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24 September 2022

Öncü Finds Podium Pace

Kawasaki Puccetti Racing rider Can Öncü took his Ninja ZX-6R to third place in WorldSSP Race One at Barcelona-Catalunya, which was a reward for a strong showing all through a restarted 12-lap race. Can’s team-mate Yari Montella was 13th in Race One.

After Öncü had qualified second for the opening race of the WorldSSP Barcelona-Catalunya race weekend he had high hopes of securing his first podium since Assen Race Two, back in April. This was Can’s third podium of the year and the sixth of his career.

After a rider fell soon after the first attempt at running the WorldSSP race the track was made unsafe and red flags were shown to protect the riders. A 12-lap restart was run, after some delays to clean and check the circuit.

Oncu played a full part in the eventual intense race, being as high as second across the finish line on lap one, then down in fifth before reasserting himself to take the last podium place on offer in third place.

Having found a strong set-up on his machine he was aggressive and determined throughout and got his reward behind clear winner Dominique Aegerter and the much closer Lorenzo Baldassarri with his podium trophy.

Montella was not able to gain the kind of race pace he needed to turn his podium ambitions into reality but he fought hard and took points for finishing 13th overall.

A lack of grip compared to what he was expecting caused Yari some issues all through the race, and even in Superpole qualifying, which delivered him a third row starting position after he had set the ninth fastest time.

The Barcelona-Catalunya weekend will be rounded-out by Race Two, which is scheduled to take place at 12.30 local time on Sunday.

Can Öncü, stated: “I felt like I was a little bit lost for a while but now I have got my confidence back. It makes me really happy because we have had some difficult times, but now I have found myself again. When I ride it like that I enjoy the bike so much. When the bike makes me feel like today, I love the bike more. The difference from some previous races is that, let’s say, we were just lost a little bit. So it was very difficult to find our rhythm. We found it again today. We just need to keep it like that and improve the bike more to keep the motivation high. When you lose motivation, like the previous races, it is not so good.”

Yari Montella, stated: “I had some grip issues in Superpole, but even more so in the race. The bike has little grip here and I can’t exploit its full potential. I had to be on the defensive, taking care not to crash and to bring home as many points as possible. I know my team is working to solve the problem, also with the data collecting during the race, and so I hope to be able to do a lot better tomorrow.”

Spanish rider Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) was seventh in the restarted race. Tom Booth-Amos (Prodina Racing Kawasaki) ended his first Catalunya race day in 19th place.

Ben Currie and Jeffrey Buis (both Motozoo Racing by Puccetti Kawasaki) were 26th and 27th respectively in Race One.