Apr 28, 2001
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By Glenn LeSanto<BR><BR> Two teams dominate the front row for Sunday's Supersport race in Sugo after a crash-infested final qualifying session Saturday afternoon, Japan time. Sharing the front row are teams Belgarda Yamaha and Ten Kate Honda. Pole sitter Paolo Casoli snatched his fastest time with 19 minutes of the session remaining, and was the only rider to dip below the 1:33 mark with a fastest lap at 1:32.913 on his YZF-R6 Yamaha. <BR><BR>Alongside him for tomorrow's race will be Ten Kate rider Fabien Foret on his CBR600F4i with a time of 1:33.184. Third-fastest, and surprise front-row man was James Whitham, also on a Belgarda Yamaha. Not normally a good qualifier, Whitham headed the first half of the session and recorded a fastest lap of 1:33.194. Completing the front row is Foret's Ten Kate Honda teammate --and current joint Championship points leader-- Pere Riba. He finished the session with a best time of 1:33.337.<BR><BR> <BR>The session was peppered with crashes, many of them spectacular highsides, and was red-flagged three times. The first red flag was waved after Iain MacPherson's Kawasaki blew up early in the proceedings, dumping oil onto the circuit. Then Italian Antonio Carlacci highsided his DFX Racing Ducati 748 causing the red flag to be waved again. The qualifying session was stopped for a third time when Japanese rider Osamu Deguchi also highsided, was hit by his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R600 and lay dazed on the track for a moment. <BR><BR>Fabrizio Pirovano was another faller late in the session, also highsiding his GSX-R600 and also being hit by his machine, although this time the red flag stayed down. While Pirovano and Carlacci escaped with cuts and bruises Japanese wild-card entrant Deguchi was detained in the medical center while doctors decided if he needed to be moved to the hospital for X-rays as this report was filed.<BR><BR> <BR><BR>Supersport Final Qualifying times<BR>Sugo, Japan<BR> <BR><BR>1. Paolo Casoli, Yamaha, 1:32.913<BR><BR>2. Fabien Foret, Honda, 1:33.184<BR><BR>3. James Whitham, Yamaha, 1:33.194<BR><BR>4. Pere Riba, Honda, 1:33.337<BR><BR>5. Pier Bontempi, Yamaha, 1:33.507<BR><BR>6. Fabrizio Pirovano, Suzuki, 1:33.514<BR><BR>7. Kevin Curtain, Honda, 1:33.523<BR><BR>8. Katsuaki Fujiwara, Suzuki, 1:33.623<BR><BR>9. Christian Kellner, Yamaha, 1:33.654<BR><BR>10. Jorg Teuchert,Yamaha, 1:33.768