Having completed only one day of testing in warm and sunny conditions at Valencia all elements of the Winston Ten Kate squad have declared themselves happy with their early progress. Lap times have already been trimmed when compared to 2005 qualifying performances, with both Superbike and Supersport teams working through a host of possible set-ups on the dry track. For 2004 World Champion James Toseland, a break into the 1'35 bracket was a dream start too his latest test session in his new team, and he concentrated on getting to know the 2006 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade. His team-mate Karl Muggeridge working through an extensive list of set-up options, accumulating data on suspension and chassis settings. In the Supersport division, Sebastien Charpentier was on the same kind of sparkling form that gave him the 2005 Championship. His new team-mate, Kenan Sofuoglu, spent his first day focussed on learning his machine fully, having unavoidably lost out on track time in previous tests.
Ronald Ten Kate - Team Manager;
"The first day has been great, especially after the weather wasn't so good at our previous Almeria three-day test. We tried out some new parts there, which seemed to work well despite the poor conditions, and we knew that those parts would also work around here. That has certainly proved to be the case. The bike is the same spec that James rode at Almeria and from mid-morning onwards things have been going very well. The times he has been clocking on race tyres are particularly good, and he managed to get into the 1'35s by three PM. With Karl we are doing a lot of back-to-back tests, again on things we worked on in Almeria, but now through the full range. Karl has put in a lot of testing work for us, but as James in new to both the team and the machine we kept him out for a lot of laps. There will be more opportunities and more to come from Karl tomorrow. On the Supersport side of things, we are still puzzling out what Kenan likes on the machine, how he likes to make changes, and we are now very close to the settings that Sebastien uses. But we are just playing around with the settings to familiarise Kenan with the machine. He was already into the 1'39s today, quite easy, so there is still more to come from him. Sebastien is really back on the ball; he did a 1'37.6, which was his quickest lap time so far. He just has new settings for the new rear shocks and he is using the 2006 engine, which is also a definite step forward. We are all happy after one day."
James Toseland - SBK Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider (82 Laps - Fastest lap time 1'35.8);
"I'm very satisfied with today. We had a good setting at Almeria, and about the same settings here - we have only had to make one or two clicks on the suspension. I also tried different front and rear tyres. I have never been in the 1'35s here, not ever, and to be in the 1'35s already on race tyres is great. The last time I was here I was in the 1'37s, so to go into the 1'35s, and see so much progress, is really good. We will try some different front forks and shocks but at the moment everything seems to be going really well."
Karl Muggeridge - SBK Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider (63 Laps - Fastest lap time 1'36.1);
"So far today we have been successful in trying out new stuff on the bikes. I tested out some new forks and shocks, finding better suspension settings, things like that. As far as lap times are concerned, we haven't really tried yet; we are just concentrating on the bike. We're just using standard tyres and working on the rest. Tomorrow we have one more set of forks to try and then we can start working with the new tyres, to get the whole thing to mesh better. But today has been pretty successful."
Sébastien Charpentier - SS Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider (52 Laps - Fastest lap time 1'37.6);
"It has been a good day of testing because the weather is perfect, if a little bit cold in the mornings, which makes it not so easy. The best time of day is between one and three o'clock. We worked very well in those two hours. My best lap today was a 1'37.6 on a race tyre, when the pole time last year was 1'38.3. I'm happy with the new front tyre and I am confident for Qatar. It is very close now for everyone but our work is good, so it is OK. I think there is a good possibility to improve again in 2006, even if some new machines are coming. For me the Honda is perfect and I hope for more good weather tomorrow. If we got another good day then our preparations will be ideal for Qatar."
Kenan Sofuoglu - SS Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider (82 Laps - Fastest lap time 1'39.5);
"Now we have everything here and I am really very happy. In this test we have tried everything, with the bike in different positions, and every outing we have tried different settings to find my ideal ones. We did not really try for the lap times, and even tomorrow we will continue concentrating on set-up. I am not worried about lap times just yet, I'm just getting ready for the first round."