Sofuoglu defends as Cluzel returns
Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit sets the scene: sea, speed and a new season with new regulations. After a 2015 that saw Kenan Sofuoglu take his fourth title, the state of Victoria hosts the first round of the new era and Jules Cluzel is back.
The Frenchman on his MV Agusta was the closest challenger to Sofuoglu’s Kawasaki powered charge in 2015, with the title fight look set to go down to the wire between him, the Turkish rider and American PJ Jacobsen on his Honda. And then came Jerez.
In FP2, Cluzel crashed heavily, breaking his leg and dislocating his shoulder. The injuries sustained saw the Frenchman forced to sit out the rest of the season and watch his rivals go into battle without him.
Sofuoglu, with whom Cluzel has had a hard rivalry, emerged victorious once again, taking another WorldSSP crown and cementing his place in the history books. But now the Frenchman is back, testing in preseason and trying to get to grips with the new electronics regulations in the Supersport class, as well as hoping he’s put the injuries behind him.
Sofuoglu also faces down a completely new rival this year: WorldSSP rookie Randy Krummenacher, who moves in next door as his teammate.
The biggest change for 2016 in WorldSSP however is that traction control is banned. Bringing the machines more in line with the standard of technology found on the road, the adjustment in regulations is sure to shake up the grid. In addition, this season also sees the Tissot-Superpole qualifying format brought into WorldSSP for the first time.
With the same format as the top class, the top 10 riders in practice gain entry into the shootout for the top ten grid positions on Saturday, with the rest given another chance to join the contest by going through Tissot-Superpole 1.
With new rules and regulations for WorldSSP in 2016, will we see a new rivalry? Find out as the lights go out for the first race of the season in Phillip Island on the 28th of February, with all the action on WorldSBK.com.