CHARPENTIER GUNS FOR ASSEN GLORY Winston Ten Kate Honda's Sebastien Charpentier heads to Assen in Holland for round nine of the 2005 World Supersport championship this weekend knowing that the title is within his grasp. The French rider can...
CHARPENTIER GUNS FOR ASSEN GLORY
Winston Ten Kate Honda's Sebastien Charpentier heads to Assen in Holland for round nine of the 2005 World Supersport championship this weekend knowing that the title is within his grasp. The French rider can clinch his first world championship at his team's home round and become the first rider in World Supersport championship history to win with three rounds of the series to spare.
Charpentier's Winston team-mate, Katsuaki Fujiwara, still retains second place in the championship, however, and knows he must beat Charpentier to keep his title hopes alive. Both riders will be aiming for good results in front of an anticipated 900 team guests for the home round of the Winston Ten Kate Honda team.
Ronald ten Kate - team manager:
"Sebastien has the chance to grab the title with three rounds to spare, which, as well as being our fourth consecutive championship, would be magnificent for the team. But we're not going to let that possibility affect the way we approach this weekend. We will prepare in exactly the same way as we have prepared for the eight rounds so far this season - working to improve the bike in whatever areas we can find over the weekend and aiming for a race win on Sunday. We'll see how it goes for the race but we have already made the decision that no team orders will apply because Kats is still Sebastien's biggest rival for the title. Although we're not focusing too much on the possibility, success on Sunday would be really special for the team and a nice bonus for all the guests we have coming."
Sebastien Charpentier - championship position 1st, 190 points:
"I like the circuit at Assen but some of the GP riders were not so positive about the changes for this season so we'll have to see what the new layout is like. For sure, the championship is possible for me this weekend and I'm in very good physical condition. We know how strong the bike is and how well the team has been working all through the season, so I am hoping for a win or at least a podium finish. My approach to the weekend will be exactly the same as before and, although I cannot help thinking about the championship, when I am inside the box and inside my helmet, there is only one thing I am concentrating on: that is riding as well as I can and trying to get the best from a very good bike."
Katsuaki Fujiwara - championship position 2nd, 116 points:
"This is my first time at Assen on the Honda but I think it will suit the bike. Although I know there have been some changes for this year, we will have to see what effect they have on the track's character. I like the circuit and took pole position for my first Supersport race there in 2001 and finished in third behind Chris Vermeulen and Karl Muggeridge a year or so later. My back is much better after my crash in Japan last month; although it was a little sore after the race at Brands Hatch, I don't expect any problems this weekend. I will have to be in good shape because I know I have to beat Sebastien in Assen to stop him winning the championship; as ever, I will be riding to the best of my ability, especially in front of all the guests that will be there for the team's home race."
World Supersport Championship points after eight of 12 rounds: 1 Sebastien Charpentier FRA (Winston Ten Kate Honda) 190, 2 Katsuaki Fujiwara JPN (Winston Ten Kate Honda) 116, 3 Kevin Curtain AUS (Yamaha) 109, 4 Fabien Foret FRA (Honda) 85, 5 Michel Fabrizio ITA (Honda) 82, 6 Stephane Chambon FRA (Honda) 68, 7 Broc Parkes AUS (Yamaha) 60, 8 Gianluca Nannelli ITA (Ducati) 56, 9 Javier Fores ESP (Suzuki) 52, 10 Tauto Lauslehto FIN (Honda) 42.
Assen World Supersport event schedule: Friday 2 September - 09.35-10.20 free practice, 13.15-14.00 qualifying; Saturday 3 September - 10.00-10.45 free practice, 13.45-14.30 qualifying; Sunday 4 September - 09.50-10.10 warm-up, 13.20 race (16 laps, 95.952km).