Sofuoglu the champion with three races to spare
Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) finished second in the Brands Hatch Supersport race and in doing so he scored his first and Honda’s sixth Riders’ Championship. All six have come from the Ten Kate Honda team, the first with Fabien Foret in 2002, then Chris Vermeulen (2003), Karl Muggeridge (2004) and Sebastien Charpentier (2005 and 2006). The Prime Minister of Turkey called Sofuoglu to congratulate him personally at his success, shortly after the culmination of the race.
Second in qualifying, Sofuoglu chose to leave eventual winner Broc Parkes to finally capitalize on his lead after the messy early laps were completed, and concentrate his own efforts on scoring enough points to take him unassailably clear of Fabien Foret in the championship fight.
Sofuoglu now has an advantage of 80 points, with only a maximum of 75 left to be gained by any single rider. He is on a total of 206, with Foret on 126. In the Manufacturers’ Championship Honda leads by 56 points with races still to be completed at Eurospeedway Lausitz, Vallelunga and Magny-Cours.
Despite having to start at the every back of the grid after a late machine change, Sebastien Charpentier (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) worked his way back to 15th, but was excluded for not entering Parc Ferme on his return to pitlane at the end of the 23 lap race. Charpentier had scored his 21st pole position success in qualifying, and was originally set to start from the first place on the grid. He is now 13th overall, with 37 points.
Katsuaki Fujiwara (Althea Honda Team CBR600RR) was third in qualifying and was looking for a podium in a warring four-rider group until his machine stopped on lap 17. He is, however, still third overall in the championship standings, with a total of 87 points.
Lorenzo Alfonsi (Althea Honda Team CBR600RR) came good in a race for which he qualified inside the top ten, and he made the most of his top ten finish by securing his season high of seventh place, moving to tenth position overall, on 45 points.
Sofuoglu was overcome with the magnitude of the day he sealed the title, especially as his ambition was achieved so early in his amazing championship year.