After some strong early showings at the previous race in Jerez, both Frenchman Mahias and Japanese Okubo have potential podium results in their sights at what will be the seventh race meeting of the 13 round season.
Mahias finished sixth in Spain last time out, which was his second best result since he joined his new team in 2019. The 2017 World Champion wants much more at Misano as the 2019 season flips over into the second half of its duration at this round.
The top-ranked Kawasaki rider approaching Misano is Okubo. His fourth place finish at the first Italian round of the year was his career best. Finishing one place higher in Misano would give him his first career podium – which would be a fine reward for rider and team after finding gradual improvements through their second season together.
Fourth overall, Okubo has 59 points so far, with Mahias seventh on 50 points.
After the Misano weekend the team and riders will relocate to the UK for the eighth round, at Donington Park between 5 and 7 June. That will be the final WorldSSP round before a long summer break, as the WorldSSP riders do not join the WorldSBK competitors at Laguna Seca in mid-July.
Hikari Okubo, stated: “I like the Misano track, even though last year I picked up only a ninth position. I'm sure this time it will be better. The championship rules give us a little help and it is a further incentive to fight for the top positions. I will give my best to do well in front of the Italian fans, who are always very enthusiastic and ready to support us.”
Lucas Mahias, stated: “I can't wait to get on track at Misano. In the last race at Jerez we have shown once again that we can compete with the leaders, and we hope that this little regulatory help can help us find a little of that power that we have lacked so far. The team is working hard, I'm working hard and I'm sure we will be able to reap the rewards of our commitment soon. It would be great to be able to do it right away in Misano, which is one of the two home rounds for my team.”
Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) remains 14th in the championship as he approaches his second home race of the year, with his team-mate Kyle Smith (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) 16th overall on he eve of the Misano round. Smith still leads the ‘championship-within-a-championship’ FIM Europe Supersport Cup.
Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team Kawasaki) is still just one point and one championship place behind Smith, while Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer Kawasaki) sits 21st.
Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) and ESS rider Gaetan Matern (Flembbo Leader Team Kawasaki) will be looking to get their first points of the season at Misano. In a crowd-pleasing initiative the highly experienced Roberto Rolfo will also compete as a WorldSSP wildcard at Misano, on a Team Green Speed Kawasaki.