Yamaha Motor Germany's Turkish superstock rider Kenan Sofuoglu had the honour of taking the first lap of the newly built race track of Istanbul, Turkey which will hold the first ever Turkish MotoGP race on October 23.
Despite the fact that the circuit is far from ready, about 1000 men are still working non-stop to get it finished, Kenan rode a lap on a standard YZF-R1 to get a first impression on its lay-out. According to the 20-year-old, who has become a major star in his home country, the circuit will provide a stiff challenge for the MotoGP stars. "My first impressions are very positive it's seems to become a great circuit and very challenging," he said. "It's undulating and there is even a section similar to the famous Corkscrew corner of the Laguna Seca race track in the US."
Also in attendance was Turkish Prime Minister. Recep Taytip Erdogan. The statesman and a delegation of the parliament were not only impressed by Kenan's wheelie antics, Mr. Erdogan showed big interest in motorsports and Kenan's function as role model for Turkish motorcycle racers. He has promised to try to find a gap in his busy schedule to visit one of Kenan's races this season.
While Kenan has ambitions to race in MotoGP himself on day, this weekend he starts his quest to win the 2005 FIM Superstock 1000 Cup. The winner of the 2002 German Yamaha R6 cup, Kenan finished third last year in his rookie season on the R1 season, behind his fellow YZF-R1 competitors Lorenzo Alfonsi and Gianluca Vizziello. With both the Italians moving on to the superbike class, Sofuoglu will start the year as one of the favourites for the title.
"I want to win the title this year as a step to greater things to come, but the competition will be hard," added the likeable youngster. "We have had some very good tests, but only the first race this weekend at Valencia will prove exactly where we stand."