HANNspree Ten Kate Honda's home round of the 2007 World Supersport Championship began in style today as inujred rider Sébastien Charpentier made an impressive comeback. The Frenchman set the fastest lap time in the first qualifying session, while team-mates Kenan Sofuoglu and Andrew Pitt finished in third and ninth places respectively.
Having missed out on the fourth round race in Valencia due to his pelvic injuries, Charpentier was determined to prove his fitness at his team's home track. He set about doing this by securing the fastest lap in both the free practice and the official qualifying session. His final time was 1'42.174 - just 0.268 seconds behind the Supersport best lap at Assen, set by Charpentier in 2006.
Sofuolglu was on top form once again as he secured the fastest lap five times during the morning free practice. He followed this up in the official session by shaving almost a full second off his practice time and qualifying in third position with a best lap of 1'42.482.
Temporary rider Andrew Pitt experienced problems when he got caught up in slow traffic towards the end of the 45-minute session. However, he is happy with the set-up of the CBR600RR and looks forward to improving on his position tomorrow.
Ronald ten Kate, Team Manager:
"We've had a good start to the weekend today. I am truly happy to see Sébastien on top of the timesheets again. His new helmet says 'on a mission' and that is exactly what he is! It is nice to have him back with us in the garage. Kenan did a good job today and has made good progress in getting onto the provisional front row.
With Andrew, everything was looking fine. We did a long run on race tyres, then we wanted to test a softer tyre but unfortunately he got stuck in traffic. We are confident that he can move up the timesheets tomorrow. The team has quite a bit of work to do because we still have to shave around half a second off the time of the boys - we have made good progress but we are not done yet."
"I am really happy to come back at Assen because it is the home race of the Ten Kate team and we are lucky to have good conditions today. I worked really hard after my crash and for the moment I am ok. The bike is running well, the team has worked hard and they have managed to improve the new CBR600RR even further. For tomorrow we will make some small changes, but nothing special - I am ok, the bike is ok and I am happy to be back with my team."
"Today was not too bad. I am happy because we have been trying something new with the clutch on the bike and it seems to be working very well. I have had problems with the clutch since the beginning of the season but now we seem to be sorting that out and it gets better every time I use it. I am pleased with the lap times as I am getting faster with each lap. Tomorrow morning I will go race distance. My ambition is the same as usual - to be in the front row. This is always where I want to be and that is what I will set my sights on tomorrow."
"We put the soft tyre on the end there and I just got caught up with a lot of guys on the track. By the time I got a clear lap it was lap four or five on the tyre and it was starting to move around a bit. Anyway, we did a long run and we have ruled out the tyre that we don't want to use so it's ok. We won't be changing the bike too much - I just need to do some more laps."
- 1. S. Charpentier - 1'42.174
- 2. B. Parkes - 1'42.191
- 3. K. Sofuoglu - 1'42.482
- 4. F. Foret - 1'42.755
- 5. V. Kallio - 1'42.773
- 6. B. Veneman - 1'42.875
- 7. D. Salom - 1'43.000
- 8. M. Roccoli - 1'43.010
- 9. A. Pitt - 1'43.040
- 10. K. Fujiwara - 1'43.167