Sofuoglu opens PI test on top

Kenan Sofuoglu holds off Michael van der Mark and Vladimir Leonov as two days of World Supersport testing at Phillip Island gets underway.
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Reigning champion Kenan Sofuoglu picked up where he left off as he opened up the official two day World Supersport test at Phillip Island with the fastest time.

Heading into 2013 with his sights set on a record-breaking fourth WSS title – and a second consecutive success with Kawasaki -, Sofuoglu gave little suggestion that his switch from Lorenzini to Mahi Racing would hinder his title favourite status as he emerged two tenths clear in the first of four sessions to be held over Monday and Tuesday.

Still, he had to work hard for the top spot, with rookie Michael van der Mark proving immediately up to speed on the Pata Honda by holding down the fastest time for much of the session, only for Sofuoglu to move ahead in the closing stages.

Making it three manufacturers inside the top three, Yakhnich Yamaha's Vladimir Leonov was another to enjoy a stint at the top of the timesheets before ending the session third. However, new team-mate Sam Lowes endured a troubled start to the test as he managed just three slow laps without setting a time.

Fabien Foret was fourth quickest on the second of the Mahi Kawasakis, ahead of the impressive Roberto Rolfo, the ex-MotoGP/WSBK rider showing the all-new ParkinGO MV Agusta F3 to be a competitive package in its first group outing in fifth, just seven tenths off the ultimate pace.

WSS 2011 runner-up David Salom marked his return with the sixth fastest time, ahead of Gabor Talmacsi and wild-card Josh Hook, while Alex Baldolini and Christian Iddon rounded out the top ten on their respective Lorini Honda and ParkinGO MV Agusta machines.

Further back, 2012 British Supersport runner-up Jack Kennedy ended his first WSS session 22nd for Rivamoto Honda, while Kev Coghlan was 26th best on the DMC Lorenzini Kawasaki.

Elsewhere, Hook's wild-card counterpart Kevin Curtain – runner-up in 2006 – was 25th fastest in a field of 34 riders aboard his Yamaha R6.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Kenan Sofuoglu - Mahi Kawasaki [pic credit: Kawasaki Press]
Kenan Sofuoglu - Mahi Kawasaki [pic credit: Kawasaki Press]
Roberto Rolfo, Lucas Mahias, Photo Finish, [Credit: Dorna]
Kenan Sofuoglu, World Supersport [Credit: Kenan Sofuoglu]
Kenan Sofuoglu, World Supersport [Credit: Kenan Sofuoglu]
Kazuki Watanabe, Team Go Eleven Kawasaki, [Credit:]
Yamaha YZF-R6, EICMA show, Milan [Credit: Yamaha Motor Europe]
Yamaha YZF-R6, EICMA show, Milan [Credit: Yamaha Motor Europe]
Lukas Trautmann, Superstock 1000, Yamaha [Credit: WSBK - Toni Borner]
Kyle Smith on the Pata Honda at Phillip Island
Kyle Smith on the Pata Honda at Phillip Island
Kieran Clarke will return to the World Supersport Championship in 2015 with PTR in the CIA Insurance Honda team
Kyle Smith - PATA Honda
Pata Honda`s Michael van der Mark celebrates podium finish at Phillip Island
Pata Honda`s Michael van der Mark during testing at Phillip Island
New PTR Honda signing Matt Davies
Austria`s David Linortner has joined PTR Honda for 2013 World Supersport Championship
Fabien Foret, Ten Kate Honda

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February 18, 2013 1:24 AM

You know, many people on here think Kenan cannot ride big bikes but I think he has not had a proper go at them. He rode the Hond in 2008 but that Honda has been a one horse rider since 2008. Checa won races, Kiyonari won couple and Rea, but no one has really mounted a proper honda challenge since JT in 2007. Kenan is more mature now and he has not ridden a big bike since 2008 (PS. his brother died that season as well so he had a rough year). I think he would do well if he graduated to superbikes now unless he has also convinced himself he cannot do it because of the rough 2008 experience.

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