WINSTON'S CHAMPION CHARPENTIER HEADS HOME
Winston Ten Kate Honda rider Sebastien Charpentier heads for his home race in this weekend's World Supersport championship finale at Magny-Cours in France. Although the 32-year-old Frenchman secured the 2005 World Supersport championship a month ago at Assen, he has not scored a single point since, after crashing out at Lausitz in Germany and missing last weekend's Imola race through injury.
His Japanese team-mate, Katsuaki Fujiwara, also missed last Sunday's race following a crash on his first free practice lap on Friday morning. The winner of two races this season is keen to maintain third place in the 2005 World Supersport championship standings and to finish his first season on Honda's CBR600RR on a high note.
Ronald ten Kate -- team manager:
"Imola was definitely one of the most unusual and difficult race weekends for us, with Kats crashing on Friday and Sebastien on Saturday, and both riders missing the race on Sunday. Hopefully they will have both recovered sufficiently for us to pick up the job where we left it on Friday in Imola -- with Sebastien setting the pole position time after completing just seven qualifying laps. The fact that nobody was able to improve on his time the following day makes us wonder what his performance might have been like in the race. It's been a difficult couple of races actually, since Sebastien won the title in Assen and we enjoyed that incredible high. The whole team and everyone else involved are looking forward to the perfect end to this almost perfect season at Magny-Cours."
Sebastien Charpentier -- championship position 1st, 210 points (World Supersport Champion 2005):
"It was a strange and very bad situation at Imola but, when I saw the conditions on Sunday, I was glad I had made the decision not to race. The Supersport event was very difficult for all the riders and I was happy that I had won the title back in Assen! Now I have a fight to be fit enough to ride at Magny-Cours. I saw my specialist in Paris on Tuesday and he has advised me not to ride but you know what doctors are like. I prefer to leave it until Thursday to make the decision. At the moment, I'm really looking forward to riding for my friends and family and the French crowd at Magny-Cours and can't wait for this climax to a fantastic season for me and my whole team."
Katsuaki Fujiwara -- championship position 3rd, 140 points:
"I had a big crash at Imola and have some bruises all over my body, as well as a broken finger. But I have been improving every day since last weekend and I think that by next Friday at Magny-Cours, my only problem will be using the clutch with my broken finger. We will try with the mechanics to make the clutch action as light as possible so that I can race properly this weekend. Unfortunately, because I missed the race at Imola, I cannot retake second place in the championship but I am determined to finish in the top three by winning the race on Sunday."
World Supersport Championship points after 11 of 12 rounds: 1 Sebastien Charpentier FRA (Winston Ten Kate Honda) 210, 2 Kevin Curtain AUS (Yamaha) 167, 3 Katsuaki Fujiwara JPN (Winston Ten Kate Honda) 140, 4 Fabien Foret FRA (Honda) 131, 5 Michel Fabrizio ITA (Honda) 122, 6 Broc Parkes AUS (Yamaha) 100, 7 Stephane Chambon FRA (Honda) 86, 8 Gianluca Nannelli ITA (Ducati) 56, 9 Javier Fores ESP (Suzuki) 60, 10 Tauto Lauslehto FIN (Honda) 56.
Magny-Cours World Supersport event schedule: Friday 7 October -- 09.35-10.20 free practice, 13.15-14.00 qualifying; Saturday 8 October -- 10.00-10.45 free practice, 13.45-14.30 qualifying; Sunday 9 October -- 09.50-10.10 warm-up, 13.20 race (23 laps -- 101.453 km).