Brands Hatch: Ten Kate Honda Racing first qualifying report

Muggeridge on Provisional Pole at Muggy Brands Hatch Karl Muggeridge (Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) had a happy homecoming to a track he knows well, taking the provisional pole position time in warm and humid weather conditions. His team-mate Broc ...

Muggeridge on Provisional Pole at Muggy Brands Hatch

Karl Muggeridge (Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) had a happy homecoming to a track he knows well, taking the provisional pole position time in warm and humid weather conditions. His team-mate Broc Parkes was fifth fastest, his time of 1:29.811 still competitive with Muggeridge's provisional pole time of 1:29.200. 1:29.200.

The top of the range performance of the team comes on the back of a recent test at Oschersleben, where new front fork internals and damping rates were successfully evaluated alongside team technical partner, White Power.

With one more day of practice and one more final qualifying session, each of the Ten Kate Honda riders is confident that they can improve their first day best, as the track surface has proven to be somewhat slippery so far.

Muggeridge, a season regular at the Brands venue after spending his first years outside Australia racing in the British Championships, stated, "Our time is good for the first day and all we're trying to do now is maintain the speed but make the bike feel more luxurious, so I can make the fastest laps more consistently in race situations. The track feels very slippery in place, like it hasn't been used for quite a while so that's going to improve. It's pretty humid as well and that doesn't help much."

Parkes was happy enough with day one, but knows that there is more to come. "We have to work a bit on getting a bit more grip from the rear but things are otherwise very good. The test we had helped a lot and fifth is OK for the first day. This isn't my favourite track but I have a much better back up and package than I've had in the past when I came to race here."

Team Manager Ronald Ten Kate was quietly confident that more would come from both bikes and riders on day two. "It's nice to be back racing with the Supersport arm of the team after such a long lay off and already the guys have proved that they are on the ball. We are just trying to make the bikes lap a little more easily and we have new front fork internals from the Italian White Power importer, Andreani, including new fork top adjusters. This development is to give the rider more precise control of the front tyre."

World Supersport Championship
Round Seven - Brands Hatch, Great Britain
30 July - 1 August 2004 First Qualifying
1. K. Muggeridge, AUS, Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR, 1'29.200
2. F. Foret, FRA, Yamaha YZF R6, 1'29.554
3. K. Curtain, AUS, Yamaha YZF R6, 1'29.625
4. S. Charpentier, FRA, Honda CBR600RR, 1'29.654
5. B. Parkes, AUS, Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR, 1'29.811
6. K. Fujiwara, JPN, Suzuki GSX-R 600, 1'30.281
7. C. Kellner, GER, Yamaha YZF R6, 1'30.450
8. S. Chambon, FRA, Suzuki GSX-R 600, 1'30.454
9. A. Corradi, ITA, Honda CBR600RR, 1'30.627
10. J.vd. Goorbergh, NED, Yamaha YZF R6, 1'30.810

Vermeulen Seeks Set Up at Brands

After three consecutive wins for the combination of Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR and Chris Vermeulen the first day of qualifying at Brands Hatch proved a tough challenge for all involved, as the unique nature of the 4.197km circuit took a hand in proceedings. Having never tested at Brands the team once more found that they had to start over on the machine's set-up, the same opening day story as many other races this year. The added complication of a an ambient air temperature of 27C and a track temperature of 45C also had to be taken into consideration by the team.

Looking for more grip from the rear and stiffer suspension throughout the range, Vermeulen did not use a qualifying tyre at any stage, preferring to concentrate on the chassis settings and unravelling the nuances of the tricky Brands circuit on the new-for-2004 Honda.

Vermeulen stated, "The bike is reacting very differently to this track than we expected it would. At the front we have just been dialling in stiffer and stiffer suspension setting, because it's bottoming out in a lot of different places. We are already using the softest tyre they have because it's proving to be the only one we can really use in these conditions. We're just working our way towards making the bike handle and steer the way we need it to, while trying to maximise the rear grip at the same time."

Team Manager Ronald Ten Kate was unperturbed by the first day's events, recognising that it has not been the first time that the Friday sessions have been devoted exclusively to testing before making a serious assault on the stopwatches. "The first day for our Superbike effort been like all the races so far - arriving at a new track, just improving the bike and set-up slowly and surely. We do not use a qualifying tyre on day one just so we can concentrate on the set-up. I fully expect Chris to be on the front row for the race itself."

World Superbike Championship
Round Eight - Brands Hatch, Great Britain
30 July - 1 August 2004
First Qualifying Session
1. P. Chili, ITA, Ducati 998 RS, 1'27.990
2. G. Nannelli, ITA, Ducati 998 RS, 1'28.246
3. N. Haga, JPN, Ducati 999 RS, 1'28.425
4. M. Borciani, ITA, Ducati 999 RS, 1'28.518
5. L. Pedercini, ITA, Ducati 998 RS, 1'28.525
6. R. Laconi, FRA, Ducati 999 F04, 1'28.726
7. L. Haslam, GBR, Ducati 999 RS, 1'28.734
8. T. Corser, AUS, Petronas FP1, 1'28.795
9. C. Vermeulen, AUS, Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR, 1'28869
10. G. Bussei, ITA, Ducati 998 RS, 1'28.978

- www.tenkateracing.com

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Broc Parkes , Chris Vermeulen , Karl Muggeridge