Two of five-time World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu’s protegees are competing in the 2022 FIM Supersport World Championship season with Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse). Oncu is now in his third season of WorldSSP action after making his debut in 2020, while Sofuoglu is embarking on his rookie campaign after several years in WorldSSP300.
Oncu’s first season in WorldSSP ended with the Turkish rider finishing in 12th place and he improved this to sixth in the 2021 season, when he took a step forward and became a podium contender; finishing the season with three rostrum visits. It’s form Oncu has continued into this season with two podiums in four races although he has had two non-finishes through a technical issue at Aragon in Race 2 and a Race 1 crash at Assen.
Reacting to Oncu’s start to the season, Kenan Sofuoglu said: “With Can, I am quite happy because Can is already doing very well. I expected to see a very competitive start of the season from Can. I think Can will get stronger and stronger. Of course, the Yamaha is a very strong package but Puccetti built everything better this season for Can. Puccetti made him the main rider for the World Championship. This is giving him a really good mentality and motivation to Can to have good results. He’s still 18 years old, I think he has a big future, and this season we will often see Can on the podium. I hope, soon, he’s going to be first in a WorldSSP race”
Bahattin Sofuoglu made his debut in WorldSSP at the start of the 2022 season with the MV Agusta F3 800 RR machine, a new bike for the Championship following the new ruleset introduced for this season. After four wins and eight podiums in WorldSSP300 between 2018 and 2021, the 18-year-old made the step up to WorldSSP competing in the WorldSSP Challenge. In the four races run so far, Sofuoglu has taken a best Superpole result of 25th but battled through to claim points in every race, and his first top ten finish in Race 2 at Assen.
Kenan, Bahattin’s uncle, explained how he was surprised about Bahattin’s start to the season: “About Bahattin, honestly I’m a little surprised! I didn’t expect, from Bahattin, a strong performance in the first two rounds. Bahattin has never ridden a bigger bike than the 300. He has zero experience on the bigger bike, only some winter tests he did with MV Agusta, but the MV Agusta is a little bit of a difficult bike for a young boy. I have tested the MV Agusta, I know a WorldSSP bike, the MV Agusta is kind of like a Superbike style. It’s heavier, it’s more difficult to ride, but it has a lot of potential. You need to be an experienced rider to be fast with the MV Agusta bike. I think this way is a little bit difficult to start in WorldSSP for Bahattin but, again, we shouldn’t forget he’s still 18 years old. When I was 18 years old, I was racing just in the Yamaha German cup. Bahattin is 18 years old, racing in WorldSSP and almost getting top ten results which, I think, is a very good start. I hope this investment together with MV Agusta will make us future World Champions.”
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“Quite happy… a little surprised”: Kenan Sofuoglu discusses the start to 2022 for Oncu, Bahattin Sofuoglu
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