Having scored four wins already in 2017, even after missing two races through injury, five-time WorldSSP champion Sofuoglu is only one point from the series lead. Statistically, Kenan is already the leading WorldSSP rider of all-time and he has scored 25 of his all-time record of 42 race wins for Kawasaki.
Ryde will be looking for his first podium finish of the year when he gets to Portugal. His best 2017 race finish so far is fourth, which was taken at the first round in Australia. The 20-year-old British rider sits tenth in the championship but with the rider in sixth place only eight points ahead of him.
Sofuoglu has already had a remarkable season even by his own high standards. He missed the first and second rounds and was then knocked off his machine in round three, leaving him with no points at that early stage. He then scored four straight race wins to get back into championship contention. He was well on his way to challenging for another at the most recent round in Germany before the red flags halted the race ahead of the scheduled full distance.
As the Portuguese round approaches the WorldSSP championship features a run of four races in relatively quick succession – at Portimao in a few days’ time and then Magny Cours, Jerez and Losail – completing the 12-round season.
Kenan Sofuoglu, stated: “I am really excited to go to Portimao because we are approaching the final part of the season and we have made some very good preparations for this round. First of all we made a test in Portugal and we found a really new direction with the set-up of my bike, a completely new direction. We will continue with this for the rest of the season and into the future. This gives me a lot of motivation. After the test I went back home to Turkey and did a lot of training, so on every side I am ready and really excited to get to the track again.”
Kyle Ryde, stated: “I have never raced at Portimao before but I did half a day of testing there at the start of the year. I did enjoy it and I was not so far off after a few sessions. I know my way round now at least. At this stage of the year all I have to do is ride the bike and not think about other things. We will just get on with it and see where we can get to.”
Talented Italian rider Michael Canducci (3570 Puccetti Racing FMI Kawasaki) continues his season from 15th place in the overall championship standings, with Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) 17th.
Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) enters Portimao in 21st place, while ESS rider Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Jenik Against Cancer Kawasaki) is 24th.
Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) sits 26th, Lachlan Epis (Response RE Racing Kawasaki) occupies 27th and Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) is 33rd.