2 March 2010
WSS: Ten Kate pair hampered by tyre woes
Kenan Sofuoglu rides around tyre problems to finish third in Australia, but Michele Pirro is not quite so lucky
Ten Kate Honda's 2010 World Supersport title challenge got off to a frustrating start at Phillip Island after both Kenan Sofuoglu and Michele Pirro were struck down by tyre problems during the race.
An eventful day all round for both riders, Sofuoglu and Pirro very nearly didn't even get the chance to compete after crashing on Chaz Davies' trailing oil during the first start, but the decision to implement a full restart gave them the opportunity to rejoin.
Despite this, neither would have the pace to match Eugene Laverty over a race distance, with both riders settling into a battle for second position with the Kawasakis of Joan Lascorz and Katsuaki Fujiwara.
Pirro's hopes of a maiden Supersport podium came to an end on lap 14, however, when he suffered an unusual tyre deflation. Sofuoglu continued on, but while he came close to relieving Lascorz of second position on the final lap, he had to settle for third.
Going on to criticise tyre suppliers Pirelli during the post-race interviews, Sofuoglu reiterated his disappointment in the team's post-race statement, claiming he felt the tyre had a problem from the beginning of the race.
“We were happy to get the restart after I crashed on the oil but as soon as the race started again I knew that I had a problem with the tyre,” Sofuoglu, who required pain-killing injections following his accident, said. “Actually, we knew there might be a problem before the race but I am still very disappointed at the result.
“Towards the end of the race, I thought that Lascorz must be going slower as well because, for sure, I had to slow down a lot just to make it to the flag. I will take the points from the weekend and have to be satisfied with the podium result, but it has not been a good weekend and I will be trying my best to make up for this by winning at Portimao.
Pirro added: “In the first part of the race, before the flag, everything was OK, but then suddenly my visor was covered in oil and I crashed. The bike was badly damaged but I was able to ride back to the pits to make the restart.
“Again, I felt comfortable but then there was something badly wrong with the tyre. I had to stop but I wasn't sure if it was broken or if there was a puncture. When the bike came back there was no air in the tyre. It's very disappointing to start the season like this, so I want the next race to come very quickly but we must wait four weeks.”
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