With the long summer break finally coming to an end the season re-start will offer new opportunities to the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team.
Okubo is looking to capitalise on his recent experiences in the Suzuka 8-Hour race to help him in his regular WorldSSP duties. Spaniard Barbera brings his vast experience in MotoGP to the WorldSSP paddock for the first time, aiming to compete near the front from the start of his new challenge.
Barbera, who has raced in the MotoGP paddock in a host of categories since 2002, will race in WorldSSP for the very first time this weekend. He has already benefitted from recent tests with the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team, during which he familiarised himself with his race machine and treaded Pirelli tyres.
After eight points scoring rounds Okubo sits 15th in the championship points, with a best race finish of ninth, which was taken at the previous Misano round.
After the Portimao weekend the WorldSSP championship will continue to the French round at Magny Cours, held between the 28th and 30th of September.
Hikari Okubo, stated: “I’m happy we can again take part in a WorldSSP race because it feels like a long time since we had our last race at Misano, in July. I know the Portimao track on my Kawasaki because I tested there before the Australian round. I also rode a 1000cc Ninja ZX-10RR in the Suzuka 8 Hour race. It was good training during the summer break and I could study my riding style. So I hope I can make a strong race this weekend. I want to record my best result.”
Hector Barbera stated: “I am very happy that it is finally time to take part in my first race of this new experience. I feel physically and psychologically very strong. I feel very confident that together with the team we can take good results. The most difficult thing is that the track is new for me, and the category too. But our goal is to be at the front. We believe that after two days of testing we have done a really good job and that I have learned the bike very well.”
Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki) is Kawasaki’s highest ranked WorldSSP rider right now, in seventh place, after a top six finish at Misano.
Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Against Cancer) is 14th overall and leader of the FIM Europe Supersport Cup standings, designed for riders who only compete in the European-based rounds of the championship.
Wayne Tessels (Chromeburner Wayne’s Racingteam MTM) is 28th in the WorldSSP standings at present. Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) will be another Kawasaki regular at Portimao.
Christian Stange, from Germany, will join Javier Ezequiel Iturrioz in the Team GoEleven Kawasaki squad at Portimao.