Kawasaki And Puccetti: A Winning Partnership
December 8, 2015
The success of the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team and their Ninja ZX-6R machines was consistent and impressive in 2015, taking overall wins with Kenan Sofuoglu in the Supersport World Championship category and Toprak Razgatlioglu in the Superstock 600 European series. Two championships entered, two championships won. How did they do that? What more can they do in 2016 on their latest Kawasaki machines?
Manuel Puccetti, himself an ex-racer, is the boss of the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team, which is based in Reggio Emilia, Italy. He stopped racing in 2006 to concentrate all his energies on running the Puccetti Racing team, in Italian championship events in the smaller classes to begin with.
After choosing Kawasaki machinery from 2007 onwards the team has built its way from national to international class, topping their journey off with the three most recent FIM Stock 600 crowns and their first WSS championship win earlier this year. At the first full attempt with Kenan, no less. Having the talent of all time WSS great Sofuoglu as the main rider was a major help of course but there has to be something more to win a world championship in any season.
As team manager Manuel Puccetti indicates, it has been a long road to the here and now – yet a constantly improving one. “I was a rider for 11 years, beginning some 20 years ago,” he said. “We started with a small team in the Italian championship. Every season we put a fast rider on our bike and we improved every race. For 20 years our life has been focused on racing competition. We do not have a dealership, a tuning company, nothing like that - we work just for the team. Our history is born from our experience with me as a rider at national and European level, and starting to teach our experience to young riders.”
This gradual but meticulous and forward-looking philosophy has paid off for Puccetti’s squad, as he himself explains. “In stock 600 we have participated for the past three seasons and won the past three seasons, which is really incredible,” he said, even now still taking in this trio of Stock 600 titles. “I think that the secret of this championship is the Kawasaki. The Ninja ZX-6R, especially in stock racing, is a very competitive bike. I think that the main asset on a stock bike is the engine and braking. On the Kawasaki every good rider that has come with us, like Franco Morbidelli and Alessandro Nocco two years ago, Andrea Tucci and Marco Faccani last season, and Toprak Razgatlioglu, Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Andrea Tucci again this season, could all make a good jump because Kawasaki always makes a competitive bike.”
With the arrival of three-time WSS champion Kenan Sofuoglu during the last three races of 2014, and then joining full time for a full assault in 2015, Puccetti knew that he had everything needed a step up at the start of the year. But to then be able to go and win both series the team competed in is something pretty special.
That’s why Manuel is so proud of all the people who made the double championship win at the first attempt. “I am so happy to have gone through this incredible season because I think we are the first team to have won both categories in the same year - Stock 600 and WSS.”
With that ambitious goal now reached a new challenge awaits – competing in three championships in 2016. “Next year we will also have Toprak on the new litre class Ninja ZX-10R. Kawasaki is happy that we will go in this direction because they are happy to push the new bike,” said Puccetti. “Our full team will be two riders in the San Carlo Team Italia Kawasaki squad in Stock 600, Toprak will be on the new Ninja Superstock 1000 bike and Sofuoglu and ex-Moto2 rider Randy Krummenacher will form our official Kawasaki WSS team. Toprak has an incredible talent and I am sure he can do a great job on the bigger stock bike.”
Given how well Puccetti Racing and their various Kawasaki machines have bonded in the past we can only watch this particular lime green space and wonder what is possible next season for the expanding team and their growing stable of fast Kawasaki Ninjas.