Ten Kate Honda off to a flying start. It's a case of new riders, new bikes, but the same great performance from the Ten Kate Honda team for 2003. The Ten Kate Honda riders Chris Vermeulen and Karl Muggeridge got the new season off to a flying...
Ten Kate Honda off to a flying start.
It's a case of new riders, new bikes, but the same great performance from the Ten Kate Honda team for 2003.
The Ten Kate Honda riders Chris Vermeulen and Karl Muggeridge got the new season off to a flying start by qualifying in provisional second and third place during the first timed qualifying session of the 2003 World Supersport season in Valencia today.
Despite being just 0.152 behind provisional pole sitter Katsuaki Fujiwara Vermeulen wasn't happy with his performance. "I'm slower here than I was during pre-season testing," said the young Australian. "I tend to carry a lot of corner speed and that counts against me here because there's so little grip. I've tried to adjust but the problem is that the bike is set up for my usual style. But the team, WP Suspension and Pirelli are all working hard on it so I'm sure I'll find a bit more speed for tomorrow." Despite the conditions, Vermeulen lapped at 1'37.838.
Karl Muggeridge, third fastest on 1'37.927 looked relaxed after the session, a good sign that he's settling into his new team. "It's all going well today," commented Muggeridge, "The team changed some settings this morning and I tried a softer tyre and went faster straight away." But a mistake by the Australian just as the riders started to fit qualifying rubber and go for fast laps cost Muggeridge a chance to push his lap time even further down, "I bumped the kill switch towards the end of the session and thought I had a problem. By the time I got back to the pits I was almost out of time and didn't have a chance to really use my qualifier.
Team Manager Ronald ten Kate had a message for Honda after the session, "I want to thank all the people at Honda R&D for producing such a perfect basis for a race bike, the CBR600RR is brilliant even straight out of the crate!"
Even with such a good base to work from, there's still plenty of work to do to get a bike race ready. "Together with WP Suspension, we made some major set-up changes to Karl's bike today and immediately he was faster, and we know there's more to come. While the quality of the opposition is better than we expected, we're confident we have a winning combination of bike, suspension, tyres and riders. We shall see for sure on Sunday!"
World Supersport Championship
Valencia, 28 Feb to 2 March, 2003
Friday Qualifying, best times:
1. K. Fujiwara, JPN, Suzuki, 1'37.687
2. C Vermeulen, AUS, Ten Kate Honda, 1'37.839
3. K Muggeridge, AUS, Ten Kate Honda, 1'37.927
4. R Ulm, AUT, Honda, 1'37.940
5. J Teuchert, GER, Yamaha, 1'38.101
6. G. Nannelli, ITA, Yamaha, 1'38.282
7, P Riba, ESP, Kawasaki, 1'38.355
8, F Foret, FRA, Kawasaki, 1'38.401
9. C Kellner, GER, Yamaha, 1'38.423
10. W. Daemen, BEL, Van Zon Honda TKR, 1'38.597