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Sofuoglu cruises to Supersport pole

22 February 2014

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Kenan Sofuoglu has taken a comfortable 18th career World Supersport Championship pole position at Phillip Island as he maintained his stranglehold on the 2014 season opener.

The MAHI India Kawasaki rider has not been headed in any dry timed session since pre-season testing got underway earlier this week, the three-time champion carrying his comprehensive form into the race weekend to claim pole position by three tenths of a second.

Never headed throughout the session, Sofuoglu's closest rival was once again Michael van der Mark, the PATA Honda rider firmly securing his spot on the front row as the only rider within half-a-second of the Turk.

They will be joined on the front row, however, by an unexpected quantity in Roberto Tamburini, the experienced Italian vaulting up the timesheets late on in the qualifying session aboard the new San Carlo-branded Puccetti Kawasaki to go third best.

His efforts were enough to bump down Kev Coghlan and PJ Jacobsen, though the pair remain well placed in fourth and fifth having been able to continue their sparkling practice form into what is now the only qualifying session for the Supersport riders on a race weekend.

Reigning champions Yakhnich Motorsport, meanwhile, endured a mixed qualifying session, with Vladimir Leonov leading its charge on the MV Agusta in a solid sixth place, but big-name signing Jules Cluzel suffering an accident early on that would leave him down in 14th position.

In the absence of its lead rider Jack Kennedy, who was forced to withdraw after fracturing his ankle in testing, PTR Honda remains well represented in the upper echelons of the grid, with last minute signing Raffaele de Rosa qualifying seventh, while Ratthapark Wilairot will join him on the third row aboard the sister Core-backed machine despite suffering his second accident of the day.

Another rider to come down during the session, Lorenzo Zanetti recovered to ninth place on the second of the PATA Hondas, with local favourite Bryan Staring completing the top ten on the Rivamoto Honda ahead of his Supersport debut.

Elsewhere, wild-card riders Billy McConnell and Graeme Gowland will get underway in 12th and 18th on their respective Smiths Triumphs, while British rider Fraser Rogers gets underway in 23rd.


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