Dec 4, 2012
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FIM Supersport World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (1).
New WSS Team Takes First Steps Together
The newly created Mahi Racing Team, an officially supported team for Kawasaki in the 2013 FIM Supersport World Championship, underwent its first successful test sessions in Iberia recently.
After a high profile unveiling of the team in its true spiritual home of India, the European-based arm of the team travelled to first Jerez in Spain and then Portimao in Portugal to undergo initial track tests as a complete group.
Riding duo Kenan Sofuoglu (from Turkey) and Fabien Foret (from France) are both champions in their own right in this category and they joined with their British-based technical crew at Jerez for two days last week. This gave Kenan the chance to get used to the K-Tech suspension units the team will use in 2013, and gave both riders the opportunity to work closely with their crew chiefs, Nico Sartori for Kenan and Andrew Stone for Fabien.
After some early teething issues, as is normal in every new squad as they get their latest machinery and new personnel meshing together well, the first days in Spain provided both some progress and some issues to overcome. On day two Fabien fell and hurt his hand, but he continued on as the team headed to Portugal for another two day test.
This relocation to Portimao allowed both Fabien and Kenan to find much more positive results, even when the second day of the test was largely lost to rain.
Foret still completed 20 laps in wet conditions, to get more track time in and prepare for the next tests in January, after the testing ban kicks in.
Even the cold and windy condition experienced by Sofuoglu on the first day of testing in Portugal could not stop his progress and he ran lap times equal to those he put in during the penultimate round of the 2012 season, when it was much warmer.
Back at their technical headquarters in England the engineers in the team will now work with the data collected from these two tests to arrive fully ready for the 2013 season, which is expected to be every bit as close and competitive as any in recent seasons.
Kenan Sofuoglu: "The team had to work hard to be ready for the test and in the first test so there were a lot of things to and still to do, so I spent my time trying to get the feeling to the K-Tech suspension in Spain. We also wanted to test to meet each other and get some track time together before the end of the year. It was very useful in Spain to meet with the new mechanics and so on, and then when we went to Portimao the bike was working a lot better. The biggest thing about these tests is that we have found out what we need for the next time, when we test in January. I am sure we will be fully ready them. I am really happy with my new team because they have really good power to build everything how I need. I think it is looking to be a very strong year."
Fabien Foret: "The Jerez tests did not start so well for me but things got better on the second day with bike set-up even though I crashed. Things were a lot better when we got to Portimao even if my fall at Jerez still had an effect on me. I lost a bit of time because of that but I also did some laps in wet conditions on day two, which went well."
Andrew Stone, Team Technical Director: "Mahi racing are happy with our first tests and we will be making improvements along the way. In general our team has bonded very quickly and the signs are good for 2013."