After a season-best performance of third at the most recent WorldSSP event at Misano Mahias is primed for more visits to the podium, with the win itself a personal ambition at the UK round.
Lucas was on pole in Misano, shortly before he went on to show all his proven World Championship-winning skill and experience and score his first top-three in Kawasaki colours. He was second in the 2017 WorldSSP race at Donington during his championship-winning season.
In what has been his strongest and most consistent WorldSSP campaign so far Okubo is still the top ranked Kawasaki rider, in fourth place overall, one position higher than his team-mate Mahias.
A top five race finish at the Misano WorldSSP round, followed up by competition as a wildcard in the Italian Championship (CIV) round at Imola recently, mean that Okubo should be razor sharp to take on his latest challenge at the only UK round on the calendar.
Donington is a circuit with two very distinct and contrasting sections. The first is flowing and open, with constant changes of elevation and camber. The final section comprises three short straights, punctuated by one chicane and two hairpins, where heavy braking sections allow regular overtaking opportunities.
In the championship points, after seven of 12 rounds, Okubo has 70, Mahias 66.
With the WorldSSP class not present at the next overall WorldSBK round at Laguna Seca, the return to competitive action for Mahias and Okubo will be at Portimao in Portugal, between 6 and 8 September.
Hikari Okubo, stated: “I really like the Donington track, although I haven’t yet scored great results here. Last weekend I raced in the Italian championship as a wildcard, to keep up my training. I’m ready to continue to fight for the podium, which remains my main goal. I hope the weather is favourable, as it can be very variable in the UK.”
Lucas Mahias, stated: “The podium we scored at Misano, my first with Kawasaki, represents a starting point and not an end point for us. We have been working incessantly since the start of the year and are finally seeing the fruit of our labours. I like the Donington track. It has some slow and other fast sections. It is fun to ride. I scored second place there two years ago and hope to fight for the win this time around.”
Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) is planning to get back into the kind of form that saw him fifth at the Imola round. He is 15th overall at present. Kyle Smith (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) is 18th in the overall standings but still leads the ‘championship-within-a-championship’ FIM Europe Supersport Cup.
Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team Kawasaki) is one place behind Smith in the points; with Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer Kawasaki) 23rd. Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) joins the other regular riders for the eighth round.