In the last test before the start of the 2006 World Superbike season the Winston Ten Kate Superbike and Supersport squads, running in 2006 livery for the first time, made their final on-track preparations for the first round of the championship in Qatar. James Toseland and Karl Muggeridge each improved their times from day one gaining great confidence on their full 2006 spec machines. In Supersport, 2005 World Champion Sebastien Charpentier set class leading times in the good track conditions, with new inductee Kenan Sofuoglu improving with each and every taste of the latest CBR600RR.
Ronald Ten Kate - Team Manager;
"We are very happy with where we are at this moment. On the Supersport side of things we are quite a lot faster than last year's pole position time and also during a race simulation Sebastien was lapping constantly half a second or more faster than he did in the last race. For Kenan, he has made quite remarkable progress during this test, which was his first full test with us. He is faster than last year's pole time and he is also in quite a good situation with the race tyres. On that side of things we can't wait to go to Qatar. My riders are already excited to go there and show the performance of the 2006 CBR600RR. On the Superbike side of things, when I look back to the beginning of last season, we were around 70% ready to go racing. At the moment we are now about 95% ready. In the upcoming week we will fine-tune all the details but the riders feel very well connected to the machines, and have a good feeling with the throttle. Also, the suspension is better and the tyres are working very consistently over race distance. That will be the key factor, I think, in the coming races. We are ready, ready to rumble!"
Karl Muggeridge - SBK Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider; (Best lap time 1'35.4 - Total lap 71);
"We did a race simulation, and it was pretty good. The only other thing we could have done is make the long run at lunchtime, instead of a quarter past four, when the track was colder and the grip level is not so hot. It took two whole days to work through everything we had to test here, but it was OK, and we put together the best bike we could. I think we have really good info from here and we can even improve the bike again before we even start. We've had a good test."
James Toseland - SBK Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider (Best lap time 1'35.2 - Total lap 82);
"For me this test has mostly been about time with the bike. Getting to learn it even more, doing quite a few laps and I tried the qualifying tyres for the first time on a Honda. The first one I put in I was a bit tentative with but on the second one I did a decent time. We went round in circles a bit this morning, so we didn't really improve until this afternoon. We worked on the tyres and then right at the end we changed a bit of the set-up and it gave us another improvement. I think we are nearly there now, largely because of the tests at Almeria and here. I'm looking forward to Qatar, especially with the amount of improvements we have made since the last time we were there."
Sébastien Charpentier - SS Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider (Best lap time 1'37.1 - Total lap 60);
"The good weather helped us again today, and in general the track was OK. I am very happy because my best lap was a 1'37.1. I made a race simulation in the afternoon and my best lap in those conditions was a 1'37.6, with many laps in the 1'38s. I think this was a very good sign because those are very fast lap times. I am OK, ready to race, and my energy is at the maximum. We tested many different solutions, and we did a very good job. I think the team and I are completely ready for Qatar."
Kenan Sofuoglu - SS Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider (Best lap time 1'38.2 - Total lap 83);
"Now I can say I am really happy with the bike and ready for the first race. Today we tried many things on the bike; many different setting and now we have a good set-up. I am very happy. Without pushing I could do 1'38s, and if we had one more test here I think we could make an even better time. I achieved my ambition because I wanted to be connected with the bike. I am getting closer to Sebastien, even if he is very fast right now. For me it would be great if Sebastien comes first and I could be in the top three, or ideally, second!"