Having taken the world championship crown in the penultimate race of the year at Imola Ten Kate Honda's Karl Muggeridge approaches the last round of the year with the pressure very much off.

His natural competitive spirit has already won him six races in his title season, but the final round at Magny Cours will be treated like any other by the 30-year-old Australian, with Muggeridge going for a win and nothing less.

Foremost among his competitors will be his Ten Kate Honda team-mate, Broc Parkes. The 22-year-old Aussie rider has had a couple of close calls with the top step of the podium and he now has one more race left this year in which to take his first full status World Supersport success.

Both Ten Kate riders will be pushed all the way by another top-level Honda Supersport exponent, Sebastien Charpentier, from the Klaffi Honda team. A real force at virtually every race this year, on home tarmac Charpentier may well take his first race win since World Supersport became a full status FIM championship in the 1999 season.

On two previous occasions this year, at Oschersleben and Imola, the aforementioned Honda riders have monopolised all three podium positions.

The Magny Cours race weekend in 2003 was taken by the impressive form of Karl Muggeridge, winner of the three final races that season.

He feels that he can make it win number seven in 2004, if his pre-race preparations proceed as peerlessly as normal.

"I'm going to keep it the same format as every other race and finish in the same way as I've been recently," said Muggeridge. "Magny Cours is mot much of a rider's track but it's the same for everybody. I just hope we get some clear weather because when it's wet the surface is diabolical - like ice! We didn't have too big a celebration after winning the championship, partly because I knew we would be racing a few days later, and partly because I had the flu anyway!"

Parkes had an outstanding debut in the Ten Kate Honda team at Magny Cours last year, leading until he slipped off.

"Last year was my first time out for Ten Kate," said Parkes. "It was looking really good until I fell off. I've felt fast on the bike in the last few races and Imola was a good race for me. Magny Cours is a good track and more importantly, it just suits our bikes. Right now I'd say it was more important to take second place in the championship, but I also really want to win a race. I've shown that I've been there and been there, but not quite won a race yet."

 

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