Hot and intense conditions greeted the large WorldSSP field at Misano for today’s eighth round of the championship, with Okubo starting the race off the third row of the grid.
Hikari had a very positive early period in the race but after another rider crashed in front of him on lap two he lost ground and had to drop back from fifth to eighth and then ninth.
The Japanese rider showed real battling qualities to take seven championship points, which were the reward for his determination to finish inside the top ten after his unlucky second lap.
Morais was unlucky that a technical issue made him enter the pits after warm up and he finally had to start the race with a used tyre, which was supposed to be changed for a fresh one on the starting grid.
After the Misano round Hikari is 15th overall in the championship, with Morais 16th. The next race in the championship takes place after the long summer break, at Portimao in Portugal, on the 16th of September.
Hikari Okubo, stated: “At the start I was very happy because I got a good launch and made up four or five positions, but after two laps Mahias had a big highside and that lost me some time. I was lucky because if Mahias’ bike had been a little more inside I would have maybe crashed. I have to understand the bike with a full fuel tank and it is difficult to control the bike in that condition. In the last laps, even after the tyre is used, it is easier to push hard. I will try to be inside the top five in Portimao, but today ninth was not so bad as it was my best finishing position this year so far.”
Sheridan Morais stated: “We are not sure what happened when we left pitlane. Something went wrong, so of course we entered the pits with a used tyre that we used for the warm-up lap. The bike returned late into pits when the race was starting, so we had to start with this old tyre. In the race of course the tyres were cold having been standing for 20 minutes. I tried, but there was so much chatter from the tyre and the bike that it was better that I come in, because I was going to crash for nothing anyway.”
Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki) battled with characteristic determination for sixth place, the he was the top Kawasaki finisher today. He is seventh overall in the championship.
Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Against Cancer) placed 13th and was again top ESS rider. Now 14th overall in the general WorldSSP championship standings, he continues to lead the ESS points table, comprising riders who race in the European rounds of the championship only.
Wayne Tessels (Chromeburner Wayne’s Racingteam MTM) placed 20th at Misano with Javier Ezequiel Iturrioz (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) 21st. Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) crashed out near the end of the 19-lap race. Christian Stange (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) failed to finish.