Five-time World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu to make shock WorldSSP return

For one day only... The most successful WorldSSP rider of all time Kenan Sofuoglu will join Free Practice at Jerez on a Puccetti Kawasaki ZX-6R

Kenan Sofuoglu, James Toseland, Maxime Berger, Niccolo Canepa

Kenan Sofuoglu is to make an unexpected racing return to the WorldSSP Championship at Jerez on Friday after joining forces with Puccetti Kawasaki to mark the impending shift in regulations from 2022.

The Turkish rider is statistically the most successful WorldSSP rider of all time with five titles achieved in a career spanning 15 years, Sofuoglu winning the crown in 2007, 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2016 before hanging up his helmet in 2018 following a series of injuries.

While his first two titles came as part of the successful Ten Kate Honda squad, he achieved the other three on Kawasaki machinery, first with the Indian-flagged Mahi Racing Team before scoring back-to-back crowns with Puccetti Kawasaki.

It is with the latter that he will compete this weekend on a Kawasaki ZX-6R, albeit only during the two Free Practice sessions on Friday. He is doing it as a nostalgic nod towards next year’s overhaul in regulations, which will see engine bands expanded to permit more models to be homologated. 

Ducati has already confirmed a Panigale V2 entry, while MV Agusta is set to enter the new F3 800 RR and Triumph is likely to enter its 765cc faired Street Triple model.

“We are very pleased and emotional at the thought of seeing Kenan back on track after three years with one of our bikes, even if it’s only for a day. I believe that Sofuoglu is the ideal ambassador to mark the change that the Supersport category will undergo next year, a class in which he has won so much and become the very symbol of this category.”

Sofuoglu largely focused on WorldSSP during his career, though he did take in a moderately successful two-season campaign in Moto2 that yielded a podium, plus a tough season of WorldSBK in 2008 on the Ten Kate Honda. In that time he achieved 43 wins and 85 podiums during his time in WorldSSP.

Since 2018 Sofuoglu has managed the career of Toprak Razgatlioglu, who heads into the final four rounds of the WorldSBK Championship with a good shot at the title against Jonathan Rea.