After some effective and battling performances in the four races held so far Okubo is ranked fifth overall on the eve of the Imola round, having scored well in each of the early rounds. He is only three points from fourth place.
Mahias has had a season of contrasts at times and he is now seventh overall, just five points behind his team-mate Okubo. His determined fifth place at the most recent round in Assen in the Netherlands has shown that the 2017 WorldSSP champion now has the machinery set-up package to use his skill and experience to the full.
As the Kawasaki Puccetti pairing get ready to face the challenging Imola circuit, which is laden with undulations and blind corner entries along its 4.936km length, their shared aim is to take their first podium finish of the season on raceday at Imola, on Sunday the 12th of May.
Kawasaki and the Puccetti Racing squad have a particularly strong recent record at Imola, with Kenan Sofuoglu winning the WorldSSP race in 2015, 2016 and 2017, to add to his 2013 Imola success on a Kawasaki.
Another long break in the season waits Okubo and Mahias after the Imola round, with the sixth round of the championship set to take place at the Circuito de Jerez Angel Nieto, between 7 and 9 June.
Lucas Mahias stated: “I like the Imola track; it’s very technical and not easy to interpret. Last year I reached the podium and I’d like to do that again this time around. In recent races, my feeling has really improved with the bike and I know I can aim for the win now. I’ll do all I can to achieve the best possible result, and also because this is my team’s home round.”
Hikari Okubo, stated: “Although I’ve never scored great results before at Imola, it’s a track I really enjoy. I also think our bike suits the track’s characteristics and so I hope to achieve a strong result in front of the Italian fans.”
Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) is currently 17th overall as he enters his home round. Kyle Smith (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) leads the championship-within-a-championship FIM Europe Supersport Cup as he embarks on only his third WorldSSP race of the season at Imola. He is 15th in the overall classification.
Dutchman Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team Kawasaki) had a strong top ten ride at his home round last time out and is now 14th overall in the championship. Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer Kawasaki) is now 21st overall, with Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) and ESS rider Gaetan Matern (Flembbo Leader Team Kawasaki) yet to score points.