WINSTON'S VERMEULEN SCORCHES TO MAIDEN POLE AT ASSEN
Chris Vermeulen secured his and the Winston Ten Kate Honda team's first World Superbike pole position by setting the fastest time in today's Superpole event at Assen in Holland. The Australian, who won race two at Assen last year, completed an almost flawless Superpole lap of 2m04.179s in warm sunshine.
Vermeulen's team-mate, Karl Muggeridge, will line up in fifth place on the grid for tomorrow's two 16-lap, ninth round races at the 5.9km Dutch circuit after going into Superpole with the third fastest time from regulation qualifying.
Ronald ten Kate - team manager:
"I'm really happy and excited about our first World Superbike pole position. We've been close on a number of occasions but it's great to do it here in front of all our guests at our home round. Chris has done a great job today and rode a really good lap but he's also been running at a good pace on race tyres, so I think we're ready to race tomorrow. Karl's feeling pretty good with his race set-up too, and it's a pity he got pipped for the final front row slot. But, in contrast to Chris, he had a few moments on his lap and that's Superpole for you. We'll confirm a few settings in warm- up tomorrow and we're looking forward to the races."
Chris Vermeulen - pole position, 2m04.179s
"It was a good lap but not perfect - there are always areas where you think you can go a little fastest and things on the bike that can be better. But the bike is definitely feeling good and the team's been working hard all weekend to get it working a little better around here. I didn't use a qualifier at all until this afternoon's free practice and qualified in ninth place for Superpole. Maybe that suits me better than sitting around and waiting to go as one of the last riders. It feels good to have my first pole position but, to be honest, as long as I start on the front row, I'm fine. I love racing here at Assen - it's such a special place - and I'll be doing my best in the two races tomorrow."
Karl Muggeridge - fifth fastest, 2m05.256s
"That was one of the worst laps I've done all weekend so I'm not too happy. There was a lot of wind out there but I also made a few mistakes. The trouble with it being such a long lap here at Assen is that one mistake can stretch for a long time and mess up the rest of the lap for you. Maybe it would be better to do the same as Chris and not wait around for such a long time for your Superpole lap. After all that, though, the bike has been getting better and better with each session this weekend. We seem to have got it set up so it can still work later in the race when the grip begins to drop off. In the longer runs we've been doing here, the tyres are lasting long enough to stay up there in the race."