World Supersport Championship leader Kenan Sofuoglu secured his second pole position of the 2007 series at Assen Circuit in The Netherlands today. Team-mate Sébastien Charpentier continued his incredible comeback by securing second place on the grid, while temporary rider Andrew Pitt will start from seventh position.
This afternoon's second qualifying session was almost dominated by the HANNspree Ten Kate Honda riders. At one point the timesheet showed Charpentier, Sofuoglu and Pitt in the first, second and third places respectively. Charpentier proved that he is more than ready to race tomorrow by setting a blistering time of 1'41.192, smashing the Assen best lap he set in 2006.
The Frenchman's time remained the fastest for the majority of the 45-minute session until team-mate Sofuoglu just managed to displace him with a lap of 1'41.144. Incredibly, the two riders' final times were separated by just 0.048 seconds. Tomorrow's race promises to be a close run for the duo as they take the top two spots on the grid.
Pitt once again had trouble with slower moving traffic on track and was unable to hold onto this third place on the time sheet. He settled for a place on the second row of the grid. However he is confident that he can put in a strong performance for HANNspree Ten Kate Honda in tomorrow's 21-lap race.
Ronald ten Kate, Team Manager:
"In racing we always strive for perfection and we almost got perfection today in the Supersport qualifying. It looked like our three riders were going to take the top three spots in the front row, but then Andrew ran into traffic on his last qualifying tyre and was unable to hold on to the third place. He only has one bike so at the end of the session he had to be a little bit reserved, but still big compliments to him because he was only one tenth away from the front row.
As for Sébastien - what a comeback he has made so far. This morning he raised the bar by beating the best lap. This has given some great motivation to Kenan, who managed to just beat Sébastien's best lap with a virtually identical time. It just shows what great pair of permanent riders we have. So, we are almost ready to race tomorrow - maybe we can reach perfection then!"
"I am really happy with today. In the morning I practiced race distance because my ambition every weekend is to make the first row in qualifying and to make good race distance. This morning my race distance was really good, but I was thinking it would be difficult to stay in the front row because a lot of riders were doing fast laps. When I went out on the last tyre I was just thinking that I had to do one really fast lap to stay in the front row. I am really surprised because there were riders in front of me on my fastest lap. Although my aim is just to be on the front row - pole position is great and I am really, really happy."
"Today was a good day for me. I really like the new CBR600RR - it's a great bike, it's stronger and I have a much better feeling on it. I have worked really hard today, especially in the session this morning. This afternoon I made a good lap time again and I was even faster than this morning. In the last five minutes I went out on track to try and put in a fast lap but there were too many riders in the way. I am a little bit disappointed but overall I am happy about my comeback - it's not a bad situation at all. I hope I will be ok for the race because I still not completely sure about the distance I can do. Not because I am in pain, but because after one month break racing is not easy on the body. At the moment my right leg is hurting, but I think I have a good chance of reaching the podium tomorrow."
"I'm a bit disappointed really. We've found a good direction with the bike - the bike is perfect. There's just too many guys out there who don't look around and get out of the way for riders on a faster lap. I had to abort my fast lap on the tyre at the end twice. I tried to start it twice and had to stop half way though. By the time I was clear the tyre was on its way out. For the race we are looking ok - the race pace is as good as anyone and the bike's working well."
- 1. K. Sofuoglu - 1'41.144
- 2. S. Charpentier - 1'41.192
- 3. B. Parkes - 1'41.595
- 4. F. Foret - 1'41.618
- 5. M. Roccoli - 1'41.672
- 6. S. Martin - 1'41.684
- 7. A. Pitt - 1'41.761
- 8. K. Fujiwara - 1'41.835
- 9. D. Salom - 1'42.043
- 10. V. Ivanov - 1'42.322