HANNspree Ten Kate Honda's World Supersport riders secured places on the provisional front row for round seven of championship at Silverstone today. Kenan Sofuoglu completed the 45-minute first qualifying session with the fastest time, with team-mate Sébastien Charpentier not far behind in second position.
The predicted rain stayed at bay for the morning free practice and the majority of the afternoon qualifying session. Sofuoglu continued his stunning form by setting the fastest lap a total of eight times throughout the sessions. He finished the day by smashing the existing best Silverstone Supersport lap with a blistering time of 1'27.937 - almost second faster than the 2006 best lap time.
Charpentier was also on top form today, proving once again that he is back to full fitness. The Frenchman set his best time within two laps of the 3.561km circuit and was on line to improve this even further when a small mistake forced him off the CBR600RR. He re-joined the session uninjured and finished with a final best time of 1'28.178 - within two tenths of a second of his team-mate.
With rain forecast for tomorrow's second session, it is possible that today's times could dictate the grid line-up for Sunday's race, meaning that HANNspree Ten Kate Honda would fill the top two positions for the second consecutive round.
Ronald ten Kate, Team Manager:
"Today has been a very good start to the weekend with the riders first and second on the timesheets. With rain forecast for tomorrow, it was very important for us to be at the top in what could be the only dry qualifying we have this weekend. For Kenan is already three seconds faster than his fastest lap time from last year, so that's very, very impressive. He was a bit worried coming to Silverstone because last year his results were not so good but this year is really a new year for him so big compliments to him for the improvement.
"We have changed quite a bit on Sébastien's bike and it just getting better and better for him. It was a pity to see him crash out when he was on a real fast lap, but anyway he is back on track and his confidence is coming back so let' see what happens tomorrow. We couldn't have had a better start to the weekend."
"We are now very close to the perfect set-up for my riding style. Everybody in the team has worked so hard for this and they really understand my needs more than before. I think now I have found a good direction and I am pushing more and more to find my limit in the front. I hope the weather is nice tomorrow so I can push for the front position. I want to get the pole and I want to make the best set-up possible for my bike for the race. It is not easy now though - it's not easy for anybody in these conditions - but I am a lot happier than before, that's for sure."
"I was really nervous in the build-up to Silverstone because last year I had a really bad result, I was 20th in the race. There was really a big question mark over how I was going to do here - I just had no idea. Already I am three seconds faster than last year so it's going really well. However, we still have to work very hard because tomorrow we don't know if it will be dry or wet. I want to keep the good lap time to stay in the front row but I also want to work on my race distance. We will not make a plan for tomorrow until the morning when we see what the weather is like."
- 1. K. Sofuoglu - 1'27.937
- 2. S. Charpentier - 1'28.178
- 3. B. Parkes - 1'28.189
- 4. R. Harms - 1'28.384
- 5. C. Jones - 1'28.389
- 6. P. Riba - 1'28.759
- 7. M. Roccoli - 1'28.787
- 8. D. Checa - 1'28.805
- 9. K. Fores - 1'28.919
- 10. B. Veneman - 1'28.997