Former World Supersport champion and 2009 round one winner Kenan Sofuoglu will line-up on the front row of the grid at Qatar on Saturday despite a huge qualifying highside.
“On the way into turn four this afternoon, I had a slide and a very big highside. The bike hit me after, so it is quite painful,” said Sofuoglu.
Nevertheless, the Turkish star, who also fell in free practice, remains confident of taking on the likes of fellow front row starters Cal Crutchlow (pole), Eugene Laverty (second) and team-mate Andrea Pitt (fourth) when the red lights go out.
“Apart from this problem, I am very happy with the bike and the way my crew has been working so hard,” he declared. “We have very good race pace and I am starting from the front row, which is so important. I will be going out to win tomorrow, or to finish on the podium at least.”
Reigning World Supersport champion, Pitt, is also feeling confident.
“I'm happy enough with the front row because race day is normally when we pull it all together,” said the Australian. “We've still got a few small improvements to look for to make it easier to do the lap times, but all in all I'm happy with today. I was ready to go for a faster lap towards the end but there were a few slower riders waiting for me and, by the time I'd shaken them, the clock was gone.”
“We're very happy to have both riders on the front row, which is always our main objective in qualifying,” stated team manager Ronald ten Kate. “Kenan had quite a big crash trying to grab pole position but luckily there are no major injuries. The lap-by-lap times suggest a very tight battle in tomorrow's race but, if we can resolve some small issues, we're confident of fighting for two podium finishes.”