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Mar 9, 2002

When They Say Riders' Meetings Are Mandatory In World Supersport, Apparently They Mean It

From a press release issued by Belgarda Yamaha, including the news that Jamie Whitham had to sit out morning practice for missing the riders' meeting:<BR><BR>Team Yamaha Belgarda news<BR>World Supersport Championship, Round 1, Valencia, Spain<BR>Friday 8th March<BR>Weather: Dry, mostly sunny 21 Deg C<BR><BR>CASOLI HAPPY.<BR>Italian Paolo Casoli posted the day's eighth fastest man and left the circuit a happy rider. When he rode at Valencia just two weeks ago, he was still in pain due to his injured finger and didn't push hard. But now the finger is not causing any discomfort and so Casoli was able to ride without any nagging worries. Considering Valencia is his most unfavourite track, eighth quickest today was enough to bring a smile to his face.<BR><BR>Casoli's teammate Jamie Whitham was forced to sit out the morning untimed session after arriving too late for the technical briefing yesterday afternoon. His connecting flight from England touched down just late enough to make him miss the briefing. The team informed the organisers that Whitham would not be present for the briefing beforehand and then there was a bit of a misunderstanding which led to Whitham not being allowed out for the first session. If the team had not tested at Valencia recently, this might have been a bit of a problem, but the bike's setting was fresh in the team's minds and they didn't feel too disadvantaged.<BR><BR>Paolo Casoli ­ 8th, 1:39.446<BR>"I'm happy because I have almost no pain from my finger and I was able to put in some laps that are OK.This is the first time I've ever been happy at Valencia and now I'm looking forward to tomorrow's practice and getting further up the grid. I wasn't looking forward to this race before, but now, it doesn't seem so bad. Maybe one day I'll get to actually enjoy riding here as well!"<BR><BR>Jamie Whitham ­ 10th, 1:39.608<BR>"The bike was perfect this morning ­ but that's probably because I never got to swing my leg over it! I'm not too fussed really, but I guess I would've been pretty angry if we hadn't tested here so recently. This afternoon I took it nice and steady and cruised around, though I did feel that grip level was not as good as two weeks ago. We started off with my bike set up more or less how we finish the tests two weeks ago. That was set up more to Paolo's taste then mine, but it seemed work OK for me, so that's why we started like that. I am pretty happy with it and we'll carry on the fine-tuning tomorrow. Tyres will be a factor here, so we're going to spend quite a lot of time tomorrow trying a few tyres. Valencia is always a problem for tyres, so if I can some that'll last the race and give good grip, I'll be chuffed."<BR><BR>Maio Meregalli ­ Team Manager<BR>"It was a bit disappointing with Jamie not being allowed to ride this morning, but It didn't really give us too much of a set-back. Just a misunderstanding really ­ nothing else. But I am surprised at how well Paolo went and surprised because he is happy! He has never liked this track before. His injury was causing him a lot of pain in the tests, so maybe he knew he couldn't make a good result and relaxed and just rode. Now that the finger is much better and he has stayed relaxed, he was able to make some good lap times. Who knows what'll happen on raceday, but we feel very positive and are hoping for a good result."<BR><BR>Friday qualifying<BR>1 Foret (F-Honda) 1:38.156<BR>2 Corradi (I-Yamaha) 1:38.730<BR>3 Chambon (F-Suzuki Alstare Corona Extra) 1:38.920<BR>4 Cruciani (I-Yamaha) 1:39.085<BR>5 Kellner (D-Yamaha) 1:39.245<BR>6 Teuchert (D-Yamaha) 1:39.275<BR>7 Vermeulen (AUS-Honda) 1:39.284<BR>8 Casoli (I-Yamaha Belgarda) 1:39.446<BR>9 Daemen (B-Honda) 1:39.585<BR>10 Whitham (GB-Yamaha Belgarda) 1:39.608, <BR>