Phillip Island: Ten Kate Honda preview

AUSTRALIAN DUO GEAR UP FOR HOME ROUND Winston Ten Kate Honda's World Superbike pairing of Chris Vermeulen and Karl Muggeridge head to Phillip Island in Australia this weekend for round two of the 2005 season. Respectively from Brisbane and Tweed...

AUSTRALIAN DUO GEAR UP FOR HOME ROUND

Winston Ten Kate Honda's World Superbike pairing of Chris Vermeulen and Karl Muggeridge head to Phillip Island in Australia this weekend for round two of the 2005 season. Respectively from Brisbane and Tweed Heads in New South Wales, the two will approach this event as their home round and will be keen to perform well on the Honda CBR1000RR.

Vermeulen left the first round at Losail in Qatar last month in fourth place overall after finishing eighth and fourth in the two races. Muggeridge took a top ten finish in his debut Superbike race but crashed out of race two. With a solid test at Valencia two weeks ago, however, both riders made the type of progress they had sought pre-season and now feel competitive enough to improve their championship standings. The weekend's activities kick off with practice and qualifying sessions on Friday, with Saturday's Superpole session used to determine final grid positions for Sunday's two races.

Ronald ten Kate - team manager:

"Phillip Island is like a second home to the team - especially with our two Australian riders. We've had good success there in the past and Chris took two second places in our first year with the CBR1000RR last season. The recent Valencia test at last gave us the chance to do some development work on the bike and gave both riders some good amounts of track time so we head to Australia in a positive frame of mind. In terms of set-up for the bike, we know which direction we need to be heading in now so we'll be using chassis parts and settings from Valencia to make sure we're competitive, because this round is really where our season starts."

Chris Vermeulen - championship position 4th, 21 points:

"It's always good to come home to race and I've had a couple of weeks to acclimatise at my parents' house in Brisbane. I've been doing some flying hours towards my pilot's licence, some training and cruising around in my F100 pick-up, so I'm feeling pretty relaxed. I really like the Phillip Island circuit - I won my first World Supersport race there in 2003 and came away with top points last year on the Superbike. With family and friends around it helps to relax but it's also an incentive to do well. The Valencia test gave us a chance to put some laps in and showed us that we're going the right way with the bike so I'm confident that we can do well this weekend."

Karl Muggeridge - championship position 12th, 7 points:

"For various reasons, the first round in Qatar wasn't that fantastic but the great thing with this team is that we didn't panic. I've said from the start that I'm not going to make any wild predictions for my first year in Superbikes because that'll only put pressure on me. I just want to make steady progress each time I go out on the bike and the Valencia test was really the first opportunity to do that. It showed that with some time on the bike I can be competitive and I'm looking to push that forward at Phillip Island this weekend. Of course, I've got friends and family coming down to cheer me on which will be great but it won't be until after the race that I can really relax with them."

Phillip Island World Superbike event schedule: Friday 1 April - 10.30-11.30 free practice, 14.15-15.15 qualifying; Saturday 2 April - 11.00-12.00 qualifying, 14.45-15.45 free practice, 16.00 Superpole; Sunday 3 April - 09.20-09.40 warm-up, 12.00 race one (22 laps, 97.79km), 15.30 race two (22 laps, 97.79km).

-tkh-

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Chris Vermeulen , Karl Muggeridge , Phillip Island