Irwin ready for first World Supersport Championship start at Chang

At a blisteringly hot Chang International circuit CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider Andrew Irwin made headway throughout Saturday to qualify 25th fastest for his first World Supersport Championship race after missing the season opener in Australia through injury.  The Ulsterman was encouraged with his progress and is looking for the best possible finish at his first race at the Thai circuit.

 

Irwin said: “Qualifying was ok, we made another step from FP3.  I have to be realistic and a small step forward is better than no step or a step backwards.  We’ll try to make another step in warm up to try to get into that group that is about .3/.4 ahead and who knows, if I can find another bit of time there hopefully in the race I can get into that rhythm, that groove and maybe get a point but I’ll keep giving 100%.”

Fellow CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider Niki Tuuli’s qualifying didn’t go to plan when despite significant progress in the morning’s Free Practice 3, he didn’t make Superpole 2 and will start tomorrow’s 17 lap race from 18th spot.

Tuuli said: “This morning the riding felt ok, I put in quite a good lap time with a used tyre and that gave me confidence for Superpole.  I was really sure I could make SP2 but it didn’t happen.  I don’t know what the problem is but I just can’t put laps together and ride one good lap time like I did this morning.  Now we have to find the key and tomorrow do my best in the race and get as many points as I can.  Thanks to the team.”

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “Andrew has  improved throughout the day and there’s still a lot more to come.  We are looking to get the best possible finish under his belt at his first World Supersport race.  It’s always a long hard race here and we have to see what can happen, maybe a point or two, top twenty for certain.”

“It just didn’t come together for Niki, all the promise was there.  We made all the right changes and everything was there to be in the 37s.  I can’t say we would have matched Mahias and I have to congratulate him and the GRT team on a superb pole position, but if I look at the times and the ability of Niki combined with our package we shouldn’t be outside the top six.  It’s disappointing but there is no point looking backwards we need to get a good start and score as many points as possible.”

The lights go out for Round Two of the World Supersport Championship tomorrow at 14:30 local time (08:30 BST)

Results – Superpole 1

1 R. Wilairot 1’38.249

2 K. Smith 1’38.661

3 D. Kraisart 1’38.770

4 J. Kennedy 1’38.785

5 L. Cresson 1’38.849

6 A. Badovini 1’38.936

7 A. Kamaruzaman 1’38.943

8 N. Tuuli CIA Landlord Insurance Honda 1’38.959

9 T. Gradinger 1’39.054

10 M. Di Meglio 1’39.262

15 A. Irwin CIA Landlord Insurance Honda 1’39.993

 

Free Practices & Superpole Combined Results

1 L. Mahias 1’36.738

2 J. Cluzel 1’36.967

3 F. Caricasulo 1’37.235

4 S. Cortese 1’37.447

5 R. Krummenacher 1’37.505

6 A. West 1’38.031

7 R. Wilairot 1’38.042

8 T. Warokorn 1’38.077

9 H. Okubo 1’38.100

10 L Stapleford 1’38.164

18 N. Tuuli CIA Landlord Insurance Honda 1’38.959

25 A. Irwin CIA Landlord Insurance Honda 1’39.993