After several rounds competing in the AMA Superbike Championship Series, John Kocinski has again revealed for the World his talented, but temperamental, nature.
At Brainerd this last weekend, Kocinski was fastest in practice, and qualified on pole. His speed through the infamous turn one was, according to a Dunlop representative, simply “incredible”. Kocinski was running at the front of the Superbike final when his tire chunked, however.
Visibly angry, Kocinski reportedly threatened to quit the Vance & Hines Ducati team after the race unless the team agreed to switch tire brands.
Is Kocinski a genius on a bike and, hand-in-hand with that, a perfectionist? Or is he simply an obnoxious primadonna? I won’t venture a guess because I don’t know Kocinski (except from reports — having watched his career for years). I do know that he tends to get into his own world in a team — ignoring his teammates and everyone else, and simply demanding what he feels is necessary to make his bike a winner.
His struggles in the 500 GP circuit the past couple of years can be traced, largely, to his riding style. Kocinski rides the front wheel (as opposed to sliding the back), and this is a difficult style to adapt to 500 GP riding (although Kocinski has won at that level in the past). When Kocinski is on the right bike, set up for his riding style, he can be almost unbeatable. In 1997, he captured the World Superbike championship for Honda — the only World Championship ever achieved by Honda’s RC45.
Assuming Kocinski hasn’t quit the Vance & Hines team, it will be interesting to watch him ride the last two rounds of the series. He may be looking for a World Superbike ride next year, and he may have to win one or both of the next two races to earn it.