World Supersport Championship leader Kenan Sofuoglu hit the hat trick at Monza today as he secured his third pole position in as many races. The Turkish rider will start tomorrow's 16-lap race at the 5.793km circuit from the top spot on the grid with team-mate Sébastien Charpentier alongside him in second position.
Sofuoglu's focus for the morning free practice was on race distance. He put in an impressive performance, setting a succession of consistently fast laps to remain at the top of the timesheet for the majority of the session. He followed this up in the official qualifying by setting a blistering time of 1'50.459 - beating the Monza best Supersport lap set by Charpentier yesterday and securing the premier spot on the grid.
Charpentier was unable to improve on the lap time he set in the first qualifying session, however this was still enough to secure second place on the grid. This is the second consecutive race in which HANNspree Ten Kate Honda has dominated the front row and the team has high hopes that this can translate to a one-two on the podium tomorrow.
Ronald ten Kate, Team Manager:
"Obviously we are very pleased with the result. To get first and second on the grid is even more important at Monza because the riders can be in the front immediately to ensure they don't miss out on the slipstream fight. This morning Kenan did almost a full race distance and he was setting amazingly fast times. He was very close to the best lap and not too far from the lap record so it seems we have a good race set-up for tomorrow. Sébastien couldn't improve on yesterday's time but I'm quite sure that his bike has a good set-up for the race as well. We know that racing here is tough with the main straights and all the slipstreaming that goes on but I am hoping that our boys can work together to open up a gap and take off by themselves."
"I am really happy and surprised because I am not usually a pole man but for the last three races I have been on pole. I was actually more pleased this morning because I did a really fast race distance, which is the most important thing for tomorrow. After the free practice this morning I told myself that I only needed to put in one fast lap this afternoon to stay in the front row and if I can do that I would be happy. I ended up getting the pole, but I am concentrating on tomorrow. Of course I would like to win the race, but I will be satisfied with a place on the podium."
"I am not too happy to finish second because this is not normal for me. I tried my best but the set-up is not perfect yet. I lost some time on the chicane. The racing tomorrow will be ok I think, we have decided which tyres we will use and I will work hard in the warm-up to get ready. I am hoping that the weather stays the same as it has been today. I will do my best and I hope that I can finish on the podium to get a good result for myself and my team."
- 1. K. Sofuoglu, 1'50.459
- 2. S. Charpentier, 1'50.711
- 3. K. Fujiwara, 1'50.817
- 4. B. Parkes, 1'50.903
- 5. G. Nannelli, 1'51.006
- 6. F. Foret, 1'5.0714
- 7. B. Veneman, 1'51.370
- 8. M Roccolli, 1'51.420
- 9. R. Harms, 1'51.664
- 10. D. Salom, 1'51.711