At one stage it looked like Lowes may have too much pace for Sofuoglu, despite the intense home support for the Turkish rider, but Sofuoglu drew on every scrap of experience and all the performance of his Ninja ZX-6R to pass and re-pass Lowes on the final few corners and come out on top by the narrow margin of 0.040 seconds.
Such was the speed of the leading duo at the fast and flowing Istanbul Park circuit that Kenan was over nine seconds up on the third place rider at the flag.
In the championship itself Kenan kept his championship hopes alive with this remarkable victory and he is now 49 point adrift of Lowes, with 50 points remaining for any rider who wins both the remaining rounds. This was Kenan’s fourth win of the season, and the 25th of his glittering WSS career.
A fighting race for Fabien Foret (Kawasaki Mahi Racing Team India) saw him battle for a top ten finish but ultimately fall after losing the front on lap 12. He no-scored but remains third in the championship battle, 14 points ahead of the following rider.
Kevin Coghlan (Kawasaki DMC-Lorenzini) pushed his way to seventh place on raceday, just a short distance ahead of David Salom (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres).
Despite a tough starting place of 15th Luca Scassa (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) placed 11th and scored valuable points in the championship. Florian Marino (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) lost his chance of a top five finish when he collided with another rider and dropped back, going across the finish line in 19th place.
The next round takes place at Magny-Cours on October 6.
Kenan Sofuoglu: “To win my home race was just incredible. There were so many people supporting me I just had to bring the Turkish flag to the front. I tried everything so I am so happy for them as well. Sam was really fast and at one time and I was thinking he might get away, because we had chosen two different tyre options. I thought his choice would work better in the warm conditions but I just did not give up and tried everything to stay with him. I knew if I kept pushing maybe he would give up and finally I closed the gap very slowly. On the last two laps the goal was just to win this race because winning in Turkey is something like winning the title for me. This was the first time I have raced at a home track after 12 years of competition in Europe. Winning the race is something like a dream for us in Turkey.”
Fabien Foret: “I just crashed with the front and I think we tried to improve the bike too much this weekend instead of just riding the bike just the way it was a bit more often. I needed to learn the track but you also want to improve the bike every time you go out on track. Maybe this time we tried too much. Let us move on, and I race at home next time in Magny Cours.”
WORLD SUPERSPORT CHAMPIONSHIP OVERALL STANDINGS (After 10 of 12 rounds)
1. SAM LOWES YAMAHA 205
2. KENAN SOFUOGLU KAWASAKI 156
3. FABIEN FORET KAWASAKI 121
4. MICHAEL VD MARK HONDA 107
5. LORENZO ZANETTI HONDA 99
6. LUCA SCASSA KAWASAKI 74
7. JACK KENNEDY HONDA 71
8. ROBERTO ROLFO MV AGUSTA 62
9. KEV COGHLAN KAWASAKI 60
10. ANDREA ANTONELLI KAWASAKI 55
11. FLORIAN MARINO KAWASAKI 53
13. RICCARDO RUSSO KAWASAKI 38
14. SHERIDAN MORAIS KAWASAKI 36
17. DAVID SALOM KAWASAKI 27