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WorldSBK Jerez Test: ‘In the end I'm here for fun’ - Sofuoglu

Kenan Sofuoğlu was back in action this week testing not one but two WorldSSP machines at the Jerez Circuit - Angel Nieto.

As manager and mentor to WorldSBK Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu, alongside twins Can and Deniz Öncü and nephew Bahattin Sofuoğlu, the five time World Supersport Champion has his work cut out but that didn’t stop him taking to the track across the two days in Spain, with two different manufacturers.

After his nephew tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the 18-year-old’s first outing with the MV Agusta Supersport squad, Sofuoğlu found his services requested, and with a new machine in the offing, he was not about to turn the opportunity down.


“We were very disappointed to receive the test of Bahattin for the corona that’s a positive,” Sofuoğlu explained from the Spanish track. “Because he needs to do this test, he needs to understand the bigger bike. We inform the team ‘Okay, Bahattin cannot come’. The next day team call me, ‘We need someone to ride a bike, can you do for us?’ I say ‘Okay.’

“I will be very interested to be in MV Agusta because in the old days when I was racing, there was a year I was very close to dealing with MV Agusta, always am interested to see how is the bike and today I get the chance to make some laps on the track, which was very interesting.

“I spent a lot of years on the Kawasaki 600, to move to this bike is very different,” he continued. “I think is a special new generation of the Supersport which is very good for young boys to move to Superbike, because this bike has a lot of electronics and running into the corner like you don’t need to use a clutch. There is also a lot of electronic support when you enter the corner.

“What I understand for the young boys for the future is very nice because basically when you see 600 riders move to WorldSBK they have a hard time but in the future I think the step will be very close. I’m very happy for Bahattin. He will have a future with this bike, I believe if he’s successful on the MV bike, he will have a good future as a superbike rider.”

The request from MV, however, wasn’t the only one the Turkish rider received, with Thursday’s final day of action proving a busy one for the 37-year-old as he returned to familiar colours.

“In the end I’m here for fun,” he admitted. “I like to ride bikes, still I’m riding a bike, not big bikes I ride just small bikes and Manuel [Puccetti] asked me ‘Can you do some laps for our bike for testing the new brake system?’ Because also Kawasaki has upgraded for this year, will have a new brake system and they want I test this. Okay, I will do some laps with MV Agusta bike, some with the Kawasaki, I enjoy and they get some interesting testing, everybody’s happy!

“It was busy day honestly but in the end, I enjoy a lot. I have to say big thanks to MV Agusta and also Puccetti. With the MV today we had a big improvement, actually three seconds faster today. I did quite competitive time, I’m very happy. They’re all happy.

“We see some advantage point, I told my experience to them to some areas but the MV is a lovely bike. Is hard to ride but if you understand it, is very potential winning bike and I think I’m very happy for Bahattin because Bahattin will be on the bike in the season. For this boy, is hard to ride but if he’s doing good, for sure to move to Superbike is one of the best choices we did for Bahattin and I’m very happy for him.

“I actually I’m not planning to come back but these tests are very good for me, still I see myself I’m still strong,” Sofuoğlu continued. “But for me very important to make training with my riders. Because always I’m doing together with them, Toprak, Can, Bahattin and Deniz and in Turkey I’m quite competitive. To see myself also still good lap times, to make me more confident to support my riders.

“Today Can helped me to make fast lap time - have to say a big thanks to him. I’m happy to see Can is one of the fastest Supersport riders at the moment because this year, there is expectation from Puccetti with Can to win the championships. I think they are very strong. We try the new brake pads, new brake calliper for the Kawasaki. It was very impressive for me because I know with the Kawasaki my braking points, in two, three laps I am able to make same line braking which is I think there’s a good improvement. I hope for them this year to win this championship.


“I had so many years with the Kawasaki. Of course when I’m back sitting on the Kawasaki I feel like in my home. It was very enjoyable.

“MV I can see is hard to ride but if you can is more potential than Kawasaki. But of course today if you ask me which one you choose? I am a Kawasaki rider still. But for the young boys, especially for Bahattin, I think one of the best choice. I confirm after I ride the bike. We made a very good choice for Bahattin, the MV, especially the 800, I think there’s a lot of potential to be next year very competitive, with Niki Tuuli very strong and for Bahattin is a learning year.”

With two riders in the Supersport class, Sofuoğlu in his maiden season and Öncü more established, and Razgatlioglu returning to defend his title in WorldSBK, Kenan is building a formidable stable of talent.

“I’m very happy with Toprak, we reach our goal to make him a WorldSBK champion,” he confirmed. “Now the next step is I really want to see from Can this season is going to win the World Supersport. He’s very strong, today is very fast and I will be very happy if Can is going to make a lot of wins and win the championship. I will be very happy. Toprak as we know he is champion and I hope he keep it but the main focus this year, I will be on Can to make him like another star from Turkey!”

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