Photo: Dan Kruger
Dan Kruger (#71 in the photo) has clinched second overall in the 2018 China Superbike Championship, and to paraphrase the classic Scooby Doo villains, he would have won, if it wasn’t for that meddling Ducati factory team.
Ducati test rider Alessandro Valia was the overall champion, eight points ahead of Kruger. Kruger almost caught up in the final double-header, as the Ducati team had trouble with their V4 and had to withdraw from Race 1, allowing Kruger to move up and grab third in that race. Unfortunately, Race 2 was canceled due to weather concerns, so he could make no further gains on them in the overall points standings. That means he gets a second-place finish.
Kruger is probably disappointed he didn’t earn the title, but he has to be happy overall with his finish, considering his serious injuries a couple of years ago at Suzuka. To come back and be in the fight for first again is no mean feat.
PRESS RELEASE: CANADIAN DAN KRUGER PODIUMS IN CHINA TO CLINCH 2ND OVERALL IN 2018 CHINA SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP
Sept 15, 2018 Zhuhai, China
Temp: 35C, Sunny, Humid, Windy
Kawasaki Asia supported rider Dan Kruger took advantage of Factory Ducati’s V4 misfortune in what would be the final Race of the Championship to take a very critical 2nd Place in the Speed Hero Superbike finale in China. With a Super-Typhoon on its way, the China Government cancelled all sporting events for what should have been Race Two on the Sunday.
That would give Canadian Dan Kruger and his Kawasaki-supported team 2nd overall in the Championship for 2018 in China just 8 points behind Factory Ducati’s Test Rider Alessandro Valia on the more powerful and larger displacement Ducati V4.
Kruger made impressive progress this round and lapped consistently with personal best all-time laps turning plenty of heads and surprising many due to the horrific injuries he had suffered several years ago. The heat was intense and threat of the super-typhoon was on every teams mind.
“We tested here 3 weeks ago and we put in almost 200 laps over 4 days and sorted out a lot of the issues we were having with the electronics and suspension. I also got really comfortable on a race bike again. We were quick from the first lap out during this past race weekend and it felt great. In qualifying, We were up almost a full second in the final sector on a Q tyre and got into a massive slide coming onto the front straight which turned into a violent tank slapper . It was pretty scary and we obviously threw the lap away but we definitively have had the pace all weekend”
The race had 42 bikes on the grid and Kruger slotted into 4th heading into the first turn but quickly moved to 3rd and then disaster struck for the Factory Ducati Team on their new V4. They were forced to withdraw with a mechanical problem which moved us up to 2nd. Dan’s pace could have seen him challenge for the win but he was struggling all week with severe arm pump and decided to focus on the Championship and manage his gap and focus on getting the chequered flag. In the end, the race was red-flagged with 2 laps to go and as a result was considered official.
The team is working fantastic together and all the main sponsors are over the moon with our speed and consistency. We would like to thank all of our sponsors for all of their generous support throughout the season including Titanic Kawasaki, Motul, RK, Ktech, Moto-tron, Brembo, Xlite, BG, Pirelli, Dainese, Hindle, EBC, Sprint Filters, Kintetik Batteries, Nature Power and the entire Race team along with our families and friends.
We now have a month off before heading to Sepang for a 2 day test in early November and then some promotional events with Motul, Dainese and the Hong Kong Motorcycle Show.
See you in 2019!