Assen: Ten Kate Honda Saturday qualifying report

Again front rows in WSS and SBK Muggeridge Maintains A Tight Grip At Assen Karl Muggeridge (Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) secured his seventh pole start in the 2004 season, thanks to the provisional pole time he set on the opening day of qualifying.

Again front rows in WSS and SBK

Muggeridge Maintains A Tight Grip At Assen

Karl Muggeridge (Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) secured his seventh pole start in the 2004 season, thanks to the provisional pole time he set on the opening day of qualifying. His mark of 2:06.249 was not seriously threatened for most of the final 45-minute session, which was interrupted after an oil spill reduced track adhesion during the early stages.

Muggeridge's team-mate Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) secured a front row start with his fourth place time, a time which could have been improved on but for an inopportune bit of timing; the chequered flag stopping him from securing one final quick lap by the margin of only three seconds.

The front row for the 16-lap Supersport race on Sunday comprises Muggeridge, Honda rider Sebastien Charpentier, Yamaha wild card Andrew Pitt (Yamaha) and Parkes. Jurgen van den Goorbergh (Yamaha), Muggeridge's closest championship challenger, could only finish seventh fastest.

Muggeridge's seventh pole of the year took his career total to 14, yet another high for the all time World Supersport pole position record. Muggeridge was nonetheless disappointed not to improve on his Friday time, despite spending almost the entire session working on a race set-up. "So far so good. I was disappointed not to improve my time from yesterday but I should have put a new front tyre in and we didn't have time to with the interrupted session. But the bike is good on race tyres and we're fast. We'll see what happens tomorrow."

Parkes was disappointed to miss out on a possible better grid placing but satisfied with a front row start and a good machine set-up. "The front row is OK. I'm pretty confident for the race, and happy with the front row. I'm supposed to be a racer so I hope I can do better tomorrow."

Team Manager Ronald Ten Kate stated, "We didn't worry about the lap time so much. We saw people getting a little bit close to us so at the end Karl gave it another shot, but at that time his front tyre had passed it best. Broc was unlucky because he missed out on a final clear lap by three seconds. He was the first man to see the flag. There is a particular problem round here with the lap times being so high it is easy to miss out. We thought we had it all covered. He was going well and we could have expected an improvement on his time but a front row start is always good work. I'm happy. I'm particularly ple ased that Karl has done so well at this stage of the season, with a big points lead. It shows how mentally strong he is at the moment."

Assen: Vermeulen On Front Row

Chris Vermeulen (Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) secured a front row start for his team's home SBK race after a Superpole lap spent fighting some peculiar traction concerns around the high speed Assen circuit. Vermeulen chose to use the same spec of rear qualifying tyre as he had tested in regulation qualifying, but could not quite replicate third place in these circumstances and had to take fourth in Superpole.

Finishing in the top quartet still leaves him in an excellent position for Sunday's race, sharing the front row with Superpole winner Pierfrancesco Chili (Ducati), James Toseland (Ducati) and Regis Laconi (Ducati).

It had been a tough qualifying all round for Vermeulen, at his first Assen meeting on the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade. "We had the same tyre in as during qualifying but it just didn't react the way I thought it would. Despite that, the bike is getting better and better around here. Set-up has proved difficult so far and we have a lot of chatter, especially under braking from high speed and we haven't had that all year. No matter which tyre we use, or what suspension setting we've tried we haven't got rid of it yet. The rest of the bike is working well. There are a lot of people going fast and we're certainly in that group. It's going to be really close tomorrow."

Team Manager Ronald Ten Kate gave his pre-race comments. "Chris was on it for two splits and he thought he could do it, but he couldn't finish it on the last split. It was good that he could still stay on the front row. With the race set-up we are close but it has been very hard work. It's a compromise here always but we have a lot of knowledge of this track, so there are still some set-up question marks. For tomorrow, in warm-up, we will try to make it better so that he can hang in there during the races. We are sure he can stay in the front group, and then it will come down to the nerves and the tactics."

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Jurgen van den Goorbergh , Broc Parkes , James Toseland , Chris Vermeulen , Karl Muggeridge , Sébastien Charpentier , Laconi Régis