Reigning Champion Sebastien Charpentier has taken a commanding win on his Winston Ten Kate Honda in the opening round of the 2006 World Supersport Championship, at Qatar.
The Frenchman got his title defence off to the best possible start by pulling a 5.396sec lead over second place man, Yamaha Germany's Kevin Curtain, and in third spot was Supersport rookie Kenan Sofuoglu.
This is the new Yamaha R6's first race event and Curtain feels they are almost on a par with the mighty Ten Kate Hondas. “We are not far off, there is still a bit to go on top speed. We are close but not enough,” said Curtain “That said the new bike performed well.”
Sofuoglu was runner up in last year's European Superstock Championship, and went from there straight on to the Ten Kate Supersport machine and he has not looked back since. He held provisional pole from first qualifying and was only out done by his team-mate in second qualifying, to take up a front row slot first time out. “I am really happy, I thought I could run top five but now I know I can go with the front runners!” he grinned. A very impressive debut indeed!
Current Australian Superbike Champion, Josh Brookes also made an excellent debut. He qualified in twenty fifth place but moved up to finish tenth on the SC Caracchi Ducati. Brookes has the benefit of Reigning World Champion Troy Corser as a mentor, and it looks like his advice is paying off!
Tom Tunstall was aiming to score some points and he succeeded coming home in fourteenth place. He had a tough battle on his hands keeping his Hardinge Ice Valley Honda ahead of Gianluca Nannelli but the gritty Brit did it.
Hawk Kawasaki BSB rider Dean Thomas looked like he was on for a top ten finish, when he had to retire with only two laps remaining. The weekend may not have panned out as he had planned but it has got him onto a bike after a winter lay off which should set him in good steed for the start of the British Superbike Championship.
WSS race results – Qatar: