TEN KATE HONDA:
Jonathan Rea set the second fastest time in this afternoon’s opening qualifying session for the penultimate round of the 2009 World Superbike championship at Magny-Cours in France.
The 22-year-old Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider was pipped to provisional pole position by just five hundredths of a second by Italian Michel Fabrizio after lapping the 4.41km French circuit in 1’38.821s.
Rea’s team-mate, Carlos Checa, was fifth fastest today for a provisional second row start ahead of a further qualifying session tomorrow morning followed by the three-part Superpole to determine grid positions for Sunday’s two 22-lap races.
Jonathan Rea – P2, 1’38.821s
I’m really happy with this start to the weekend because the base setting we brought here from Imola was strong. The middle sector is where we’re having some problems, especially around the long left at turn 6. So, we’ll sit down tonight and see where we can improve things there. I’m happy to be at the top because my lap times have been consistently quick – it’s coming naturally and I’ve got into a good rhythm here. I also did two practice starts today, one of which was my best ever! So I hope that’s a good omen for the races.
Carlos Checa – P5, 1’39.379s
After the problems we had at Imola, we need to understand where we were losing time. We’ve just made the normal steps with the bike today – some areas are good, some not so good. We’ve got a lot of things to talk about tonight so that we can find some more tenths tomorrow. As Imola showed us, it’s very easy to slip from the top five to something like 12th place because the competition is always so strong. So we need to keep finding something extra because I want to stay at the top tomorrow.
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
It was a good start to the weekend today, although there are still a few areas where we need to improve the bike. From the timing sheets we can see that things are very close, so, even though we are at the front, we’ll have to work as hard as ever to find a few tenths here and there.
Ryuichi Kiyonari battled against the pain of an injured shoulder to set the 16th fastest time in this afternoon’s opening qualifying session for the 13th round World Superbike meeting at Magny-Cours in France.
The Japanese ace crashed during free practice this morning while lying in sixth place, damaging the shoulder that he injured during a test at the 4.41km French circuit last season, causing him to miss the two races.
Ryuichi Kiyonari – P16, 1’40.101s
The crash was high-speed but I was sliding along OK when my should was wrenched by something in the gravel, I think. There’s nothing broken and I thought I would be OK this afternoon, so I didn’t take any pain killers. But it was very painful, so I think I will tomorrow.
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
It was a shame for Kiyo-san that he crashed because he was looking quite comfortable in this morning’s free practice. He obviously felt the pain of the shoulder this afternoon, which made it uncomfortable for him on the bike. We hope it will be a little less painful tomorrow and will probably have to give him some pain killers in the morning.