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Jun 23, 2019

First Kawasaki Podium For Confident Mahias

Kawasaki Puccetti Racing WorldSSP rider Lucas Mahias used all his experience as a former World Champion to take his first podium of the season, securing third place after starting the Misano race from pole position. His team-mate Hikari Okubo pushed hard throughout and took fifth place.

Having already scored a satisfying fastest lap in Superpole qualifying Mahias was in determined mood as he led the first two laps of the race. Holding onto the leading riders around the intense 4.226km long circuit for all 19-laps, Mahias was almost close enough to pounce when Randy Krummenacher and Federico Caricasulo made contact in the final corners.

Lucas was not quite close enough to pass either of the leading duo in the very last corner but the 2017 world champion was just 0.161 seconds from his first win in Kawasaki colors. This was Lucas' 16th podium finish in WorldSSP and the first of the year for his team and Kawasaki as a manufacturer.

Determined to make up places after his Superpole qualifying performance in ninth place, Okubo made a lightning start and then made up several places in the first corners, keeping pace just behind the leading group.

As the race unfolded Hikari kept up his strong pace, re-joining the top four at one stage. He was forced to slow in the final laps as he had used up the best performance from his front tire, but he secured yet another top five finish in fine style.

In the championship standings, after seven rounds, Hikari holds on to fourth place overall. He has 70 points, with Lucas jumping up to fifth place overall, now with 66 points.

The next round will take place at Donington Park in the UK, between 5 and 7 July, before the start of a long summer break in race action.

Lucas Mahias stated: "It is an incredible feeling and an incredible sensation to take this podium finish. For me it feels the same as a victory because at the start of the season I knew it was so difficult to jump on the podium. But race after I race I continued to push. The race was not very fast because the two riders at the front played a lot - but for me I am not playing. The last lap was very aggressive from the leaders but in the last corner exit it was impossible to get to second or first position. Thanks to Kawasaki and to my team - I hope this is a good present for them because they are working a lot. Sometimes I am not smiling when we are not at the front but for tonight I have a big smile!"

Hikari Okubo, stated: "Today's race was not so bad because for the first time I could follow the leading group, but in the last five laps I had finished the front tire. I was losing a bit on top end compared to the riders in front. I tried to maintain the small gap to the front group by diving into the corners, so the front started closing and I finished fifth. Also, as a rider I know I need to make one more step, but today's race was very important. I got more championship points in the race which allowed me to keep fourth place overall in the championship standings."

Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) crashed out of his home race and now sits 15th overall. His team-mate Kyle Smith finished out of the points in 19th place. Smith still leads the FIM Europe Supersport Cup standings and is 18th overall.

Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer Kawasaki) placed 18th, Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team Kawasaki) 20th.

Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) ended the Misano weekend 22nd at the flag with wildcard rider Roby Rolfo (Team Green Speed Kawasaki) 23rd.


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