Kenan Sofuoglu set the second fastest time in today’s final World Supersport qualifying session at Silverstone in the UK, splitting his two championship rivals on the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s tenth round race.
In one of the closest qualifying sessions on record, the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider was just three hundredths of a second behind pole position man, Eugene Laverty. Sofuoglu’s time was even closer to third-placed Joan Lascorz – only five thousandths of a second. The Turkish ace currently leads Lascorz in the championship table by 15 points, with Laverty a further seven points back in third.
Ronan Quarmby, Sofuoglu’s team-mate for the Silverstone weekend, will start from the fifth row of the grid for tomorrow’s 16 lapper around the 5.902km Silverstone circuit after setting the 18th fastest time.
The 19-year-old South African has not only had to learn Silverstone revised layout t his weekend, but to work with a new team and get accustomed to a new Honda CBR600RR. Despite two crashes today, Quarmby improved by 1.5s over yesterday’s qualifying time and is looking forward to an even better performance in tomorrow’s race.
Kenan Sofuoglu says: "Step by step we are improving, which was the goal – to improve the bike, the time, the position. I’m still not so happy with my lines in some corners on the track, especially in the final sector. Two or three times I was fastest until the last split, when I lost two tenths, which left me in second position."
"The team has some ideas to improve this and normally it’s not a problem to work on one split. Anyway, I feel I’m ready for the race tomorrow and hope that a good result is coming. The other guys in the championship are fast again, which I expected, but I think this is the closest qualifying between us yet! It shou ld be a nice race and I have to get as many points as I can. When I have a 25 point gap I might be able to close the throttle a little, but that won’t happen tomorrow. Right now my feeling is that I can go for the win tomorrow but, if it turns out that I can’t, I will have to settle for the most points I can get."
Ronan Quarmby says: "Well, it hasn’t been a good weekend so far, but then it’s never much fun when you’re crashing. My left ankle is quite swollen but the times have improved, at least, and my starts are usually quite good. Without the crashes, today was definitely better than yesterday, so I hope tomorrow is better again. It was difficult this morning and I hit a patch of water with an intermediate tyre in the rear and went over the high side. I’ll do my best in the race tomorrow and try to have more fun than today."
Ronald ten Kate (team manager) says: "So far so good in Supersport, with everything going according to plan with Kenan. We’ve caught up with the front massively and were already in contention today for the pole position. The task for tomorrow is to dial out the problems in the final sector which is where Kenan is losing all his time."
"For sure, it’ll be a frantic battle again at the front with the usual three, but this time with maybe as many as four or five riders in the leading bunch. May the best man win! For Ronan, everything is new – the track, the team, the bike – but he’s chipping away with his times as well, and improved massively on yesterday. Overnight we’ll go over the data again and try to find further improvements for tomorrow and we’re hoping he can have a nice race and finish close to the top ten.
2010 World Supersport Championship Final Qualifying Results:
1. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Honda 2’09.426s
2. Kenan Sofuoglu (TUR) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda 2’09.456s
3. Joan Lascorz (ESP) Kawasaki 2’09.461s
4. R Tamburini (ITA) Yamaha 2’09.537s
18. Ronan Quarmby (SA) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda 2’13.507s