Aug 30, 2002
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Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By Glenn LeSanto<BR><BR>EDWARDS MEANS BUSINESS<BR><BR>Castrol Honda's Colin Edwards took provisional pole at Oschersleben in Germany on Friday Afternoon, dipping more than a second under the existing lap record.<BR><BR>The Texan was fastest for most of Friday as he fought to keep his Championship chances alive. "HRC have certainly done their homework and improved the SP-2 motor," said Edwards. "There's no doubt that the championship is still alive for me and Castrol Honda and I want to prove that with two wins on Sunday."<BR><BR>His rival, and title leader, Troy Bayliss was second-fastest and the only other rider inside the 1:26 barrier. Bayliss waited until his last flying lap before moving up from eighth on the leaderboard to second place, 0.3-second down on Edwards.<BR><BR>Neil Hodgson ended up third-quickest after holding second place for most of the session on his HM Plant Ducati.<BR><BR>Bayliss's Ducati teammate Ruben Xaus completed the provisional front row for Sunday's two races with the third factory Ducati of Ben Bostrom fifth.<BR><BR><BR>Friday Afternoon Qualifying Results:<BR><BR>1. Colin Edwards, Honda RC51, 1:26.609 <BR>2. Troy Bayliss, Ducati 998F02, 1:26.984 <BR>3. Neil Hodgson, Ducati 998F01, 1:27.164 <BR>4. Ruben Xaus, Ducati 998F02, 1:27.698 <BR>5. Ben Bostrom, Ducati 998F02, 1:27.736 <BR>6. Chris Walker, Kawasaki ZX-7RR, 1:28.053 <BR>7. James Toseland, Ducati 998F01, 1:28.138<BR>8. Pierfrancesco Chili, Ducati 998RS, 1:28.138 <BR>9. Marco Borciani, Ducati 998RS, 1:28.188 <BR>10. Gregorio Lavilla, Suzuki GSX-R750, 1:28.253 <BR>11. Noriyuki Haga, Aprilia RSV1000, 1:28.331 <BR>12. Steve Martin, Ducati 998RS, 1:28.349 <BR>13. Juan Borja, Ducati 998RS, 1:28.396 <BR>14. Eric Bostrom, Kawasaki ZX-7RR, 1:28.601 <BR>15. Lucio Pedercini, Ducati 998RS, 1:28.948 <BR>16. Broc Parkes, Ducati 998RS, 1:29.214 <BR>17. Hitoyasu Izutsu, Kawasaki ZX-7RR, 1:29.736 <BR>18. Peter Goddard, Benelli Tornado 900, 1:29.947<BR>19. Alessandro Antonello, Ducati 998RS, 1:30.096 <BR>20. Serafino Foti, Ducati 996RS, 1:30.199 <BR>21. Mauro Sanchini, Kawasaki ZX-7RR, 1:30.225 <BR>22. Ivan Clementi, Kawasaki ZX-7RR, 1:30.233 <BR>23. Mark Heckles, Honda RC51, 1:30.571 <BR>24. Jiri Mrkyvka, Ducati 996RS, 1:32.739<BR>25. Thierry Mulot, Ducati 996SPS, 1:33.131 <BR>26. Yann Gyger, Honda RC51, 1:33.210 <BR>27. Giuliano Sartoni, Ducati 996RS, 1:34.053 <BR>28. Teodor Myszkowski, Yamaha YZF-R7, 1:34.302<BR><BR><BR>More, from Ducati Corse:<BR><BR>BAYLISS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) SECOND QUICKEST BEHIND EDWARDS (HONDA) IN FRIDAY QUALIFYING – XAUS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) AND BOSTROM (DUCATI L&M) FOURTH AND FIFTH<BR><BR>Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) and Honda rival Colin Edwards continued their season-long battle in the first qualifying session today for Round 11 of the World Superbike Championship at Oschersleben, Germany. The two riders were the only ones to dip below the 1m27s mark and Troy's time of 1:26.984 was just three-tenths of a second slower than the Texan, who set a new best lap around the 3.667 km circuit. Ducati Infostrada team-mate Ruben Xaus, a winner here last year, was also impressive, the Spanish rider slotting into fourth behind HM Plant Ducati's Neil Hodgson, with a time of 1:27.698, while Ducati L&M's Ben Bostrom also moved up to within striking position of the leading group with fifth quickest time of 1:27.736.<BR><BR>Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) set his quick time at the end of the session as he sliced a full second off to move closer to pole-sitter Edwards. "Everything is going OK, we have done a lot better than what we did here last year at the moment" declared Troy. "We're still missing a little bit to get closer to Colin, but we'll just work on the bike and hope we can improve tomorrow. There's not much more to come here, I'd like to get a little closer but I can't see us going any faster than that tomorrow so now I just want to improve on my race tyre. We've got a couple of little things to try out and then I'll be happy. I feel a bit rusty too, it's been a long month off the bike".<BR><BR>Xaus (Ducati Infostrada) lost time trying out the set-up from last year, when he won race 2, but then changed to this year's configuration to record fourth quickest time. "The session was OK" commented Ruben, "but we lost some time with the front tyre because I tested the one from last year, which was not working how I wanted it to. We then went back to this year's tyre in the front and tested that solution with a good rear I found, so tomorrow I hope to have a good set-up for the race tyre. It is important to do good laps with the race tyres because it's a long, difficult and physical race and setting a good time on race tyres is more important than qualifying".<BR><BR>Bostrom (Ducati L&M) took some time to get settled in but then pulled out a quick lap right at the end of the session to finish provisional fifth. "I definitely feel better than this morning now that I've got the bike dialled in" said Ben. "Oschersleben is a fun little circuit and I plan to just push hard and put in the best result I can. I miss that feeling of racing up front so that's my target for this weekend. I think we have a lot more work to do because we are a bit off on race tyre time so we need mostly to work on the bike until we are up front. The hardest part of this circuit is that you have got these big round corners and you've got to make the time through the corners, whereas for me it's easier to make up time on the brakes".<BR><BR><BR><BR>More, from HM Plant Ducati:<BR><BR>Optimism high at Oschersleben<BR><BR>The HM Plant Ducati team of Neil Hodgson and James Toseland have qualified in third and eighth positions respectively on the provisional grid for the 11th round of the Superbike World Championship at Oschersleben. Colin Edwards set the fastest time of the day with Ducati's reigning World Champion Troy Bayliss just taking second position from Hodgson in the closing stages of today's first official qualifying session.<BR><BR>The pole position time set by Hodgson in Superpole at last year's corresponding round (1:27.325) has been eclipsed by the top three riders on the first day of qualifying. However, there are still many laps to cover around the 3.667km circuit with everything still up for grabs in the championship overall.<BR><BR>The HM Plant Ducati riders are engaged in their own private battles for third (Hodgson) and seventh (Toseland) in the 2002 series. Both are looking good at this early stage to maintain their position thanks to the meticulous preparations of the Ducati Corse-supported team.<BR><BR>"I don't know what's changed about this place, but I already like it much more than I did last year," explained Hodgson. "Everyone is complaining about the bumps and ripples, but after the motocross training I've been doing over the summer break, it feels great to me!<BR><BR>"I'm finding a lot of grip on the HM Plant Ducati thanks to the work that Dunlop have put into developing two new tyres for this demanding circuit. I've managed to put in some consistent lap times and I haven't been pushing too hard on a qualifying tyre. I'm already looking forward to Superpole tomorrow."<BR><BR>Those sentiments were echoed by team-mate James Toseland who said, "I'm really enjoying the experience of riding around the Oschersleben circuit this year. Everything is working really well on the HM Plant Ducati and that is having a positive effect on my confidence.<BR><BR>"After finishing third in this morning's free practice, I know that I could have been further up the provisional grid, only to have messed up my fastest lap on a Dunlop qualifying tyre. I'll certainly be looking for an improvement on Saturday."<BR><BR><BR>More, from Playstation2-FGF Aprilia:<BR><BR>HAGA FINDS HIS WAY IN FIRST OSCHERSLEBEN TESTS <BR><BR>Oschersleben (Germany), Friday 30 August 2002 - The Superbike World Championship is back on track this weekend at Oschersleben in Germany. With three rounds to go, the season will wind up at Assen (Holland, 8 September) and Imola (29 September). Noriyuki Haga is making his debut on this circuit with the Aprilia RSV, so today was spent working on the settings and accumulating data. For the moment, the Japanese rider is placed eleventh. <BR><BR>NORIYUKI HAGA (Playstation2 - FGF Aprilia Team rider) - "I've only raced once on this track, in 2000, on a different bike. I really can't remember much about it, and what I do remember is of no use since the Aprilia is totally different. We've been trying out an entirely new set-up compared with previous races, but I don't think the initial results are as good as we were hoping for. The bike's fine, but the tyres and suspension still need sorting out." <BR><BR>GIACOMO GUIDOTTI (Technical Manager of the Playstation2 - FGF Aprilia Team) - "Here with Haga we have no references, and we knew the first day would be spent getting used to the circuit. Sure, in terms of times and rating, we're a bit further back than we were expecting. We had a few tyre problems, mainly with vibrations at front and rear. This could of course be because we haven't got the suspension quite right yet. At the end of the session, we did an in-depth analysis of the 2001 data, when we had different riders, to see if there were any references that might be of use." <BR><BR><BR>More, from Benelli:<BR><BR>Difficult start for Benelli Sport<BR><BR>After a month away from racing it was back to work for Benelli Sport at the Oschersleben circuit in Germany. But it proved to be a tough return for the team to competitive racing after the August holiday.<BR><BR>"We've struggled again here today," admitted rider Peter Goddard. "Although things are better than last year, we're still down on power."<BR><BR>Unfortunately, testing scheduled for August had to be cancelled, losing the team valuable time on the track to develop new parts recently introduced.<BR><BR>Goddard finished the session down in 18th place, "I hope we can improve on that as I'd really like to make it into Superpole before the end of the year!"<BR><BR>The team hope to make some more changes and improvements to the Benelli Tornado superbike before the last round at Imola in Italy.<BR><BR><BR><BR>More, from a press releases issued by Fuchs Kawasaki:<BR><BR>SECOND ROW FOR WALKER ON OSCHERSLEBEN DEBUT<BR><BR>Chris Walker stormed back from the summer break, to take his Fuchs Kawasaki ZX-7RR to an impressive sixth position during the opening day of qualifying for round eleven of the World Superbike Championship at Oschersleben, Germany.<BR><BR>On his first visit to the 3.667Km circuit, Walker quickly got the Fuchs Kawasaki dialled in, to once again finish as the highest qualifying four-cylinder machine; ahead of many of the favoured twins around the technical German track.<BR><BR>'I struggled to get into it a bit this morning, but I think everyone was feeling a bit rusty after the four-week layoff,' said Walker. 'It was only halfway through this afternoon's qualifying session that everything started to fall into place. I set my fastest time of the day when I managed to hook in behind Colin Edwards. I think he was actually on a warm-up lap, so big respect is due to him for that!'<BR><BR>'It's the usual story out there. We've got two legends in Colin and Troy up front and everyone else has to ride out of their skin just to keep up. But it's my first time at this circuit, so I'm confident that there will be a few places where I'll find some more time tomorrow. We've got a couple of race tyres to choose from, so I'll also have to spend a bit of time finding out which one works best,' continued Walker.<BR><BR>A determined performance from Hitoyasu Izutsu saw the former Japanese Superbike Champion secure seventeenth position aboard the Fuchs Kawasaki ZX-7RR this afternoon. Although still suffering the effects of a badly broken wrist, sustained at his home round in Sugo, the 31-year-old Japanese star is happy to be back on the bike and racing in World Superbikes once again.<BR><BR>With minor changes made to the bike during the interval, Izutsu set his fastest lap of the day on a race tyre, after encountering a problem with the rear qualifier on his flying lap.<BR><BR>'I hoped to be a bit higher up the grid today, but we had a few minor problems,' said Izutsu. 'We've made some changes to the front and rear suspension today, and I'm confident that I'll be able to improve on my qualifying position tomorrow.'<BR><BR>Eric Bostrom, riding the Kawasaki ZX-7RR, put in a brave performance to secure fourteenth place on the provisional grid, despite riding with injuries sustained in a boating accident seven days ago. Like Walker, this was Bostrom's first ride at the Oschersleben circuit, which makes today's performance all the more impressive.<BR><BR>'Right now my body is so sore from the boat crash and I almost can't ride the bike,' explained the American, who finished a close second in this year's AMA Superbike Championship just two weeks ago. 'I had some injections from our team physio and my chest is definitely better, but the problem now is my back, which feels like I have a knife stuck in it.'<BR><BR>'I actually really like the track, there are a couple of places where you seem to spend too much time on the side of the tyre, but I'm getting used to that. We have some improvements to make to the bike but, if I was fit, I could ride it how it is, so I just hope that my body improves before tomorrow,' added the 26-year-old Californian.<BR><BR><BR>More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki News Service:<BR><BR>TOP TEN FOR LAVILLA<BR><BR>Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra rider Gregorio Lavilla ended the first day of qualifying in tenth position, just two tenths of a second off sixth place. <BR><BR>Today's qualifying in the Motopark Oschersleben was closer than usual but all that could change tomorrow. <BR><BR>Gregorio has fully recovered from the injuries he sustained two rounds ago at Laguna Seca and is able to ride at full strength. He will be going all out to do a good Superpole tomorrow afternoon. <BR><BR>Colin Edwards (Honda) topped the standings today, with a time of 1:26.609.<BR><BR>GREGORIO LAVILLA 10TH, 1:28.253<BR>"I'm quite happy with how today went and I hope we will continue to improve tomorrow. This morning we had a bit of work to do and it was hard to go really fast. In the afternoon we made some suspension changes and I found I could go quite a bit quicker. Tomorrow we'll start from where we finished today and just make small changes and see if we can improve. Today I set my fastest time on qualifying rubber, but I'm happy because I only went one tenth of a second slower on normal race rubber. My target tomorrow is to make a really good Superpole and try and get a good grid place for Sunday."<BR><BR>Friday qualifying<BR>1 Edwards (Honda), 2 Bayliss (Ducati), 3 Hodgson (Ducati), 4 Xaus (Ducati), 5 Bostrom (Ducati), 6 Walker (Kawasaki), 7 Chili (Ducati), 8 Toseland (Ducati), 9 Borciani (Ducati), 10 LAVILLA<BR>(ALSTARE SUZUKI CORONA EXTRA)<BR><BR>FUJIWARA'S GOOD FORM CONTINUES<BR><BR>World Supersport Championship - Round 10, Oschersleben, Germany, August 30, 2002.<BR><BR>Team Alstare Suzuki rider Katsuaki Fujiwara continued his run of good form with a strong second place at the end of the first day of qualifying at Oschersleben today. <BR><BR>The Japanese rider posted a time of 1:30.398 just one tenth of a second slower then provisional pole-setter Fabien Foret (Honda). <BR><BR>It was not such a good opening day for team-mate Stephane Chambon. He finished 14th today but is certain his final qualifying position will be much higher up the grid.<BR><BR>KATSUAKI FUJIWARA 2ND, 1:30.398<BR>"I'm pretty happy at the moment. I am generally feeling good after my win at Brands Hatch in the last round and feel more comfortable. The bike felt more or less OK when we started, but because Oschersleben is so flat we soon decided to go for a softer rear spring. Now we will probably have a good look at the gearing, because I feel that 2nd, 3rd and 4th are not quite right for this track. If that works out well, then I'm sure I can challenge Foret for the pole."<BR><BR>STEPHANE CHAMBON 14TH, 1:31.275<BR>"My Suzuki felt good today, so the only thing wrong was me! The arm I injured at Brands Hatch feels OK and it certainly doesn't cause me any problems when I'm on the bike. Today I didn't get a good feeling with my bike, but I'm sure that things will improve tomorrow and I'll be much further up the grid."