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Jul 24, 2002

Edwards Is Ready For Brands Hatch World Superbike

From a press release issued by Honda:<BR><BR>HONDA RACING INFORMATION<BR><BR>Brands Hatch, Europe - 2002 World Superbike championship round 10, 2002 World Supersport championship round nine - Sunday July 28<BR><BR>Edwards out to impress biggest crowd of year<BR><BR>Castrol Honda's Colin Edwards is aiming to continue where he left off in the last round with a repeat victory in Sunday's 10th round of the World Superbike championship at Brands Hatch, GB.<BR><BR>The European round traditionally attracts the biggest spectator attendance of the year and last year's 122,000 three-day crowd is expected to be drastically increased with ticket sales more than 30 percent up on last year.<BR><BR>Edwards arrives at Brands Hatch after a test at Suzuka, Japan last week and following his victory in a thrilling second race of round nine at Laguna Seca, USA two weeks ago.<BR><BR>"Winning at Laguna Seca was very special for me," admits Edwards. "I'd never even finished on the podium there before in my life. It was great for everyone involved in the team to get that much needed boost and it went down well with the American fans they were keen to tell me how they were going to buy SP-2s after watching me win."<BR><BR>Edwards takes on the Brands Hatch event, 53 points behind series leader Troy Bayliss but the American SP-2 rider believes the 2002 season is far from over.<BR><BR>"You only have to look what happened at Laguna Seca, as soon as I got a gap at the front Troy started making mistakes as he was trying to catch up. It would take nothing to turn this championship on its head," says Edwards.<BR><BR>The affable 28-year-old is also setting the pace in the record books this year with 17 successive podium finishes, eclipsing the previous record of 12 set by Carl Fogarty in '95 and '99.<BR><BR>Edwards has also contributed 23 wins to the Castrol Honda team's tally of 47 from the nine years the team has challenged for the World Superbike title and, more than a third of the team's 158 podium finishes.<BR><BR>The Texan's record at Brands Hatch is equally impressive with four wins in the last four years at the 2.62-mile circuit.<BR><BR>"Everything's in place for me to go out, win two races and shoot straight back into the title race," predicts Edwards. "We are confident that the SP-2 Michelin combination will work at Brands Hatch and, after the Laguna Seca win, I've never been more fired up."<BR><BR>Mark Heckles will be hoping to give the Castrol Honda Rumi team success on the HRC kit SP-2 at Brands Hatch the scene of Heckles' first podium finish on his international debut in the 2000 European Superstock race.<BR><BR>"Brands Hatch is a circuit I know and like and, just like the Silverstone round in May, it's my home country with a big crowd and I'd like to give them something to shout about," says Heckles.<BR><BR>The World Supersport championship resumes at Brands Hatch with Ten Kate Honda's Fabien Foret looking to extend his three-point championship lead in Sunday's ninth round.<BR><BR>Foret, looking for his fourth race win of the year believes: "We have everything needed to win at Brands Hatch. The Ten Kate Honda has won there before and on Pirelli tyres so I've every reason to believe I can win again."<BR><BR>Foret is joined in the Ten Kate team by Scotsman Iain MacPherson, looking to improve on his current 11th place in the points standings.<BR><BR>The Honda UK duo of Karl Muggeridge and John McGuinness have every reason to believe Brands Hatch can bring success to the CBR600-mounted pair.<BR><BR>Muggeridge is confident the engine improvements made in the break since the last round at Misano, San Marino five weeks ago will be enough for him to add to his podium finish at Silverstone earlier in the year.<BR><BR>World Supersport rookie McGuinness is convinced Brands Hatch will give him the kind of result he's been searching for all year.<BR><BR>McGuinness says: "I've won at Brands Hatch before and held the Supersport lap record so I just can't wait to get going and at a circuit I know well. It's been tough at times this year trying to learn new circuits, set up the machine and record fast qualifying laps but it should be different this weekend."<BR><BR>The Van Zon Honda team currently hold eighth and 15th places in the championship standings, with Chris Vermeulen and Werner Daemen respectively.<BR><BR><BR>Brands Hatch data:<BR><BR>Superbike:<BR>2001 Qualifying: Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda) 1:26.556<BR>2001 Superpole: Neil Hodgson (Ducati) 1:26.769<BR>2001 Winner: Ben Bostrom (Ducati) x 2<BR>Lap record: Ben Bostrom (Ducati) 1:26.884 (July 2001)<BR><BR>Supersport:<BR>2001 pole position: James Whitham (Yamaha) 1:29.668<BR>2001 winner: Jorg Teuchert (Yamaha)<BR>Lap record: Iain MacPherson (Kawasaki) 1:30.129 (August 2000)<BR><BR>
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