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Front row starts for HANNspree Ten Kate Honda

Author: HANNspree Ten Kate Honda
Posted on: Saturday, Mar 03 2007

Track conditions were once again far from ideal, with an earlier Australian national race being declared wet. Although the rain cleared in time for the second Supersport qualifying session this afternoon, it was replaced by a strong, warm breeze that only added to the humid conditions.

Despite this, Charpentier and Sofuoglu recorded their fastest lap times of the weekend to achieve front row positions for round two of the series. Defending world champion Charpentier's best lap now stands at 1'35.346 - over half a second quicker than yesterday and less than two tenths of a second behind fastest rider Fabien Foret.

In a reversal of Friday's qualifying results, championship leader Kenan Sofuoglu finished just behind his team-mate with a best lap of 1'35.480. The Turkish rider improved on his previous best for the weekend by almost half a second. Once again, the top six riders are sitting incredibly close, with a gap of just 0.664 seconds separating the contenders. Only tomorrow's race will decide which one is victorious.

Ronald ten Kate, Team Manager:

"We obviously had a lot of work to do after yesterday's first qualifying. Overnight we made a lot of changes and devised a lot of new strategies on the direction to go in with the bike. It seemed to be working out quite well in the free practice. Just before the second qualifying session we made some extra changes and decided on a final setting for the bike. Unfortunately we were unlucky with the weather and the wind picked up so by the time we got the softer tyres on and were ready to go for the fast laps, we didn't really get the chance. Both riders still managed to improve their lap times so I'm happy with that. It's been hard work today but I'm feeling more and more confident that we can get a race win tomorrow."

Sébastien Charpentier:

"It has not been so bad today. This morning we really improved with the changes to the bike, which the team worked very hard overnight to complete. This afternoon the wind was very strong so it was the same for everybody. I am happy to be on the front row, although it is difficult for me to finish third because I have achieved pole position here before, but it's ok. We'll be making more changes to the bike for the race tomorrow and I think it's a good possibility that I will finish on the podium."

Kenan Sofuoglu:

"I feel better today because we have tried some new things and managed to get our times down. It's been difficult because we had a test here and perfected the set-up of the bike, but it has been impossible to use that set-up here because the weather and track conditions here are completely different. We have had to do a lot of work on the bike, particularly with the suspension and the gearing and I think we have the right setting now. I really feel like I have a good chance of winning the race, or at least making the podium so I am a lot happier today."

Qualifying times:

1 F. Foret 1'35.166
2 K. Curtain 1'35.199
3 S. Charpentier 1'35.346
4 K. Sofuoglu 1'35.480
5 G. Nannelli 1'35.814
6 B. Parkes 1'35.830
7 B. Veneman 1'35.867
8 Y. Tiberio 1'36.248
9 D. Checa 1'36.372
10 S. Gimbert 1'36.403

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