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Buis The Champion For Kawasaki!
After the first race of an action-packed season finale in Estoril 18-year-old Jeffrey Buis (MTM Kawasaki Motoport) secured the 2020 WorldSSP300 championship crown on his Kawasaki Ninja 400 on Saturday.
After great success for a number of Kawasaki riders in 2020 the final championship fight came down to a straight shootout between team-mates - Buis and Scott Deroue (both MTM Kawasaki Motoport). Jeffrey had a strong points advantage entering this round and beating Deroue in just one race would have been enough to ensure he would be champion.
The first ten-lap race saw neither of the championship contenders in the battle for the race win, but with Deroue ahead of Buis and only a few corners left, it was all to play for.
Jeffrey managed to pass Deroue on the very final section of the track for sixth place and thus take the title in only his second year inside a class designed to find and develop rider talent in a full FIM World Championship setting. He is the youngest Dutch world champion in racing history.
Deroue was eighth in race one and would finish the season in overall second place, 34 points from Buis.
Up front in race one, Mika Perez (Prodina Ircos Team Kawasaki) won an all Kawasaki four-way fight for victory from Koen Meuffels (MTM Kawasaki Motoport) – by just 0.013 seconds. Tom Booth-Amos (RT Motorsports by SKM–Kawasaki) was third and only 0.055 from the win with Bruno Ieraci (Kawasaki GP Project) the first off podium rider in fourth place.
Samuel Di Sora (Leader Team Flembbo Kawasaki) split Buis in sixth and Deroue in eighth but his final 2020 weekend was about to improve again in race two.
Meuffels moved up from second in race one to winner status in race two, and with it improved his championship final position to fourth. Di Sora was his closest company in second place, with race one winner Perez in third for another all Ninja400 podium. Ieraci fell while chasing a podium place and no scored in the final race of the season.
Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki Motoport) was sixth in race two, with Nick Kalinin (Battley-RT Motorsports by SKM Kawasaki) seventh, Kevin Sabatucci (Kawasaki GP Project) eighth and new champion Buis ninth. Deroue placed 16th in race two.
In the final championship standings five of the top six riders were on Ninja 400s, with Booth Amos sixth overall in his rookie season. He was one of eight different Kawasaki race winners in the seven rounds and 14 races of a short but intense season that featured two races at each round. Buis, the new champion, won four of them.
Di Sora was ninth in the final points and Okaya tenth. Kalinin was 18th overall, Filippo Rovelli (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) 20th and his team and occasional fast qualifier Tom Edwards (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) 23rd.
The recently injured Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki Provec) finished the championship in overall eighth place, despite missing the final three rounds completely after suffering an injury in testing. Herself a former World Champion for Kawasaki in this class in 2018, and a 2020 race winner in Portimao, she sent her congratulations to Buis for his championship win – as did 2019 champion Manuel Gonzalez.
At the end of a unique but always remarkable season on all fronts Kawasaki and its teams collected all the top prizes in this category of racing, with the Riders’ Championship, Manufacturers’ Championship and Team’s Championship (for MTM Kawasaki Motoport) all won on the Ninja 400.
Jeffrey Buis (MTM Kawasaki Motoport), stated: “At the beginning of the season it is always the plan to win but I am very happy to take the championship. The team did a very good job, the bike, the riders and the work in the team are all very good and that makes it a complete package for a winning team. For me personally… I do not know... It is crazy. I am 18. Unbelievable. When you were a little kid you are always working to be a world champion and now the moment came! The first race wasn’t easy because a lot of guys were overtaking in crazy places. I had to manage that because I did not want to crash. At the end of the race there are always a few people left and they are mostly the fastest ones. At the end I need to overtake Scott to take the title and I did it.”
Scott Deroue (MTM Kawasaki Motoport), stated: “It was a very difficult weekend and I’m disappointed about the result during the races. This is not the way we wanted to end the season after being so strong the whole year and finishing second in the world championship. I want to congratulate Jeffrey with his world title and I want to thank the team and my sponsors for this season.”
Mika Perez (Prodina Ircos Team Kawasaki), stated: “I was really happy with my race one victory. I think all in the team and me deserve this win. It was unbelievable to cross the line in first position after two years without winning. The team work so hard and give me the best bike possible.”
Koen Meuffels (MTM Kawasaki Motoport), stated: “In the second race my plan for the final lap worked out perfectly and I scored my first win of 2020. Very, very happy to end the season this way and we went up to fourth place in the final classification of the world championship. I was happy with my race one podium even if unfortunately it came a little bit late this year. It is always nice to finish strongly. The race was good because we had a nice group and the fight was fair, I think.”
Samuel Di Sora (Leader Team Flembbo Kawasaki), stated: “In the second race I tried to make a little bit of a gap in the chicane because I saw I was faster but the finish line was too far away from the last corner. I went for it but I did not know if I could do it. I am happy with second anyway. We had a bad start this season but we made some changes and suddenly everything went back to what we expected. I am happy with the second part of the season.”
Tom Booth-Amos (RT Motorsports by SKM–Kawasaki), stated: “It was obviously not easy coming back from ninth place on the grid in race one. The first couple laps I was just pushing and working my way forward. I think after three laps I was with the front guys. I am happy to be back on the podium because the previous round at Magny Cours was not great for me. I felt like I had the win covered but I made a little mistake in the chicane, the gap came back and the guys slipstreamed me to the line. Congratulations to the other guys, and it is always good to be battling with other riders when it is nice and safe - and close.”
Ana Carrasco (Provec Kawasaki Racing) 2018 WorldSSP300 Champion, stated: “Congratulations to Jeffrey Buis and the MTM Kawasaki Motoport team for the WordSSP300 championship! I would have preferred to be able to fight for the championship until the last races but I’m happy that the title remains in Kawasaki one more year!”
Manuel Gonzalez (WorldSSP ParkinGo Kawasaki), the 2019 WorldSSP300 champion, stated: “Congratulations to Buis, he made a really good season and won races. I was champion last year and he is the champion now. I saw the races and it seemed like he was like me last year, so I would like to see him keep pushing inside WorldSBK.”