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Aug 29, 2002

Dueling Oschersleben Previews: Fuchs Kawasaki With Eric Bostrom And Ducati With Ben Bostrom

From a press release issued by Fuchs Kawasaki:<BR><BR>WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP<BR>ROUND 11 - OSCHERSLEBEN, GERMANY<BR>29TH AUGUST 2002 - EVENT PREVIEW <BR><BR>CONFIDENCE HIGH AS FUCHS KAWASAKI PREPARE FOR OSCHERSLEBEN<BR><BR>As battle recommences in the World Superbike and Supersport Championships at Oschersleben this weekend, Fuchs Kawasaki's Andrew Pitt knows he needs nothing less than a win if he is to retain the title he won for Kawasaki in 2001.<BR><BR>'There are just three races left this season, and I need to win them all,' declared Pitt. 'We've tested at Oschersleben already this season, so we know we've got a good set-up and tyre for Sunday's race, but it's bound to be as hard fought as always. The chances are that it will come down to the last five laps once again, and I intend to be up there fighting to make sure that I'm the first across the line at the end.'<BR><BR>Previous experience of the Oschersleben track will also stand James Ellison in good stead this weekend, with the Fuchs Kawasaki rider keen to continue the success he had at the circuit during his two championship winning European Superstock seasons.<BR><BR>'I definitely like this track,' said Ellison. 'I've won the European Superstock race here for the last two years, and I've also ridden in the 24-hour Endurance race, so I've got a few laps under my belt. It's going to be a busy weekend here, but it will be good racing in front of the team's home crowd.'<BR><BR>Currently the leading four-cylinder rider in the Championship standings, Chris Walker can't wait to get back into action on the factory Kawasaki ZX-7RR at Oschersleben.<BR><BR>'I'm really looking forward to the weekend and it will be great to get back on the bike after the summer break,' commented Walker. 'It's another new track for me, but I've had a good look around and it looks smooth and flowing, which should suit the Kawasaki. I'm sure it will be the usual suspects breaking records every other lap, but I think we'll be able to get the bike set up well for this circuit, which means we shouldn't be too far behind. I'm sure we'll also get a lot of support from the fans this weekend, as this is the team's home round. I just can't wait to get out there!'<BR><BR>Having made the most of the summer break to work on building strength in his injured wrist, Hitoyasu Izutsu returns to Europe confident that he'll rediscover the form he enjoyed prior to his Sugo qualifying crash.<BR><BR>'My wrist is much improved and I'm looking forward to getting back on the bike this weekend,' said Izutsu. 'It's good to be racing in Germany, as the support for the team is always very special here, and I'm hopeful of a good result on Sunday. It's also good to be back in Europe, as Japan is incredibly hot at the moment!'<BR><BR>Joining Walker and Izutsu on the grid at Oschersleben will be Eric Bostrom, returning to Europe for the first time since finishing a close second in this year's AMA Superbike Championship.<BR><BR>'This is my first time at the race track and my first time in Germany,' said Bostrom. 'The track looks fun to ride, with some long constant radius corners, but it does make choosing the right tyre really important, as you're going to be on the side of it for long periods of time. All in all the track looks pretty cool, but I bet that triple left hand turn is going to take some balls!'<BR><BR><BR><BR>From a press release issued by Ducati Corse:<BR><BR>WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP<BR>Round 11 - Oschersleben (Germany)<BR>August 30-September 1, 2002<BR><BR>The World Superbike Championship returns to Germany for the second time this year after the one-month summer break for round 11 of 13. This time, the action takes place at the modern Oschersleben circuit in the recently flood-hit area close to Magdeburg, 150 kilometres south-west of Berlin.<BR><BR>Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) came away from the Brands Hatch round with a cracked rib and a bruised lower back but, more importantly, with his championship lead over Colin Edwards (Honda) still intact and the 33-year-old Australian goes into this weekend's round 39 points ahead of his Texan rival. "I haven't been on the bike for a month so I'm sure I'll be a bit rusty, but I feel perfect, fitter than ever" commented Troy. "It was good to have a month off, I've been training and now I just want to get back on the bike. Last year I had a DNF here, but these things happen occasionally and I'm sure it will turn out different this year. The points difference between me and Colin is not that much and I really want to come out here with more points than what I've got now. It's the same as every other weekend, I'm going to do everything I can to finish in front of Colin in both races and take whatever points I can get, but staying ahead of Colin is the most important thing".<BR><BR>Ruben Xaus (Ducati Infostrada) goes into the final three races knowing that last year his impressive run of two wins and four fourth places started here. "Last year I had two good races at Oschersleben, winning one and finishing second in the other, so I hope it will go the same again this year" declared Ruben. "The track is good for the Ducatis, the bike should work well and the tyres are perfect here. I just arrived here with the same mentality as every race, try to do well or win, and get as many points as possible to be in the top three at the end of the championship. Everyone in the team came back from their holidays really fired up, because we know from last year that the next three races are going to be good and so we're really confident for some good results".<BR><BR>Ben Bostrom (Ducati L&M) was involved in a boating accident in Sardinia in August with his brother Eric and friend Kat, but is determined to put the last couple of weeks out of his mind this weekend. "It's been a bit of a tough vacation, but through it all I managed to stay in pretty good shape and it's exciting to be back on the bike. Last year we were riding well here, I like this little track, it's good for dog-fights with other riders. I'll be aiming for third place in the championship for sure, but mainly to have a good time on the bike and if everything is working well, then I'm going to finish off the season with some positive results. I just plan to go out there and have fun riding, and if I do that then it'll be a good end to the season".<BR><BR>THE OSCHERSLEBEN CIRCUIT<BR>The Oschersleben circuit, half-way along the Hanover to Berlin motorway, was opened in July 1997 and is the third permanent race-track to be built in Germany after Nurburgring and Hockenheim. The circuit has hosted numerous international events including 24 Hrs World Endurance, World Superbike, FIA-GT World Cup, Super Touring and Formula 3000, and the complex also hosts outdoor festivals and concerts. World Superbike came here for the first time in 2000, and while facilities are top-class, the circuit itself has numerous constant-radius curves and few places to overtake.<BR><BR>POINTS (after 10 of 13 rounds): Riders - 1. Bayliss (Ducati) 441; 2. Edwards (Honda) 402; 3. Hodgson (Ducati) 257; 4. Bostrom (Ducati) & Haga (Aprilia) 206; 6. Xaus (Ducati) 193<BR><BR>CIRCUIT RECORDS<BR>Lap Record: Edwards (Honda) 1:27.988 (2001); Superpole: Hodgson (Ducati)1:27.325 (2001); Qualifying: Bostrom (Ducati) 1:27.610 (2001)<BR><BR>2001 RESULTS<BR>Race 1: 1. Edwards (Honda); 2. Xaus (Ducati); 3. Bostrom (Ducati).<BR>Race 2: 1. Xaus (Ducati); 2. Edwards (Honda); 3. Bayliss (Ducati).<BR>