Magny Cours last year.
For Sofuoglu 2017 was marked by many injuries. After injuring his right hand during training just before the start of the season, Kenan missed the first two rounds. His come back in Aragon saw him being forced out of the race while he was fighting for the victory finishing again with no points. In the following encounters, the five-time world champion achieved 5 victories and a second place reopening the battle for the championship title.
But after a dramatic crash in France, which left him with a hip bone injury, the chance of winning the sixth WorldSSP title of his career seemed to have vanished. The tough Turkish rider didn’t give up and decided to attempt to race in the final 2017 round in Qatar - less than a month after a crash that would normally require a 12-week recovery time. Sofuoglu performed at his very best to finish in third place, which unfortunately wasn’t sufficient to secure the championship title.
Because of these continuous injuries the Turkish rider decided together with his family to end his career sooner as was expected.
After having won the Supersport world championship title five times in 2007, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016 (the two last ones with the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team) and having become one of the most successful riders ever with 45 victories overall (43 of that in WorldSSP) Sofuoglu made the difficult decision with no regrets.
Kenan has been a great fighter both in life and on track. He is a modest rider but with a great experience, talent and professionalism. He will now focus on his riding school where he has been training many Turkish young riders who are already showing their talent on the international stage. Among them there is Toprak Razgatlioglu, WorldSBK’s rookie rider on board the Kawasaki ZX-10RR machine with the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team this year.
After Imola, Sofuoglu will keep working with the team supporting and helping his rider to grow in the main category of the championship. From 11th to 13th May Kenan Sofuoglu will be out on track for the last time in his career at the team home round in Imola.
The Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team and its staff would like to thank Kenan for his precious collaboration in the last few years and wish him all the best in his life and lot of success for the future.
Manuel Puccetti, Team Principal:
“We are really sorry to lose such a talent like Kenan in the team, but we understand and respect his decision. For us it has been an opportunity working 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 really grow 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 in Magny Cours. I think that it is really difficult to forget”.
Kenan Sofuoglu, #54:
“As how the President wishes I am going to retire from racing this weekend. I will celebrate my 20 years of racing anniversary this weekend! Last couple of months I had a few injures which made my family very afraid, also our President. We decide to retire from racing earlier then what I was thinking. I can’t say I am sad because I have already a few Turkish riders which I trained to race and carry our flag. Twenty years ago I started my racing career with a goal to race in the world championships. We won five times the world title. I am very thankful for that. Many people supported me while winning these titles I want to thank everyone for that. For Kawasaki Puccetti Racing Team and for my fans I will be last time on the track on 12-13 May in Italy."