CHARPENTIER AND SOFULOFLU GO 1-2 ON OPENING DAY
Despite suffering a crash in the middle of the first qualifying session of the Imola weekend Sebastien Charpentier (Winston Ten Kate Honda) took a stunning provisional pole time of 1'52.842, almost a second faster than his championship rival Kevin Curtain, and only close to being matched by Charpentier's on-form team-mate, Kenan Sofuoglu (Winston Ten Kate Honda), who finished his first day of Imola Supersport action second quickest.
After his fall Charpentier had to jump on his second machine to set his very best time, at a new layout of Imola circuit, deposing Sofuoglu from provisional pole spot in the process. Sofuoglu has been the winner of the most recent two races in the championship, at Assen and Lausitz, and hopes to score at least a podium at Imola after his impressive opening day.
Ronald Ten Kate -- Team Manager
"The best possible start to the weekend and we know from the evidence of the last few years that this is a good track for us around here. The riders have done an almost perfect job for us today, putting in incredible lap times. The track has slowed down a bit but we can see almost the same times as we set before. That is impressive. We had a small problem when Sebastien had a crash on his number one machine. That upset things a bit because we had to swap to his second machine and that cost us time, because the set-up was quite different to start with. But he still set his best time on his number two bike. For Kenan it looked like he would top the sheets until Sebastien had his final say. We are happy, especially because being almost a second ahead of the field now means we can concentrate quite a bit on just racing set-up, instead of chasing a single fast lap. All we can do at the moment is win as many races as we can and see what the championship will bring."
Sebastien Charpentier -- Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider
(Pole position -- Fastest lap 1'52.842 -- 12 laps)
"I feel good at the moment, I just made a small mistake. I crashed on a slow corner, losing the front, nothing special. I am happy to be here because I like the country we are in, and the track. For me it is the best track for a motorcycle rider. I'll be working hard tomorrow again, we will maybe try a different set-up to find a better one, and I am really confident for the rest of the weekend."
Kenan Sofuoglu -- Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider (2nd position -- Fastest lap 1'53.081 -- 15 laps)
"It's OK so far because I came here for the first time on the 600 and I like the track. My lap times are good and quite close to Sebastien and I'm sure I can improve tomorrow, and maybe even take the pole. I will give most of my concentration to the race, because I want to be really strong there. It's good to be fast now but I have to keep it until Sunday, as I really want a podium finish here."
-credit: ten kate honda