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Champion Sofuoglu lays down gauntlet

18 February 2013

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Reigning champion Kenan Sofuoglu picked up where he left off as he opened up the official two day World Supersport test at Phillip Island with the fastest time.

Heading into 2013 with his sights set on a record-breaking fourth WSS title – and a second consecutive success with Kawasaki -, Sofuoglu gave little suggestion that his switch from Lorenzini to Mahi Racing would hinder his title favourite status as he emerged two tenths clear in the first of four sessions to be held over Monday and Tuesday.

Still, he had to work hard for the top spot, with rookie Michael van der Mark proving immediately up to speed on the Pata Honda by holding down the fastest time for much of the session, only for Sofuoglu to move ahead in the closing stages.

Making it three manufacturers inside the top three, Yakhnich Yamaha's Vladimir Leonov was another to enjoy a stint at the top of the timesheets before ending the session third. However, new team-mate Sam Lowes endured a troubled start to the test as he managed just three slow laps without setting a time.

Fabien Foret was fourth quickest on the second of the Mahi Kawasakis, ahead of the impressive Roberto Rolfo, the ex-MotoGP/WSBK rider showing the all-new ParkinGO MV Agusta F3 to be a competitive package in its first group outing in fifth, just seven tenths off the ultimate pace.

WSS 2011 runner-up David Salom marked his return with the sixth fastest time, ahead of Gabor Talmacsi and wild-card Josh Hook, while Alex Baldolini and Christian Iddon rounded out the top ten on their respective Lorini Honda and ParkinGO MV Agusta machines.

Further back, 2012 British Supersport runner-up Jack Kennedy ended his first WSS session 22nd for Rivamoto Honda, while Kev Coghlan was 26th best on the DMC Lorenzini Kawasaki.

Elsewhere, Hook's wild-card counterpart Kevin Curtain – runner-up in 2006 – was 25th fastest in a field of 34 riders aboard his Yamaha R6.


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