The Ten Kate Honda team have signalled their intentions loud and clear during three days of testing down under on Phillip Island, Australia. Pere Riba recorded an incredible time on the last day of testing, a full 1.1 seconds inside the existing Supersport lap record at the windswept circuit. His team mate Fabien Foret wasn't far behind and was second fastest overall.

Conditions were less than ideal over the period of the test, including high winds and, on the last day when the winds died down, some very hot track temperatures. But despite this the two riders put in an impressive display to dominate proceedings on their Honda CBR600FS machines. Riba's fastest time of 1min 35.778secs was truly incredible. Foret was only half a second down on his team mate at 1min 36.290secs.

The Van Zon Honda TKR (Ten Kate Racing) rider Chris Vermeulen, who is also riding a Ten Kate prepared CBR600FS this season, showed his potential by lapping fourth fastest during the tests. Vermeulen looked rejuvenated with a best time of 1min 37.056secs.

Pere Riba was obviously delighted to start the New Year in such fine form, "We've all been working so hard during the winter," explained the Spanish rider," my times today prove that it's all been worthwhile. I want to thank my team and also Pirelli, who have done so much to make the Pirelli tyres even better than they already were. It's all very encouraging for me and the team."

Considering that before this week Phillip Island hadn't been a favoured track, Foret's times were also very impressive. "I haven't been very comfortable at this track in the past so this has been very important for me," admitted Foret, "I am much happier with the circuit now. We concentrated on improving the set up of the bike step by step but we still have maybe 5% more to find. I agree with Pere, the tyres are fantastic, Pirelli have done an amazing job this winter improving what was already the best rubber in the series."

Now the members of the Ten Kate Honda team that travelled to Australia will return to their base in Holland to join their colleagues. Several key personnel have stayed behind to complete work on the 2002 specification bikes. At Phillip Island the team were running 2001 bikes fitted with some parts from the 2002 specification. At the next test in Valencia during 23 - 25 February the full 2002 specification will be used for the first time.

Times:

1. Pere Riba 1 min 35,7 secs
2. Fabien Foret 1 min 36,2 secs
3. Andrew pitt 1 min 36,5 secs
4. Chris Vermeulen 1 min 37.0 secs
5. James Ellison 1 min 37,2 secs
6. Karl Muggeridge 1 min 37,7 secs
7. John McGuinness 1 min 38,5 secs