Okubo is a new regular signing for the Kawasaki Puccetti team this year and has shown real pace, even if his two most recent races have seen misfortune prevent him from securing strong points finishes. He has qualified inside the top ten in every race so far in 2018.
Hikari sits 23rd in the championship after scoring two points in the first round of the year, but has had the pace for the top ten in the most recent two races. At Assen his aim is to match the final result on Sunday 22nd April to the real potential he has shown since he joined the team.
One of the most experienced all-round riders there is, Morais has grabbed the opportunity presented to him for the Motorland and Assen races with both hands. He scored a fine seventh, having been on course for fifth place, at the previous round in Spain last weekend.
Only a lack of recent race fitness stopped him from maintaining his top five pace at Motorland, but Morais sees even greater opportunities for both man and machine at Assen. He has raced at the legendary Dutch circuit twice before in WorldSSP, and also in other classes. After just one race Morais is 14th in the championship standings.
Featuring everything from slow hairpins to curves taken at almost full speed, from some banked sections that have been in place for decades to areas where use of the slipstreaming is king, Assen often hosts close and competitive races.
Hikari Okubo, stated: “We were unlucky in the last race but I know I have good potential. I think we can do a good job again this weekend. Assen has not been my favourite track but I have a new bike and team to approach it with this year. I think I can make a good push in Assen to try and finish inside the top five.”
Sheridan Morais, stated: “After riding for the team at Motorland Aragon I think the Kawasaki will be even more suited to Assen, but we’ll see this weekend how that proves to be. In terms of riding fitness alone I now have Aragon under the belt, and I feel we will be really strong there. I have researched all the previous results since this opportunity came around and I know Assen will be a strong round for the bike. I go pretty well there too. I have no doubt that we can just make this half a second leap, and that will put us in the leading pack to fight for podiums and wins.”
Privateer runner for Australia Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki) is currently the top Kawasaki rider in the championship, in tenth, with a best finish of sixth place in Thailand.
ESS Rider, Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Against Cancer), who is doing the European rounds only, will enjoy a home round at Assen, and is already 17th in the championship after just one round. Michael Canducci (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) was back in action and Motorland Aragon and will be again in Assen, alongside his team-mate Lachlan Epis (Team GoEleven Kawasaki).
Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) is a regular runner in the championship and he will be in the Netherlands alongside fellow Kawasaki riders Dutch rider Wayne Tessels (Chromeburner Wayne’s Racingteam MTM) and Peter Sebestyen (SSP Hungary Team), both of whom are ESS riders.