WINSTON TEN KATE HONDA RIDERS TO FORM PERFECT 1-2 ON THE QATAR GRID With dry track conditions gracing the final qualifying session at the 5.380km Losail circuit, the Winston Ten Kate Honda team made the best-possible use of them, monopolising...
WINSTON TEN KATE HONDA RIDERS TO FORM PERFECT 1-2 ON THE QATAR GRID
With dry track conditions gracing the final qualifying session at the 5.380km Losail circuit, the Winston Ten Kate Honda team made the best-possible use of them, monopolising the front two positions on the grid for Saturday's race. World Champion for Winston Ten Kate in 2005, Sebastien Charpentier, got his title defence off to a great start when grid positions were at stake, taking pole with an impressive new best lap time of 2'03.093. It was his 12th career pole position and his second in succession at Losail for the Winston Ten Kate team.
A no less impressive feat for new signing Kenan Sofuoglu was his second fastest lap of the day, putting his in the very position he dreamed off after he set quickest time in Thursday's wet qualifying session. He hoped to be second on the grid in dry conditions, and his dream was realised, thanks to a 2'04.089.
Despite there being 33 bikes involved in the final qualifying session, the Winston Ten Kate Honda team were simply head and shoulders above the rest, with Sofuoglu's nearest challenger, Yamaha rider Kevin Curtain, 0.652 seconds behind the young Turk. Weather conditions for the 18-lap race on Saturday 25th are expected to mirror those in final qualifying, with warm ambient temperatures and a dry track surface.
Ronald Ten Kate -- Team Manager
"That is what you could call a perfect start to the season. It was all the more exciting because there are many new bikes around this season, so it is satisfying to know that the Honda CBR600RR is still the front-running bike in the field. Sebastien we know was fast here in winter testing but to see Kenan doing so well in his first ever qualifying session for our team justifies all the work we have done in the winter. By tomorrow morning, and for the race, I think that the race set-up we used at the beginning of the session will be pretty good and the tyres seem to be lasting well for us. The work of today has paid off, but the important part is tomorrow and we will try to take as many points as possible from here."
Sebastien Charpentier -- WSS Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider
(Pole position -- 2'03.093)
"A good day today with a 1-2, a good result for the team, the same as last year when it was Katsuaki Fujiwara and I who were first and second. I feel good about the bike and things are moving forward. I think tomorrow should be good for us. There was a little confusion first thing this morning because the Supersport bikes go out before anyone else and the track was very slippery after so much rain yesterday. Eighteen laps will be good fun tomorrow, and we have probably reached the maximum potential of the bike in qualifying. Tomorrow I will try a new race set-up anyway, but we know we are ready for the race."
Kenan Sofuoglu -- WSS Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider
(2nd position -- 2'04.089)
"It was very important for me to test myself, because in the first two races I will learn the most and then I can hopefully grow step-by-step. After the first dry qualifying, to be in second position, is like a dream. We will see what happens tomorrow, but for today I have to thank Honda and my team for giving me this chance and my mechanics who have made such a fast bike for me."