Sofuoglu secures full set of front rows
HANNspree Ten Kate Honda's Kenan Sofuoglu will start the final race of the 2007 World Supersport Championship at Magny-Cours from pole position. The feat will see him complete the season having started from the front row at all 13 rounds. Sebastien Charpentier qualified as the third fastest rider to join his team-mate on the top line of the grid for the eighth time this year.
Heavy fog hanging over the 4.411km French circuit delayed this morning's free practice. However, Sofuoglu and Charpentier ventured out onto the track and performed well under the difficult conditions, finishing in the two top spots on the timesheet.
The weather cleared in time for the afternoon qualifying, which turned out to be one of the most impressive sessions of the season so far. It began with Sofuoglu setting the fastest lap early on, then beating the existing Magny-Cours best lap with a time of 1'42.419. It didn't take long for Charpentier to better this as he set out on a fast lap that shaved two tenths of a second off his team-mate's time.
Not one to accept defeat, Sofuoglu headed back out and secured a blistering lap of 1'42.057. Charpentier was about to retaliate when an unfortunate mistake caused him to crash out of the session. The Frenchman was forced to retire and settled into third place while Sofuoglu claimed his fifth pole position of the 2007 season.
Ronald ten Kate, Team Manager:
"The last qualifying session of the season was actually one of the best. Everybody was pushing hard but Kenan came out on top, which is nice to see before he leaves the Supersport class. It was a pity that Sebastien crashed out because we know what he has in him when it comes to securing pole positions.
"Kenan's result also marks the first ever pole position in motorcycle racing for a semi-active rear shock suspension system. We have been testing this system over the last few rounds, but this was the first time we used it in an official qualifying session. We developed the system together with WP Suspension and we used it here for the first time outright in all the qualifying sessions. It is great to see such a promising result with it."
"I am really happy with today. It is important for me to be in the front row and I have achieved that at every round this season so I'm pleased to make it a full 13 front rows. To get pole here is even better because this was the last Supersport qualifying for me and I wanted to go out in top. I can't say that I have achieved all my ambitions this weekend though because it is really all about tomorrow. I am really looking forward to the race. I have got a good race set-up and I am ready to aim for the podium."
"I touched a curb in the last ten minutes there so I couldn't try and beat the best lap again. I have no injuries and I hope the bike is ok because I have a really good set-up. I am ready for the race - I've been out and done many laps and I am feeling confident. Thanks again to the mechanics for all their hard work."