This week’s Flashback Friday came about when I wasn’t even looking for it. Working on wrapping up my review of the Kawasaki Z H2, I was merely looking for some specs and admittedly went down a rabbit hole before stumbling upon this story. Originally published in 2016, the article features a video of Turkish World Supersport racer Kenan Sofuoglu piloting an H2R up to 400 km/h. At the time, Sofuoglu was on his way to winning his fifth and final championship, but he since retired in 2018. Enjoy! And don’t try this at home, kids. DW
The hype about the Kawasaki H2R hyperbike has died down since the bike’s debut, but the bike’s capabilities are still just as impressive. Here’s World Supersport racer Kenan Sofuoglu to prove it.
In this clip, Sofuoglu takes the H2R to 400 km/h on a newly-constructed bridge crossing the Gulf of Izmit, near the Turkish city of Istanbul. Even more impressively, the Supersport ace hit that speed in only 26 seconds. When the H2R debuted, Kawasaki said it was out to build the bike with the world’s most impressive acceleration, and it seems to have handily achieved that goal. Another reason for the short run — Sofuoglu was worried the tires wouldn’t hold up for long at that speed, which is why he made sure he hit the 400 km/h mark quickly.
It’s not that long ago that 400 km/h was considered unattainable by anything other than a streamlined land speed machine — certainly not within the realm of a production motorcycle. Yet here we are in 2016, with that sort of performance now available over the counter, as long as you’ve got the dosh, and don’t mind waiting for Kawasaki to build you a bike with no warranty.
For what it’s worth, even Sofuoglu realized this was an edgy stunt. He pre-ran the bridge several times to determine the best time of day for the ride (wind, surface temperatures, etc., could mean the difference between life and death at this speed). He ended up performing the run at 5 AM, and afterwards even he sounded impressed by the speed, pointing out that he only hits about 300 km/h as a pro racer.
Rather disappointing cinematography and too much fixation on the speedometer. We know it’s going to count up to 400kms, but wasted opportunity for more drone vantage point to illustrate the speed across the bridge. There was just a flicker of that.