WSB Assen: Sofuoglu wins supersport stunner
The end of the WSS race at Assen was an all-time classic, with Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) getting the nod from Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta) but only after each rider had been put under investigation for a last corner clash.
At the start Pata Honda rider Kyle Smith was untouchable but he was swamped in one lap by Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta), Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and one lap later PJ Jacobsen (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres), to be fourth on lap five of 18.
A fast start from 11th place for Ratthapark Wilairot (Core” Motorsport Thailand Honda) ended in a pit entry by lap five, but he went out again after bike adjustments, almost two laps down.
Sofuoglu set a new lap record of 1’38.537 on lap five, to draw himself closer to leader Cluzel. His new record would not last the race.
A mistake under braking for Smith, as he tried to get alongside Jacobsen on lap nine, saw his rear wheel in the air and running wide into the final chicane, losing himself a second in the process.
Sofuoglu made his successful attempt to pass on lap 10, into the favourite passing place of the final chicane.
Smith, with some clear air in front of him, posted another new record lap of 1’38.392 on lap 10, to get closer to Jacobsen’s slipstream, passing him on lap 12.
With Cluzel desperate to make up for the disappointments of two DNFs in the past two races, he set another new lap record on lap 13 of 18, a 1’38.384.
An audacious pass from Cluzel on the outside of Sofuoglu at the final chicane gave him the lead on lap 17, until Sofuoglu re-passed into turn one. A wobble from Cluzel next lap, the final one, allowed Sofuoglu a cushion he turned into a win, but only after a serious clash in the final chicane.
Cluzel passed inside easily but as he ran wide Sofuoglu and he met in the middle of the chicane. Cluzel went off onto the dirt, Sofuoglu of line but more or less on the track, and he won the race by 0.879 seconds.
Smith almost caught Cluzel but finished third, with Cluzel and Sofuoglu gesticulating and shouting at each other on the slow down lap.
Both were put under investigation immediately after the race but minutes later the result was confirmed as Sofuoglu, Cluzel and Smith on the podium in that order. Jacobsen was a distant third.
In the points Sofuoglu has 80, Jacobsen in second with 55 and Cluzel third with 45.