Ten Kate Honda began their quest for an eighth consecutive World Supersport Championship in Kyalami as they allowed Kenan Sofuoglu and Andrew Pitt a chance to occupy the same circuit as the Superbike riders this week.
The Dutch team has destroyed the WSS opposition this decade, most recently with Andrew Pitt, who secured the 2008 championship after a season-long battle with rookie team-mate Jonathan Rea.
For 2009 though, Pitt will go up against Sofuoglu, who relegates himself from Superbikes to regain some of the form that saw him take a record-breaking eight wins in 2007.
Having made a stunning return to action with a win in Portugal, the Turk also drew first blood against his more experienced around the South African circuit by recording a best lap of 1min 42.8secs
“After returning to the Supersport bike in Portugal, it was great for me to find that good feeling again,” he said. “I've enjoyed myself very much at this test and got a great feeling for the bike. We've tried a lot of new tyres and new equipment but we won't get to try the new CBR until Portugal. I think we will be strong there and I'm looking forward to it a lot.”
A return to Kyalami for Pitt, the Australian rider was happy with the progress made by the team despite proving around a second slower than Sofuoglu.
”It was a good test really and we tried some new electronics, new forks and a shock. We got through a lot of stuff for the boys to look at when they get back to the workshop.
“The circuit was a lot more bumpy than I remember and rear grip was certainly an issue, but it'll probably be about 25 degrees cooler when we come back in May! I'm looking forward to some time off in Australia now and then coming back strong in January to try the 2009 bike at Portimao.”