World Supersport Test, 4-6 December 2005
Losail Circuit, Doha -- Qatar
CHARPENTIER SIGNALS 2006 INTENT AT QATAR TEST
Winston Ten Kate Honda's 2005 World Supersport champion, Sebastien Charpentier, has signalled his intentions for the 2006 campaign with a successful three-day Pirelli tyre test in Qatar. The Losail circuit, on the outskirts of the capital Doha, will host the opening round of next season's championship on 25 February 2006.
Charpentier was joined at the Qatar test by Kenan Sofuoglu, the Turkish rider who finished second in the 2005 European Superstock championship. The 21-year-old from Adapazari in Turkey spent the three-day test getting accustomed to Winston Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR and the Losail circuit, which he had not ridden before.
Ronald ten Kate -- team manager
"With Kenan being new to the bike, the team and the circuit, it was down to Sebastien to do most of the testing we had planned here. He had a big programme and managed to get through it all and improve on his pole position time from last season by around two seconds. In his race simulations he was also able to confirm consistently faster laps than the race here in February. Sebastien has proved that we still have some things up our sleeve with the Honda CBR600RR for 2006. The decision to bring Kenan out here to test was taken only very recently and he had a bit of a rush to get here and prepare. We are very happy with his performance though; he was able to lap quicker than the fastest lap in last season's race and, more importantly, he made significant progress on each day of the test to improve his times. We shouldn't compare his time to Sebastien's because he was on the 2005 specification machine and everything was entirely new to him. Kenan has shown that there is plenty of potential and I'm sure he will do even better in time."
Sebastien Charpentier -- best time: 2m01.8s
"This has been a very good test for me, with grip levels about the same as when we were here in February. The weather has been very good on all three days and this has allowed us to get through a lot of work and try a lot of new things. Pirelli brought some good new tyres and we found a stable compound for the front, which is good for many fast laps. We also worked hard on the suspension and balance of the CBR and completed a fast race simulation. It was a very good three days and, with the deeper understanding between myself, the bike and the team that was learned this year, we are all feeling very strong and confident for the 2006 season."
Kenan Sofuoglu -- best time: 2m04.5s
"This was a difficult test for me because I only found out about a week ago that I was going to come here. But it hasn't been so bad and I really enjoyed getting to know the track and the team. I like everything about this team and the CBR is completely different to my Superstock machine -- it's so much easier to hold a line. I followed Sebastien a few times during the early part of the test and realised I was using completely different lines. In Supersport its much more important to carry a high corner speed and this is the area that I need to work hard on. I hope to be able to do that at another test soon."