Watanabe rises to new qualifying challenge.

Atsushi Watanabe is keen to show what he is capable of after producing his best qualifying effort of the season in the latest round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Cadwell Park.

The two-time Japanese Superbike Champion has struggled to adapt to the British Championship since his switch earlier this year and he has been comprehensively out paced by Rizla Suzuki team-mate Tom Sykes.

However, while the undulating Cadwell Park circuit, with its slender, high-speed layout, was expected to pose a considerable challenge for Watanabe, he rose to the challenge by sneaking into the new top ten 'shootout' in qualifying.

Once there, Watanabe was able to secure eighth place on the grid, his best starting position of the season.

“I am happy with lap time but make some mistakes. I still learning this track, it is not the easiest with many hills and narrow Tarmac but I like anyway.

“I feel recharged for racing after my podium at Suzuka eight hour race and visit home to Japan. I want a strong finish to the season – to show British fans what Atsu can really achieve.”

Team manager Jack Valentine, meanwhile, was also pleased with Watanabe's upturn in form this weekend, but he is keen now for him to maintain it into the races.

“Atsu I am really pleased with; he is showing his best form at a difficult technical track and his potential is clear. He has a great starting position and we will be looking for fireworks from him in the races.”

Related Pictures

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14. Atsushi Watanabe Rizla Suzuki, Suzuki GSX-R1000 K8
Jason O`Halloran, Honda Racing [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Josh Brookes, Anvil Hire Yamaha, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Shane Byrne, Be Wiser Ducati, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Luke Mossey, JG Speedfit Kawasaki, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Peter Hickman, Smiths BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tommy Bridewell, Team WD-40 Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Bradley Ray, Buildbase Suzuki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Sylvain Guintoli, Bennetts Suzuki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
James Ellison, McAMS Yamaha [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Dan Linfoot, Honda Racing [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Alastair Seeley, Tyco BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Lee Jackson, Smiths Racing BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Haslam, Byrne, Mossey, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Shane Byrne, Be Wiser Ducati, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Leon Haslam, JG Speedfit Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Leon Haslam, JG Speedfit Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Leon Haslam, JG Speedfit Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]

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