The German rider and his French teammate are set to let the Puccetti Kawasaki battle rage in 2020, with a sense of rivalry already creeping in
Coming into the 2020 World Supersport season as a rookie is no easy task but so far, it has been – seemingly – plain sailing for former Moto3™ race winner, Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing). Oettl flies the German flag this season and is eager to get to the front of the field and become the first German rider to win on a Kawasaki in the class. However, he has an extremely fast teammate in the shape of 2017 WorldSSP Champion, Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing).
Oettl worked on the general feel of the bike whilst also looking to make the most of his track time, having already been testing at Jerez back in November and periodically at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Cheste, Valencia. The last notably successful rookie was also a German, in the shape of Sandro Cortese, and if Oettl can emulate his fellow countryman then he is in for a good season.
Speaking about his teammate, Oettl was quick to point out that an element of rivalry in the team was present: “I am learning things from Lucas but we are not going out together, because there is a certain level of rivalry within the team. I am one second slower at the moment, but this is at a track that I don’t know. I think we should work together because I think at one moment, he needs help but at the moment, I need the help.”
The 23-year-old has ridden at seven out of the 13 tracks on the WorldSSP calendar during his time in the MotoGP™ paddock, including winning at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto back in 2018, pipping Championship challenger Marco Bezzecchi on the run to the line. Now, with a new challenge awaiting him in WorldSSP, Oettl is keen to ruffle feathers and put the cat firmly amongst the pigeons.
“I think we can do a good job at Phillip Island; it is a track that I know so we will see how I go there,” said Oettl. “We need to be relaxed, although it is the first showdown of the year and everyone will be really motivated, but so am I! It is too early to say about the goal for the Championship as we need to wait until the Phillip Island test. There are some tracks that I don’t know and the level of World Supersport this year is quite high. We have to have to wait a few races and then maybe, I can say a little bit more.”
When pushed about who he thinks the favourite for the WorldSSP title is, he said: “I think like every year, Jules Cluzel is the favourite for the title. He is always there but I also think Lucas [Mahias] is a favourite, Isaac Viñales too. There’s a lot of names but at the beginning of the season it is always like this; a lot of names can win, maybe 15.”
Find out who draws first blood in the WorldSSP battle of 2020 with the WorldSBK VideoPass!