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Mar 23, 2002

Pitt And Kawasaki Win Supersport Race At Phillip Island

Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>Pitt makes the most of Yamaha's misery<BR><BR>By Glenn LeSanto<BR> <BR>Andrew Pitt took a popular win in front of his home crowd at Phillip Island in the World Supersport Championship. Yamaha rider Paolo Casoli<BR>lost the front end in Siberia on lap 20 while leading Pitt. Casoli's teammate James Whitham had also crashed out of the lead on lap two.<BR><BR>The win was Pitt's first ever World Supersport victory; despite winning the Championship last year the Australian had never previously won a Supersport race at World Championship level.<BR><BR>Piergiorgio Bontempi was promoted to second by Casoli's misfortune, without which he would have had to settle for third.<BR><BR>The race continued despite Karl Muggeridge suffering a huge engine failure on the main straight and pulling off in a cloud of oil smoke. Muggeridge managed to get off the racing line and left the circuit before reaching the turn-in point for turn one. He was fighting for fourth in a pack of riders at the time.<BR><BR>Stephane Chambon kept his cool to win that particular battle for fourth. Valencia race winner Fabien Foret ran off the track during the battle, forfeiting his chance to stay in the scrap. Foret was hit from behind by another rider and was very angry after the event. Kellner also dropped off the pace on the same lap as Foret's incident and lost sight of the Chambon, Fujiwara and Teuchert, who went on to finish in that order.<BR><BR>Pitt and Chambon now share the series points lead.<BR><BR>World Supersport Championship<BR>Phillip Island, March 24 2002<BR>Race result:<BR><BR>1 Andrew Pitt, Australia (Kawasaki) 34:18.694<BR><BR>2 Piergiorgio Bontempi, Italy (Ducati) 1:34.22.657<BR><BR>3 Stephane Chambon, France (Suzuki) 34:26.855<BR><BR>4 Katsuaki Fujiwara, Japan (Suzuki) 34:27.225<BR><BR>5 Jorg Teuchert, Germany (Yamaha) 34:28.978<BR><BR>6 Christian Kellner, Germany (Yamaha) 34:33.750<BR><BR>7 Christophe Cogan, France (Honda) 34:35.976<BR><BR>8 Iain MacPherson, GB (Honda) 34:36.004<BR><BR>9 Fabien Foret, France (Honda) 34:38.841<BR><BR>10 Alessio Corradi, Italy (Yamaha) 34:40.515<BR><BR><BR>World Supersport championship points after two of 12 rounds:<BR>1 TIE, Pitt/Chambon 36<BR>3 Foret 32<BR>4 Kellner 26<BR>5 Bontempi 25<BR>6 Chris Vermeulen, Australia (Honda) 18<BR>7 Corradi 15<BR>8 Fujiwara 13<BR>9 Teuchert 11<BR>10 James Whitham, GB (Yamaha) 10<BR><BR>Manufacturer points:<BR>1 TIE, Kawasaki/Suzuki 36<BR>3 Honda 34<BR>4 Yamaha 27<BR>5 Ducati 25<BR><BR>Next round: April 7 - Kyalami, South Africa<BR><BR><BR>More, from a Fuchs Kawasaki press release:<BR><BR>FIRST WIN FOR FUCHS KAWASAKI'S ANDREW PITT<BR><BR>Andrew Pitt blitzed the opposition at Phillip Island today, crossing the line with a clear four-second advantage to secure his first race win in the ultra competitive World Supersport championship. The victory moves both Pitt and Kawasaki to the top of the championship standings, with ten rounds of the series left to run.<BR><BR>With Pitt battling hard with Paolo Casoli for 18 laps of the 21-lap race, the result looked destined to be decided on the very final lap. But, as the two riders entered Siberia corner for the 19th time - with Casoli leading and Pitt applying pressure from behind - the experienced Italian made an uncharacteristic mistake and crashed out, leaving the Australian with a clear run to the chequered flag. Piergiorgio Bontempi trailed Pitt in to take second place, with Stephane Chambon claiming the final podium position in third.<BR><BR>'What a fantastic weekend.' declared a jubilant Andrew Pitt. 'To claim my first World Supersport pole position at my home circuit was good, but to back that up with my first win in the series was awesome - I still can't quite believe it.<BR><BR>'It was a hectic battle with Casoli, but I knew that if I was going to make a pass stick, then I'd have to pull out a decent advantage; to stop him just drafting past me on the start finish straight. I'd identified a few places where I was going to have a go at him in the last couple of laps, but in the end I didn't need to. He'd started riding a defensive line a couple of laps earlier and I think he just held onto the brakes a bit too long going into Siberia and lost the front on the bump on the way in.<BR><BR>'From then on it was just a case of trying to stay focussed for the last two laps. I could see the team and the crowd cheering as I came round to take the chequered flag and I'd like to say thanks to both; the team for all their hard work and the crowd for their fantastic support. Let's just hope this is the first win of many this season.'<BR><BR>Things didn't go quite so well for Pitt's young teammate, James Ellison. The 20-year-old European Superstock Champion didn't manage to get away with the leading group from the start and then was pushed wide and onto the dirt at Honda corner by another rider. After rejoining the race dead last, Ellison fought his way through the field to eventually finish in 15th place, and score another championship point to add to the one he collected in the first round of the series at Valencia.<BR><BR>'The bike bogged down off the line and I ended up stuck in the middle of the pack going into the first corner,' said Ellison. 'But then it got worse! I don't know who it was, but someone kept putting block passes on me, before forcing me off the track at Honda corner. I was right out on the dirt, so I couldn't brake, and had to run on until I'd slowed down enough to turn the bike round and rejoin the track. From then on it was simply a case of getting my head down and clawing back as many places as I could. Although I managed to pick up another point, I'm disappointed with the result and I'll definitely be looking to make amends in South Africa.'<BR><BR>'I'm very happy for both Andrew and the team,' said Fuchs Kawasaki Team Manager, Harald Eckl. 'The win proves Andrew's ability and, with all the hard work he's put in over the past two seasons, it's also well deserved. The fact that it came at Andrew's home circuit just makes the win even better.'<BR><BR><BR>Yet more, from a Ten Kate Honda press release:<BR><BR>Two top ten finishes in Phillip Island for Ten Kate Honda<BR><BR>Ten Kate Honda scored two top ten finishes in a hard-fought World Supersport race in Phillip Island today.<BR><BR>Fabien Foret was looking set for a top five finish when he felt the rear of his machine get nudged by another rider's front tyre. Although he was pushed off the track in the incident, Foret managed to stay upright and finished ninth.<BR><BR>"I am not very happy as I know I could have finished in the top five," said Foret after the race. "That would have left me at the top of the championship. But another rider collided with my swingarm in the middle of the last turn and it pushed me off the track."<BR><BR>His teammate Iain MacPherson recovered from a poor start and fought his way up through the pack for an eighth place finish and his first championship points on the Ten Kate Honda CBR600FS.<BR><BR>"I'm getting settled in with the bike each time I ride it," explained MacPherson. "We're working to tailor the bike to my riding style and I'm very impressed with the hard work that the Ten Kate Honda team, Pirelli tyres and WP Suspension have all put in for me."<BR><BR>Team Manager Ronald ten Kate tried to stay positive after the race, "At least Foret managed to save it and didn't actually crash. But it's a shame that the incident happened because he looked capable of finishing in front of the group he was battling with at the time. Because Casoli fell off at the end of the race that could have meant a third place and a big championship lead for Fabien."<BR><BR>Ronald ten Kate also praised the continuing progress being made by his new rider Iain MacPherson. "Iain's still improving and getting to know the bike and the Pirelli tyres. There are some tracks coming up that suit him and I reckon he'll be really quick at them."<BR>