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25 September 2022

Second Podium Finish For Öncü

Kawasaki Puccetti Racing rider Can Öncü secured his second podium finish of the Barcelona-Catalunya WorldSBK Race weekend by taking an eventual second place in Race Two. Yari Montella was ultimately eighth after being a convincing early podium contender.

Having fought hard and effectively to finish third in the opening WorldSSP race on Saturday Can was full of confidence as he lined up for the second full 18-lap race of the weekend, which was held in warm and dry conditions.

Montella and Öncü were both on very motivated form in the early laps of Race Two, riding in the podium positions and competing for every corner and passing opportunity with their handful of rivals.

The lead Kawasaki riders would each lead the race, but as time went by Montella would slide back to finish eighth, albeit much closer to the leaders in overall time than he was when finishing 13th in Race One.

On a strong set-up for pace and full distance Öncü pressed ahead with his podium ambitions and he took his Ninja ZX-6R to a second top three finish of the Catalunya weekend.

Can’s initial third place was changed to second after it was found that race runner-up Stefano Manzi had breached the track limits on the final lap. This delivers an automatic penalty of losing one finishing position, pushing Can up one place.

Öncü has now stood on four podiums so far this year and to his delight he has moved up to third place overall. He is now one point ahead of Nicolo Bulega in the championship table. Montella is sixth in the rankings, having also moved up one place this weekend, from seventh to sixth.

After the Catalunya weekend the ninth round of the championship will take place at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal, between 7-9 October.

Can Öncü, stated: “In the beginning everybody was going very slow to not spin the tyres and kill the grip but after five or six laps I started to get bored, so I said, ‘OK I will go more’. Then everybody started to push more. We started to open up a gap to the guys behind, but I didn’t know this, actually. I was thinking there was a big group of seven or eight people but I only learned we had opened a gap after the race. So, I was still trying to push as much as possible. The race was so much fun I forgot to check the lap board and when I saw it with just two laps to go on it, I thought, ‘really?’ It was very nice to be on the podium again. I hope to continue like that in Portugal. I tried to go with Aegerter when he went past but this guy is a little bit fast! I did not know that I had moved up to third in the championship today, so this good to know. I am very happy for this. Only one point ahead, but no problem, I am third!”

Yari Montella, stated: “I made a good start and was able to stick with the leaders through the first half of the race. Unfortunately, we don’t yet have the right setup to stay at the front until the end, but we’re working well and the bike continues to improve. Today’s race proves that yesterday we were slowed down by a rear tyre issue and that we have the potential to score better results.”

Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) placed tenth after showing real pace in  the early laps, racing for fourth place on laps three and four. He is ninth in the championship in his rookie year, with 94 points after the Catalunya round.

Tom Booth-Amos (Prodina Racing Kawasaki) was finally 24th after he ran off track while battling with another rider. He had been 21st on lap ten but had been dropped to 30th place.

Ben Currie and Jeffrey Buis (Motozoo Racing by Puccetti Kawasaki) had contrasting Race Two experiences, with Ben falling and no-scoring and Jeffrey placing 26th.