Phillip Island: Ten Kate Honda Supersport team preview

TEN KATE LOOKS TO MAINTAIN SUPERSPORT DOMINATION The Winston Ten Kate Honda World Supersport approaches this weekend's second round of the 2005 championship at Phillip island, Australia with one thing in mind: to maintain its stranglehold on the...

TEN KATE LOOKS TO MAINTAIN SUPERSPORT DOMINATION

The Winston Ten Kate Honda World Supersport approaches this weekend's second round of the 2005 championship at Phillip island, Australia with one thing in mind: to maintain its stranglehold on the class that has secured the last three world titles and continued this year since the first official test at Losail in Qatar in February. The team's two riders, Sebastien Charpentier and Katsuaki Fujiwara, have headed the time sheets in virtually every practice session, underlining their domination with a one- two finish in the opening round.

Although Charpentier had qualified in pole position for the Losail event, it was Fujiwara that lit up the race with a last-to-first charge after he stalled his Honda CBR600RR at the start from second place on the grid. The pair carried their good form back to Europe for an official test at Valencia in Spain just over two weeks ago, heading the time sheets once more with Charpentier back on top.

Ronald ten Kate - team manager:

"Of course it was a dream start for the team at the first round in Qatar. We have a heavily revised CBR600RR this season and two new riders, so everybody had a great deal to learn. The fact that we have been so dominant simply shows how hard the team and riders have been working, learning to operate together. And, of course, it shows how good the Honda CBR600RR really is! We'll start at Phillip Island with pretty much the same chassis settings that were working so well at the recent Valencia test where Sebastien was on fire and making really good progress. Katsuaki is still learning how the Honda works and how we work as a team but his win in Qatar was fantastic for everyone. We're looking forward to keeping both riders on top in Australia."

Katsuaki Fujiwara - championship position 1st, 25 points

"I think I made the right move in joining the Ten Kate team on the new Honda CBR for this season! It was fantastic for me to win in Qatar but I have also been getting used to the bike and my new team. The test at Valencia was another chance to make some progress and we worked mostly on the front of the bike because that gave us some problems in the first race. I'm really looking forward to Phillip Island and, although last year was not so good for me, I still have the lap record from the race in 2003 when I finished second behind Chris Vermeulen. I have spent the last couple of weeks back home in Japan relaxing with my family and with some people from Honda's R&D department who threw a party to celebrate my win in Qatar."

Sebastien Charpentier - championship position 2nd, 20 points

"The Valencia test was very important for me to understand the front end problems I had in Qatar. Everything went really well during the test there; I qualified in pole position for the race and had a really good lead after about six or seven laps. But then the problems started and Katsuaki came past me with about two laps to go. I was disappointed at the time but it was great for the team to get a one-two finish at the very first race. Now we go to Phillip Island where I finished fifth last year on the CBR600RR. The bike has really been improved for this season though and now I'm on a Ten Kate CBR, so I am confident that I can improve my result and go for another win for this incredible team."

Phillip Island World Supersport event schedule: Friday 1 April - 09.35- 10.20 free practice, 13.15-14.00 qualifying; Saturday 2 April - 10.00-10.45 free practice, 13.45-14.30 qualifying; Sunday 3 April 09.50-10.10 warm-up, 13.20 race (21 laps, 93.345km).

-tkh-

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Katsuaki Fujiwara , Chris Vermeulen , Sébastien Charpentier , Phillip Island