Ten Kate Honda experienced a steadier than usual start of the second World Supersport round of the 2009 season in Qatar as they picked up provisional front and third row positions on the grid.
Keen to capitalise on their 1-2 finish during the opening event at Phillip Island, the leading Honda team were overshadowed by Kawasaki in free practice before Yamaha came to fore in first qualification.
Nonetheless, early championship leader Kenan Sofuoglu is not reading too much into his third position on the grid, the Turk merely claiming to have been chasing the front row, rather than pole position.
“The track was still quite slippery this morning after all the sand that was blown about yesterday, but it was definitely better this afternoon. The front row was all we wanted from today's qualifying.
“We'll do a longer run during practice tomorrow and go for the front row again, which is important for the race here. It's a fast track and you need to carry some corner speed with the Honda CBR600RR here, so I had to adapt my riding style a little bit today.”
Team-mate Andrew Pitt, meanwhile, was further back in tenth position after struggling to get the right set-up for the bike. Nonetheless, he is confident changes ahead of final qualifying will see him challenging for pole position.
“There's really only one choice of tyre here, and I had a few moments with the alternative, so that decision has already been made for us. The settings that we used at Phillip Island weren't really working that well today so we've got some work to do. We need a little more weight on the front to make the bike turn more easily, so we should be there or thereabouts tomorrow.”