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Sep 7, 2001

Wet? Dry? Assen Supersport Qualifying Plagued By Weather Changes

By Glenn Le Santo<BR><BR>The weather at Assen looks set to play its traditional part in the outcome of the racing here this weekend. The first timed qualifying session in the World Supesport series was plagued by changeable weather. At the start of the session the track was mainly damp, but there were dry patches and even some areas that were completely wet. It was a nightmare for tire selection, and it was made even more difficult because as soon as the riders took to the track a light rain began to fall.<BR><BR>With teams unsure if it was getting wetter or still drying out a variety of tire configurations was seen out on the track in the first minutes of the session. Then, around halfway through qualifying the track started to develop a full dry line. Some riders seized the opportunity and got out on qualifiers to put in some fast laps in case it rained again. Pere Riba on the Ten Kate Honda and Katsuaki Fujiwara on the Alstare Corona Suzuki got going in a cat-and-mouse chase for provisional pole. One moment Riba had it bagged and then the next it was Fujiwara at the top again. The pair became the only men into 2:08 territory as they battled for pole.<BR><BR>With the clock ticking away the final seconds Fujiwara grabbed provisional pole again with a lap at 2:08.497, this time there wasn't enough time left for Riba to respond. Championship leader Paulo Casoli was third-fastest in the session, but he remained outside the 2:08 territory with a best time of 2:09.015. Winner of the last race in Oschersleben, Fabien Foret was struggling with his set-up, he only managed to lap at 2:10.325, a lowly 18th-fastest on his Ten Kate Honda.<BR><BR>1. Katsuaki Fujiwara, Japan, Suzuki, 2:08.497<BR>2. Pere Riba, Spain, Honda, 2:08.553<BR>3. Paolo Casoli, Italy, Yamaha, 2:09.015<BR>4. V. Ianuzzo, Italy, Suzuki, 2:09.123<BR>5. Andrew Pitt, Australia, Kawasaki, 2:09.149<BR>6. C. Cogan, France, Yamaha, 2:09.211<BR>7. Kevin Curtain, Australia, Honda, 2:09.276<BR>8. I. MacPherson, Great Britain, Kawasaki, 2:09.317<BR>9. P. Bontempi, Italy, Yamaha, 2:09.737<BR>10. J. Hanson, Sweden, Yamaha, 2:09.800