The World Supersport championship leader, Kenan Sofuoglu, set the fastest time in today’s rain-affected opening qualifying session for Sunday’s penultimate race of the 2010 season at Imola in Italy.
Second fastest was title rival, Yamaha’s Eugene Laverty, nine tenths of a second slower Sofuoglu, with Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team-mate, Michele Pirro, third.
Sofuoglu and his Honda CBR600RR dominated both practice sessions Friday as he bids to extend his current 12-point lead in the 2010 series and reclaim the crown he won in 2007. However, the Turkish ace was still not able to match the pace he set during a July test at Imola.
Pirro returned to World Supersport action today after competing with Gresini Honda in last weekend’s Moto2 race at Aragon in Spain. The Italian rider is still feeling the affects of his wrist injury but is determined to be in a position to help his team-mate’s quest during Sunday’s race at the historic Imola circuit.
Kenan Sofuoglu says: “Even though there is a gap of almost one second, I still feel quite slow out there. If the conditions are right tomorrow, maybe I’ll try to take another second off my time but at the moment, the bike, the set-up and my feeling are all good. We’ll wait to see what happens tomorrow, but at the moment there are not so many problems.”
“We were one second faster this morning as well, and I’m finding it quite easy to put in these fast times. I’m still seven tenths off our testing time from July but conditions were quite different then and when I went with my good tyre this afternoon, there was some rain on the track. But hopefully, I’ll be able to use that tyre tomorrow.
Michele Pirro says: “In general, I’m happy but the weather was not so good at the end. Also, it took me a while to adjust to the different feeling from the Moto2 bike that I rode last week in Spain. My wrist is still a little p ainful but it’s much better than Nurburgring and it will be good for these last two races. This afternoon the feeling was much better on the bike but then the rain came.”
“I think we have a good solution to try for tomorrow because my mechanics are good! The bike now feels OK and tomorrow I think we can improve the chassis some more. It’s important to help Kenan as much as I can this weekend so I will try to follow him.”
Ronald ten Kate (team manager) says: Getting both riders on the provisional front row is a great way to kick things off this weekend and it’s good to have Kenan almost a second ahead. It’s a pity that it started to rain halfway through the qualifying session this afternoon, which prevented the guys further developing their set up for the race.”
“Hopefully tomorrow will not be one of those in-between solutions, but the forecast for the rest of the weekend remains unsure with a likelihood of rain. It would be good to get a chance to work on a wet setting in case it rains on Sunday.”
Imola World Supersport Friday Times: 1. Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Honda CBR600RR 1’52.397; 2. Laverty E. (IRL) Honda CBR600RR 1’53.279; 3. Pirro M. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 1’53.333; 4. Fujiwara K. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’53.541; 5. Davies C. (GBR) Triumph Daytona 675 1’53.723; 6. Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’53.798; 7. Roccoli M. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 1’53.867; 8. Aitchison M. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 1’53.981