400 KPH On A Production Motorcycle

The Kawasaki H2R will do the ton...and then some.

We all know that Kawasaki's supercharged H2R makes 300 horsepower and screams like a banshee. What we don't know, or didn't, was how fast it'll scoot down the pavement...until now.

While his name may not ring a bell, professional motorcycle racer Kenan Sofuoğlu is the most successful World Supersport racer in the world. He recently signed with Kawasaki and, when told the bike would do 380 kph, he had the dream to try and hit 400.

The Turkish native chose the recently completed Osman Gazi Bridge to attempt this feat. The bridge is the fourth-longest suspension bridge in the world, at just over a mile and a half long, and is known for having the highest toll fee of any bridge at ₺89 (US$30.7). While that may sound steep, the three hours it cuts off of travel time between Istanbul and İzmir likely make that an easy 30 bucks to spend.

Kenan Sofuoğlu H2R
Kenan Sofuoğlu aboard his record-setting Kawasaki H2R.Courtesy of World Superbike

Sofuoğlu had a special suit made for the attempt, and spent tons of time visiting the bridge at various times of the day to monitor the conditions. Ultimately it was decided that 5:00 am was the calmest and least windy time of day for Sofuoğlu to make his attempt, which had to be completed in 30 seconds or less to reduce the risk of a tire blowout.

So it was, just two days before the official opening of the bridge and four seconds before his cutoff time, that Sofuoğlu hit the 400 kph (248 mph) mark aboard a "basically stock" Kawasaki H2R.

Kenan Sofuoğlu H2R
A well earned celebration.Courtesy of World Superbike

“I reached 400 km/h, the maximum speed that this motorcycle could have, after a 4 long months of training. I do not remember where I got this idea of the record from first, but when I signed the agreement on 2016 with Kawasaki, I liked and wanted so much this special edition bike. When I asked for the motorcycle, Kawasaki said its maximum speed was 380 km/h and that their dream was to reach 400km/h. The first time I rode it, I felt its huge power and speed, and I made small changes to the motorcycle - keeping its original settings - and did not modify it. I reached 390 km/h in my last trials and today I beat this and reached 400 km/h. I was planning to do this speed attempt for the opening but we had to catch the best weather conditions and so we did it at 5:00 am. The top speed we get to in the world championship races is about 300 km/h, so 400 km/h is a really high speed. It was a dream to reach this speed and thank god I made it. I currently hold the top place in the World Championship, and my next dream is taking the World Champion title the fifth time.”

For a little context on just how impressive these sorts of speeds are, take a look at this week's Ienatsch Tuesday, where Nick recalls the story of the incredible lengths it took to get over the 200mph barrier.