Sofuoglu maintains championship lead for HANNspree Ten Kate Honda The second round of the 2007 World Supersport Championship concluded today with HANNspree Ten Kate Honda's Kenan Sofuoglu extending his lead in the series after an exciting...
Sofuoglu maintains championship lead for HANNspree Ten Kate Honda
The second round of the 2007 World Supersport Championship concluded today with HANNspree Ten Kate Honda's Kenan Sofuoglu extending his lead in the series after an exciting race that had the Phillip Island spectators on the edge of their seats. Qualifying proved that any one of the top six riders could secure victory and they each put up a good fight for a place on the podium in the fiercely competitive 21-lap race.
HANNspree Ten Kate Honda's Sofuoglu was successful once again with a second place finish. His team-mate Sebastien Charpentier ran a hard race to finish in fourth position at the 4.445km track. Sofuoglu started from fourth on the grid and struggled to stay on the pace for the first 12 laps, dropping down to fifth by mid-distance.
However, the latter stages saw the tables turn as the young Turkish rider created chance after chance to slip past Kevin Curtain, Broc Parkes and his own team-mate to secure a triumphant second place. He picks up 20 points to hold onto the championship lead - seven points clear of nearest contender and race winner Fabien Foret.
Defending world champion Charpentier looked strong from the outset aboard the new Honda CBR6000RR. He maintained station in the top two positions for the majority of the race, but by lap 17 both Foret and Sofuoglu had got the better of him. Despite recording the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1'34.976, the Frenchman couldn't catch his fellow countryman or his HANNspree Ten Kate Honda team-mate. Charpentier was forced to settle for fourth position and thirteen points, which place him ninth in the overall standings.
Ronald Ten Kate, Team Manager:
"It's been a tough weekend for us at Phillip Island. The team worked hard yesterday to improve the bike settings for the race. Things worked out fine for Kenan, who took it easy in the beginning of the race but then pushed forward at the end to come in second. He was still closing the gap on race winner Foret as they crossed the line so that was good. Sebastien struggled with grip today, which was unexpected because we had already tested this tyre in practice. Anyway, we came away with second and fourth, leading the Championship so I have to be happy. We are heading back to Europe with a lot of ideas for the machine after a hard weekend in Australia so we can only improve from here."
"I scored some points for the team today but this afternoon has not been easy for me. I was determined to finish on the podium and I started off really well, getting up to the front by lap three. Unfortunately I had a big problem with the rear tyre of the bike and I lost a lot time. We've worked really hard on the development of the new bike with Honda and the team so there is no reason why I shouldn't be back at the top for Donington. I'm ready for the next race - this is a long Championship and it is still early days."
"This was a very tough race. At the test here in January we were doing really fast times and we had the perfect set-up, but as I said yesterday, we have had to change everything on the bike this weekend - gearing, suspension, everything. We've had a lot of problems. I said that if I got a podium I would be very happy and I have achieved that. Second place is very good and I am still leading the standings so I am really pleased."