World Supersport Championship leader Kenan Sofuoglu secured his first ever pole position at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia today. The young Turkish rider will start tomorrow's 23-lap race from the top spot for HANNspree Ten Kate Honda. His temporary team-mate Andrew Pitt qualified in fifth position to reserve his place on the second row.
Rain fell on the 4km Spanish track for much of last night and today making riding conditions slippery and dangerous. Both the morning free practice and the afternoon qualifying were declared wet and the slower lap times resulted in yesterday's first official session determining the grid line-up. Sofuoglu's fastest lap time was 1'37.521, while Pitt's best stands at 1'38.478.
With more rain forecast for tomorrow, the focus for both HANNspree Ten Kate Honda riders was on finding the best set-up for the wet weather. The team is confident that Sofuoglu and Pitt are ready for whatever the Spanish climate will throw at them as they aim for podium finishes in tomorrow's race.
Pitt is riding for HANNspree Ten Kate Honda in place of injured rider Sébastien Charpentier. The Frenchman is well on the road to recovery and still plans to rejoin the team in Assen in two weeks time.
Ronald ten Kate, Team Manager:
"The work for starting grid positions was done yesterday but the job of preparing for the race has been done today. The forecast for tomorrow is more rain so we have been concentrating on finding a good set-up for those circumstances. Andrew has adapted quickly to the wet conditions and performed well today. Kenan is of course under more pressure in these conditions - on one hand he doesn't want to push too hard and crash out but on the other hand we have to work to find the right set-up. He has raced in the rain before - in fact his first World Supersport race was in the rain at Assen. We know that Kenan is capable of getting a podium finish in wet or dry conditions so we are hopeful for tomorrow."
"I am happy with the pole position for the race, but for me the most important thing is to race well. I really hope that it is dry tomorrow, but either way I just want to be consistent and pick up the points for the team. As always, I will do my best."
"This morning the track surface was wet but it wasn't actually raining. I did pretty well and was quickest for most of the session. I had a good feeling with the bike in the wet. We had a few issues that we wanted to try and resolve so this afternoon we have been concentrating on that. There was a lot more surface water but I think we have managed to sort the issues out. Whether it is wet or dry tomorrow we hopefully have it covered both ways."
- 1. K. Sofuoglu, 1'37.521
- 2. K. Fujiwara, 1'37.729
- 3. K. Curtain, 1'37.885
- 4. P. Riba, 1'38.095
- 5. A. Pitt, 1'38.478
- 6. F. Foret, 1'38.524
- 7. B. Veneman, 1'38.532
- 8. G. Nannelli, 1'38.564
- 9. R. Harms, 1'38.568
- 10. J. Lascorz, 1'38.649