Donington Park: Ten Kate Honda Friday report

HANNspree Ten Kate Honda performs well in the wet A cold and wet Donington Park played host to the first European leg of the 2007 World Superbike Championship today. The initial qualifying session of the weekend saw HANNspree Ten Kate Honda...

HANNspree Ten Kate Honda performs well in the wet

A cold and wet Donington Park played host to the first European leg of the 2007 World Superbike Championship today. The initial qualifying session of the weekend saw HANNspree Ten Kate Honda riders James Toseland and Roberto Rolfo secure some impressive lap times despite the bad conditions.

Yorkshireman James Toseland started his first home race of the season as he means to go on. He secured a succession of fast lap times during the 45-minute session before taking a tactical decision to save his supply of dry tyres and continue on wets to the end. After spending much of the time in the top two, he finished fourth fastest with a best lap of 1'33.692.

Roberto Rolfo proved that he is determined to claim a top six place in the standings as he put in a brilliant display of wet-weather riding. The Italian completed this morning's free practice in fourth position overall and remained in the top five for the majority of the afternoon's qualifying. The end of the session saw Rolfo unable to pass a group of slower riders that forced him back into tenth place. His final best lap stands at 1'35.363.

Ronald ten Kate, Team Manager:

"I am quite happy with the start of the weekend for both riders. With conditions like this and the added pressure of a home round, it was even more difficult for James today. He was fastest for most of the session until the end when we decided not to go for a fresh tyre. We are expecting that the weather will be fine for the rest of the weekend so we want to preserve the tyres for that. Roby has made huge progress today compared with Phillip Island. He was running in the top six for the majority of the session. We have done a lot of work with Roby in the break between Phillip Island and Donington and his riding style has really improved as a result of that. He has changed his mindset and I praise him for that. So, let's see what tomorrow brings - we have to shave off at least a second to be on the front row so we have some work to do overnight but I'm sure we can do it."

James Toseland:

"The session was pretty good for me. It was drying up at the end there but even in the damp conditions I was second quickest at one point and that's unusual for me so I was pretty pleased. The new package we have on the bike is giving me a lot of confidence even in these conditions. We were going to put on new tyres towards the end to go for pole position but we know the weather forecast is OK for tomorrow and Sunday so we've held some back. We've got plenty of tyres for the weekend so hopefully we can get the best out of them and I can concentrate on winning."

Roberto Rolfo:

"It was not bad today. In the rain this morning I had a good feeling on the bike immediately. We tried to improve my riding style during the session and by the end I was much quicker than the beginning. In the qualifying I started with a rain tyre then changed to intermediate, then dry. My lap times improved and by the end I was confident that I could secure my fastest time, but I hit some traffic and lost about five tenths of a second. This was not so good because I know I could have gone faster but it's not a problem - tomorrow it will be better."

-credit: htkh

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers James Toseland , Roberto Rolfo , Phillip Island