Muggeridge Pole Once More, Parkes Right Behind Karl Muggeridge (Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) once more flirted with perfection to record his eighth pole position in nine attempts, an outstanding performance from the clear World Championship ...
Muggeridge Pole Once More, Parkes Right Behind
Karl Muggeridge (Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) once more flirted with perfection to record his eighth pole position in nine attempts, an outstanding performance from the clear World Championship leader. Underlining the prowess of the entire Ten Kate thrust his team mate Broc Parkes ripped up the tarmac to finish second fastest, starting alongside Muggeridge once more. Muggeridge set a best time of 1:52.131 with Parkes just behind with a 1:52.853.
The front row for Sunday's race was completed by two Yamaha riders, Kevin Curtain and Andrew Pitt, making the front row an all-Australian affair. Muggeridge's only championship challenger, Jurgen van den Goorbergh (Yamaha) was fifth fastest. v Muggeridge's eighth pole of the 2004 Supersport season ripped the record books apart once more, and more importantly for Muggeridge, puts him in the perfect spot to tackle the 21-lap race on Sunday. "Eight out of nine poles this year is pretty good," said Muggeridge. "I don't really know why we've been so good in qualifying. All I can say is that I enjoy it; it's a chance to put all your work over two days of qualifying into practice on the track. You put the softest tyre in, and then you can be more aggressive on the throttle and push a little bit harder. I just enjoy going fast, want to go faster than everyone else. Pole position is to the left at this track and that's where you want to be for the entry to the first corner. The track is in good condition, but it was still not quite dry out there. I want to be on the podium tomorrow, I'll treat it like every other race and try to finish on the top step."
Parkes, beaming at his improvement in lap time and solid practice performance, stated, "It was pretty good but Muggas was still quicker than everyone. I improved and got up to second place so that's satisfying for us. I made a change in gearing to get more feedback and feeling in different places. It didn't make the bike go much faster but it made it all feel much smoother. The track is a bit better than yesterday, even though there were a couple of wet patches. We could have gone faster if it weren't for those. I have a good race set-up and chosen the race tyre already, so we're ready to go."
Team Manager Ronald Ten Kate stated, "I can't wish for anything more. Always the riders and team find a way to impress me. Although we have worked together for a long time now and it is almost the end of the year they have impressed me again. Karl was particularly good, being so fast around the whole track. We can hear the fat lady singing in the distance but she needs to come closer to us before we can take anything for granted."
Vermeulen Second Quickest in Imola Superpole
Another close flirtation with pole for Chris Vermeulen (Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) saw him finish second overall in the specialised single lap contest, which determines the final grid positions for the top 16 qualifiers. Fourth fastest in regulation, Vermeulen was the only rider other than pole winner Regis Laconi (Ducati) to go inside the 1:49, second mark this weekend. His lap of 1:49.930 was marginally improved on by Laconi, who set a 1:49.818 with the last Superpole lap of the session.
The post Superpole front row features three of the top contenders for the championship itself, with Laconi and Vermeulen in the vanguard, chased home today by the resurgent Garry McCoy (Ducati) and overall fourth place man in the series Noriyuki Haga (Ducati), who was fourth quickest in Superpole. The championship excitement is sure to continue into raceday, as series leader James Toseland was fifth fastest.
Vermeulen was disappointed to miss out on Superpole, but knows that the real work will be done on raceday. "I really thought I had that but then Regis just came along and beat me. I haven't had a pole yet so I want to win one before the season is out. I'm happy because the bike is working well and we've made some changes since the first day, which have taken us even closer to a perfect race set-up. Sometimes we can go to tracks and it works well from the start and at others, probably because I haven't ridden a big bike there before, it has been more difficult. But it's been good so far here."
Team Manager Ronald Ten Kate was satisfied with the pre-race preparations, and recognised the importance of finishing on the leading grid line. "That was a pretty good lap Chris put in during Superpole - the most important thing to do was to get on the front row. Pole position would have been a very nice bonus for us. Unfortunately we didn't quite get it, but we have got a good setup for the races. Chris has been quite consistent and fast on the race tyres so we are in for some good contests here tomorrow. From Friday when we started the bike has been pretty good. On a lot of weekends we have had to start from a little behind, but now we have been able to stay in the top group throughout."