SOFUOGLU WINS FIRST TIME OUT ON NEW HONDA CBR600RR

2007-02-24 01:02
World Supersport and Superbike Championships 2007
Round 1, Losail - Qatar
Temperature - air 26°C - ground 47°C
Spectator Attendance: NA

Losail Race

22 - 24 February 2007

World Supersport Round 1 of 13


After a dramatic penultimate lap at the 5.380km
Losail circuit in Qatar Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree
Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) took his all-new machine
to the first race win of the 13-round World
Supersport season, after his team-mate Sebastien
Charpentier (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR)
fell while leading. The only consolation for
Charpentier was a new lap record, 2m 02.949s, set on lap three.

The two top Honda riders on the day were locked
in a battle for the win, but Charpentier pushed
too hard when going wide into a left hand corner
and he was unable to restart after the subsequent
lowside crash. Each rider had qualified on the
front row, with Charpentier close to pole man,
and eventual second place rider, Kevin Curtain,
and Sofuoglu fourth on the grid.

Katsuaki Fujiwara (Althea Honda Team CBR600RR)
had a successful start to his season, third on
the grid and in the race, but setting comparable
lap times with the leaders once he got over the hectic first few laps.

Lorenzo Alfonsi (Althea Honda Team CBR600RR) made
a strong debut for a rookie in his team and at
this circuit, taking points for a 13th place
finish, after going 20th in qualifying.

Sofuoglu expected a fight with his team-mate
right to the end, but it was not to be, as he
ended up running alone for the last lap,
finishing some 3.4 seconds ahead of Curtain.

"I knew I could be challenging for the podium,"
said Sofuoglu, who is no stranger to wins in WSS.
"Kevin went away in front very fast but after
only three or four laps I knew I could increase
my speed and make an attack. I could ride at a
high pace consistently, as could Sebastien, and
for sure if he did not crash we would have fought
for the win. I am really happy because last year
Sebastian was better than me but I think this year we are more like the same."

Charpentier was naturally unhappy with his final misfortune in Losail.

"I am obviously very disappointed with the
outcome of this race," said a despondent double
World Champion. "I was so close to the finish and
I think we could have easily got a first and
second for the team, but I lost the front end and
couldn't recover from it. This has happened now,
so I just need to look forward to the next round.
It is only the first race and we have plenty of time to make it up."

Front row starter Fujiwara could not capitalise
on his strong qualifying performances on the
first lap at least, yet he knew his final race
weekend would be a good one after setting the fastest time on day one.

"This was a better performance than we could have
hoped for when we came to Qatar," said Fujiwara.
"Today our final position as good but if we could
start well, and get away with the top group,
there was a possibility to win today. We didn't
test here, had a new bike, new suspension
everything new, and yet we got on the podium."

Alfonsi's weekend ended up with him 13th in the
race, after finishing 20th in qualifying for his new squad on the new CBR600RR.

"Not bad because this was the first time for me
in Qatar," said the Italian rider. "It is a
difficult track, fast corners and one little
mistake means your lap time is a second slower.
My new team is fantastic and I hope for even better race results soon."

The second round of the Supersport championship
takes place at Phillip Island, Australia, next
week, with race day on Sunday March 4.

World Superbike Round 1 of 13

TOSELAND LEAVES LOSAIL WITH CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD AFTER RACE TWO WIN

James Toseland (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda
CBR1000RR) made a near perfect start to his
championship campaign in 2007 with a second place
and a win, after making two good starts from a
third place Superpole qualifying position. He
will arrive in Australia in a few days time for
round two with a share of the championship lead.

Toseland's push towards a final second place in
race one was an immaculate ride almost until the
end, with only one rider able to make a better
result after 18-laps; Max Biaggi. Roberto Rolfo
scored seventh in his first race for his new
team, with Steve Martin (DFX Corse Honda
CBR100RR) 11th, after qualifying only 17th. All
other official Honda riders in race one fell out
of contention for points scoring places or retired.

Toseland's start-to-finish domination of race two
was an impressive sight and despite a strong push
from Biaggi in the final laps, Toseland held out
to win by a 0.7 seconds, leaving Qatar with a
share of the championship lead. Now on 45 points,
Toseland and Biaggi are 20 points clear of the
rest of the chasing pack, headed by Lanzi on 25 points.

Race two was not as fruitful for Rolfo, as he was
forced to retire on lap one with clutch issues,
but for the three race one non-finishers, Michel
Fabrizio (DFX Corse Honda CBR1000RR), Joshua
Brookes (Alto Evolution Honda CBR1000RR) and Karl
Muggeridge (Alto Evolution Honda CBR1000RR)
points were scored for 12th, 13th and 14th places respectively.

A change of suspension setting for Martin had a
negative effect on rear tyre traction, and he
struggled hard to score 18th place.

Toseland was the only rider to stay with Biaggi
in race one, and was a popular race two winner.

"I have had a great weekend," said a jubilant
Toseland. "I was quickest on Friday morning and
in the top three in all sessions. My lowest
position was sixth and that was in the warm up
this morning. I was quite disappointed with the
first race, but in the second race we set the
pace and got to the front. The last two laps were
difficult but we made it and got first place.
This is my seventh year in World Superbikes and I
am fitter than ever. We deserve to be at the
front after a winter of hard work and to get
there in the first race weekend is brilliant."

Rolfo's weekend was highlighted by his good
points in race one, but he felt a twinge of disappointment about race two.

"Every rider is disappointed when they have a
problem that is outside of their control," stated
Rolfo. "However, putting that aside it's been a
fantastic experience to be part of such a
professional team for the first event of the 2007
championship. I have learned a lot about the bike
and the way I need to ride it. I still have a
heavy feeling at the front of the bike,
particularly at the beginning of the race, but
once I overcome this with my riding I will be very happy."

Martin realised that the changes made between
race one and race two were not the correct ones,
but race one was a big improvement on qualifying.

"Our first race was good, really happy with that
after qualifying," said Martin. "In the second
race we went stiffer with the suspension to try
and get it to turn and it was completely the
wrong way. I had no grip at all, like riding
around in the wet. So at least we know to go softer from now on."

Fabrizio had his wheel taken from him in first
lap of race one, but recovered to 13th place in
race two, and 14th overall in the table, despite some rear traction problems.

"A bad race one because I got knocked off by
another rider, and a not so good race two, but I
got some points," said Fabrizio, "At the
beginning of the second race things were pretty
good but half way through the rear started
spinning a lot and I couldn't push any harder."

Brookes fell in the opening leg, but won at least one fight in race two.

"After the crash in race one we thought the bike
was OK, but on the start line the temperature
went right up and to be honest I was worrying
about how hot the engine was getting, and I
thought I was going to have to pull in," said
Brookes. "Once I got going the temperature did
come down and I ended up having a battle with
Karl. Every lap I was getting plus zero on my pit
board but I managed to keep him behind me until the end."

Muggeridge, who had an eventful pre-race Losail
meeting missed the whole first qualifying session
due to technical issues, collided with another
rider in final qualifying and had his clutch go
on race one, but fought back in race two.

"We're losing out on power at the moment and so
we're just having to run with what we've got,"
said Muggeridge. "We've lost a lot of track time
over the weekend, which hasn't made it easy, but
I still feel that the bike is working well. We
just need to get a bit more horsepower into the
equation. We've got good potential with the
chassis and electronics and we just need a bit more time to set it all up."


Results

SUPERSPORT:
RACE : (Laps 18 = 96,840 Km
Pos /Rider /Nat. /Team / Time /Gap
1 / K. SOFUOGLU / TUR / Hannspree Ten Kate Honda / 37'22.452 /
2 / K. CURTAIN / AUS / Yamaha World SSP Racing / 37'25.865 / 3.413
3 / K. FUJIWARA / JPN / Althea Honda Team / 37'28.680 / 6.228
4 / F. FORET / FRA / Team Gil Motor Sport / 37'36.211 / 13.759
5 / P. RIBA / ESP / Team Gil Motor Sport / 37'36.309 / 13.857
6 / R.HARMS / DEN / Stiggy Motorsport Honda / 37'36.986 / 14.534
7 / M.ROCCOLI / ITA / Yamaha Team Italia / 37'41.102 / 18.65
8 / G.NANNELLI / ITA / Team Caracchi Ducati SC / 37'41.227 / 18.775
9 / B. VENEMAN / NED / Team Hoegee Suzuki / 37'41.743 / 19.291
10 / V. KALLIO / FIN / Team Hoegee Suzuki / 37'43.047 / 20.595
11 / J. FORES / ESP / HP Racing / 37'43.269 / 20.817
12 / C. JONES / GBR / Revè Ekerold Honda Racing / 37'44.850 / 22.398
13 / L. ALFONSI / ITA / Althea Honda Team / 37'49.355 / 26.903
14 / D. SALOM FUENTES / ESP / Yamaha Spain / 37'51.020 / 28.568
15 / G.VIZZIELLO / ITA / RG Team / 37'56.968 / 34.516
Fastest Lap 3° Sébastien Charpentier 2'02.949 157,529 Km/h
Lap record: 2006 S.Charpentier 2'03.921 156,290 Km/h
Best Lap: 2007 K.Curtain 2'02.081 158,650


Riders Championship Standings:
1 SOFUOGLU 25, 2 CURTAIN 20, 3 FUJIWARA 16, 4 FORET 13, 5 RIBA 11, 6 HARMS 10,
7 ROCCOLI 9, 8 NANNELLI 8, 9 VENEMAN 7, 10 KALLIO 6, 11 FORES 5, 12 JONES 4,
13 ALFONSI 3, 14 SALOM 2, 15 VIZZIELLO 1



SUPERBIKE
Race 1 : (Laps 18 = 96,840 Km)
Pos / Rider / Nat. / Team / Time / Gap
1 / M.BIAGGI / ITA / Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra / 36'10.115 /
2 / J. TOSELAND / GBR / Hannspree Ten Kate Honda / 36'11.598 / 1.483
3 / L. LANZI / ITA / Ducati Xerox Team / 36'24.021 / 13.906
4 / Y. KAGAYAMA / JPN / Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra / 36'24.934 / 14.819
5 / T. BAYLISS / AUS / Ducati Xerox Team / 36'27.420 / 17.305
6 / M.NEUKIRCHNER / GER / Suzuki Germany / 36'35.046 / 24.931
7 / R. ROLFO / ITA / Hannspree Ten Kate Honda / 36'35.280 / 25.165
8 / N.HAGA / JPN / Yamaha Motor Italia / 36'37.435 / 27.32
9 / T. CORSER / AUS / Yamaha Motor Italia / 36'41.352 / 31.237
10 / R. XAUS / ESP / Team Sterilgarda / 36'41.784 / 31.669
11 / S. MARTIN / AUS / D.F.X. Corse / 36'52.470 / 42.355
12 / S. NAKATOMI / JPN / Yamaha YZF / 36'56.960 / 46.845
13 / A. POLITA / ITA / Celani Team Suzuki Italia / 37'09.322 / 59.207
14 / J. SMRZ / CZE / Team Caracchi Ducati SC / 37'10.411 / 1'00.296
15 / D. ELLISON / GBR / Team Pedercini / 37'31.158 / 1'21.043
Fastest Lap 7° Max Biaggi 1'59.275 162,381 Km/h


Race 2: (Laps 18 = 96,840 Km)
1 / J. TOSELAND / GBR / Hannspree Ten Kate Honda / 36'09.433 /
2 / M.BIAGGI / ITA / Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra / 36'10.171 / 0.738
3 / T. CORSER / AUS / Yamaha Motor Italia / 36'16.819 / 7.386
4 / N.HAGA / JPN / Yamaha Motor Italia / 36'24.417 / 14.984
5 / F. NIETO / ESP / Kawasaki PSG-1 Corse / 36'24.466 / 15.033
6 / Y. KAGAYAMA / JPN / Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra / 36'25.344 / 15.911
7 / L. LANZI / ITA / Ducati Xerox Team / 36'26.097 / 16.664
8 / T. BAYLISS / AUS / Ducati Xerox Team / 36'32.682 / 23.249
9 / R. XAUS / ESP / Team Sterilgarda / 36'33.715 / 24.282
10 / M.NEUKIRCHNER / GER / Suzuki Germany / 36'42.913 / 33.48
11 / R. LACONI / FRA / Kawasaki PSG-1 Corse / 36'43.437 / 34.004
12 / M.FABRIZIO / ITA / D.F.X. Corse / 36'46.730 / 37.297
13 / J. BROOKES / AUS / Alto Evolution Honda / 36'51.497 / 42.064
14 / K. MUGGERIDGE / AUS / Alto Evolution Honda / 36'51.792 / 42.359
15 / A. POLITA / ITA / Celani Team Suzuki Italia / 36'55.639 / 46.206
Fastest Lap 4° Max Biaggi 1'59.194 162,491 Km/h
Record Lap: 2007 Max Biaggi 1'59.275 162,380 Km/h
Best Lap: 2007 T.Corser 1'58.402 163,580

Riders Championship Standings:
1 TOSELAND 45, 2 BIAGGI 45, 3 LANZI 25, 4 CORSER 23, 5 KAGAYAMA 23, 6 HAGA 21,
7 BAYLISS 19, 8 NEUKIRCHNER 16, 9 XAUS 13, 10
NIETO 11, 11 ROLFO 9, 12 LACONI 5,
13 MARTIN 5, 14 FABRIZIO 4, 15 NAKATOMI 4.

Source: Honda Pro Image

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