WSS : Charpentier needs a good race
After two of the four officially supported Honda riders in the 2007 World Supersport championship left Qatar last weekend with podium finishes, including the race win, the new CBR600RR has already proven its battle-worthiness at the first
Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) had disputed the race lead with his team-mate Sebastien Charpentier (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team) until Charpentier's crash left Sofuoglu the winner by some distance.
Third in Losail may even be exceeded by a superlatively confident Katsuaki Fujiwara (Althea Honda Team CBR600RR) who was setting the same times as the leaders mid-race in Losail, and finally took third spot on the podium.
The prospect of racing at the classically sculpted 4.445km circuit is a happy one for all of Honda's four officially supported 600 riders, each of whom is looking forward to the experience of racing in Australia. Even new boy in the line-up, 26-year-old Lorenzo Alfonsi (Althea Honda Team CBR600RR) has experience of the track, and is as eager as any of his peers to accept the challenge of competing there on the new CBR600RR.
Qatar race winner Sofuoglu is out for a repeat performance in Australia, but is keeping his feet very much on the ground.
“Qatar was great for me, I was so happy to get the win after the team worked so hard to get the bike right”, said Sofuoglu. “Now I have to look forward and concentrate on the next race, because Qatar was only the first round so I will not be taking anything for granted. I rode well at Phillip Island in January so I feel good about the circuit. I can't wait to get onto the track.”
Charpentier knows that only a top points score will alleviate the gloom of crashing in Qatar.
“This race is now very important for me”, said the 2005 and 2006 champion. “I need to race well in order to get back the points I lost in Qatar, but I am not too worried. I won the race here last year and in 2005 so it is a good track for me. I need to concentrate and not make any mistakes, but I should be OK.”
Fujiwara's first race of the year gave him plenty of reasons to be cheerful for more podium opportunities this year.
"Losail showed us what we can do, even at this early stage”, said the six-time WSS race winner. “I hope for a good season. The bike should also work well at Phillip Island and I like riding there very much. Next race I want to win!”
The championship, along with World Superbike, returns to Europe for round three, with the next race scheduled for Donington Park on April 1.
Honda Motor Sport