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The official race report service of Kawasaki Racing Team.

25 February 2023

Misfortune For Öncü As McPhee Podiums

Having qualified second fastest in Tissot-Superpole Kawasaki Puccetti Racing rider Can Öncü was finally ruled out of a dramatic first WorldSSP race at Phillip Island in Australia. Kawasaki was represented on the podium - first time out - by John McPhee (Vince64 by Puccetti Racing Kawasaki) who was third in a wet ten-lap race.

The first attempt at running the first race of the weekend over 18-laps was halted with Öncü already in the lead, after a crash involving Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) and Yari Montella that saw them both require medical attention. Adrian was taken to hospital for further checks after an initial diagnosis of lumber contusions.

A crash in the wet conditions from Öncü on the sighting lap of the final race restart led to his compatriot Bahattin Sofuoglu colliding with Can’s fallen bike. Öncü was unable to restart and now looks to WorldSSP Race Two on Sunday 26 February for his fortunes to improve.

McPhee, who had qualified only 20th in Superpole, came through to take third place at the flag, only losing second place in the very final stages of the much shortened 10-lap race. He had a difficult time in the recent official tests, and had been suffering from an intestinal infection in the run up to race weekend, so his podium place was as welcome as it was unexpected.

This was McPhee’s first WorldSSP race for his debutant Vince64 team on the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R. Although he only lost the chance to finish second after a late push from Nicholas Spinelli, third place was a dream result for a new rider in a new WorldSSP team.

On Sunday 26 February a scheduled 18-lap Race Two will take place at Phillip Island, at 14.30 hours local time.

Can Öncü, stated: “After the strong Superpole result I was feeling confident for the race. After the first start, I made up a lot of ground and moved into the lead but then the red flag put paid to all that. During the sighting lap, prior to the restart, I crashed in a wet area of the track. I could have got back on if a rider who was following me hadn’t hit my bike, damaging it irreparably. Some bad luck. I hope to make up for this tomorrow.”

John McPhee, stated: “I am absolutely delighted. This Vince64 team? I can’t thank them enough. It was my dream to be here but I did not feel prepared enough for that race, to be honest. We have had not much time on the bike. We got lucky with the weather today, but we turned it around. Having never ridden the bike on wet tyres either, I was trying to feel my way in. But I am so happy to show our potential and I so happy for everyone that has believed in me.”

                                                 #NinjaSpirit