Kenan Sofuoglu samples MV Agusta machinery to help Bahattin

Five-time WorldSSP Champion gives teenage cousin Bahattin some pointers as he samples the MV Agusta F3 800 he'll ride in the 2022 WorldSSP series

Kenan Sofuoglu - MV Agusta F3 800

He may have called time on his racing career, but that doesn’t mean five-time WorldSSP Champion Kenan Sofuoglu isn’t adverse to dusting off his leathers as he joined both Puccetti Kawasaki and MV Agusta in testing its machinery at Jerez this week.

The Turk - champion in 2007, 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2016 - hasn’t started a WorldSSP race since 2018, but busies himself on the racing scene through his mentorship of his nation’s next wave of racers, most notably new WorldSBK Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu.

In addition, he is also overseeing the careers of Deniz Oncu (Moto3), his twin brother Can Oncu and Kenan’s teenage cousin Bahattin Sofuoglu, both of whom compete in WorldSSP this year.

With some WorldSSP teams returning from their winter hiatus with two days of testing in Spain this week, Sofuoglu was on hand to help impart his advice on set-up, riding both the Puccetti Kawasaki ZX-6R Oncu will campaign, plus the MV Agusta F3 800 of his namesake.

Having held a long association with Kawasaki even in retirement, Sofuoglu’s outing with MV Agusta was something of a surprise. However, it was also immensely valuable to the Italian manufacturer, as one of three manufacturers bringing new bikes to the party in 2022 following a change in the regulations, together with the Ducati Panigale V2 and Triumph STR765.

Labelling the F3 800 ‘hard to ride’, Sofuoglu nonetheless believes the challenge will suit Bahattin, saying the difficulty will demonstrate if and when he will be capable of stepping up to WorldSBK in the near future.

"It was a busy day honestly, but in the end I enjoyed it a lot. I have to say thanks to MV Agusta and also to Puccetti,” he told 

"With the MV we had a big improvement today. Actually we were three seconds faster today and I did quite competitive times. I’m very happy and the team is very happy

"It’s a hard bike to ride, but if you understand it, then it has the potential to be a winning bike. I’m very happy for Bahattin [Sofuoglu]. 

"Bahattin will be on the bike this season and for him it’s hard to ride, but if he’s doing good then for sure moving to Superbike; it’s one of the best choices we made for Bahattin. I’m very happy for him."

A two-time podium winner in 2021, Oncu is the second-highest place WorldSSP returnee after champion Dominique Aegerter, while Sofuoglu makes his debut with MV Agusta alongside Finnish racer Niki Tuuli.

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