Lucas Mahias brings a breath of fresh air for 2021. The Frenchman, 2017 Supersport champion with Yamaha, has had a strong season aboard the Puccetti Kawasaki ZX-6R. And Manuel’s team now brings one of the most spectacular riders to watch to SBK: "I’ve worked hard in this sense - the number 44 rider explains - because I know that the Kawasaki Ninja is very good in terms of corner exit. We know the Superbike has a very advanced electronics package compared to the Supersport and, riding the ZX10-RR, you need to lift the bike early and maintain grip throughout the acceleration phase. I think we have valid areas in which to work, the only problem is understanding the connection between my right wrist and the moment in which I straighten up the bike, but I’m pleased with what we’ve done so far”.

Do you prefer a little or a lot of electronics?

"I’d prefer not to use them. But it’s not possible to do without them with the Superbikes, in that the best way to set good times involves using the controls. Speaking with the team, they’ve explained how important the electronics are. I’ll get there, adapting my riding style. I have to say that the electronics on the Kawasaki are really incredible and allow you to fully open the throttle mid-turn, without a highside or anything like that. What I need to understand is how to exploit it all at full lean, it might take a little time for me to build confidence".

The new Ninja was strong at Jerez, especially with Rea.

"For now, I’ve seen that the power of the bike is different, by which I mean better. More horsepower and better performance at high rpm. The fairings and aerodynamics have been updated and guarantee advantages. I haven’t tested the new Ninja yet, but I’m sure it’s an improvement. Rea and Lowes were incredibly fast at Jerez but they are not my target. First, I have to build confidence with the bike”.

What’s your 2021 goal?

"It involves taking time to understand the bike, how to ride it and how to work on a Superbike. Let’s say I turn up at the first round and am already able to battle with the top guys at Assen, without understanding all the finer points of the bike. That’s the best way to end up crashing and, as a result, a way to lose confidence. That’s not my target. My aim is to improve every time I go out, trying to score increasingly good results from race to race”.

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Supersport risks dying out. Dorna and the FIM are doing well to give it new life

Lucas holds a title in the intermediate class and would therefore be sorry to see Supersport go: "If the category continues like this, it will die - he reveals - Yamaha dominates and the other manufacturers are not particularly present. If the category wants to survive, certain aspects need to be changed, I don’t know what exactly. We know Triumph will return, what will their level be compared to the current R6? It’s clear where Yamaha and Kawasaki lie, while the rest is a real unknown. I hope they make the right decision, we’ll see how things work out in BSB. I think Dorna and the FIM are doing well to give Supersport new life".

Translated by Heather Watson

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