Honda And Suzuki Preview This Weekend’s Oschersleben World Superbike Round

Honda And Suzuki Preview This Weekend’s Oschersleben World Superbike Round

© 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.


From a press release issued by Castrol Honda:


Title in sight for determined Edwards

Castrol Honda’s Colin Edwards is looking to add to his tally of wins at the Oschersleben track in Germany as the World Superbike championship resumes with round 11 on Sunday.

The impressive Edwards and Castrol Honda combination has won three of the four races held so far at the circuit near Magdeburg and Edwards believes Sunday could well be a turning point in the championship.

“We’ve always been strong at Oschersleben and there’s no reason to believe this weekend should be any different,” predicts Edwards.

He continues: “I spent a couple of days testing with Michelin in France last week and I know that they have the tyres it takes to win in Germany and HRC have been busy in the August break improving the SP-2.”

Edwards trails championship leader Troy Bayliss by 39 points with three rounds, six races, to go in the 2002 campaign.

“Two wins for me in Germany would mean the points gap would be down to little more than a race win and that’s if Troy’s second in both races,” Edwards explains.

Edwards also arrives in Germany having won the last three races and also secured victory in the Suzuka 8 hours race in Japan. His 2002 form has also seen him take 19 successive podium finishes in the championship from the 20 races so far just a fourth place in the opening race of the year preventing a clean sweep.

Team manager Neil Tuxworth says: “Colin is at the top of his game, riding better than ever and we’ve every reason to believe he will push Troy Bayliss and Ducati all the way in the battle for the 2002 title.”

Castrol Honda Rumi team’s Mark Heckles is hoping the tight and twisty Oschersleben circuit will provide him with an opportunity for two strong finishes aboard the HRC kit SP-2 machine.

“I’m sure I can do well at Oschersleben – providing we can find a good setting with the machine,” says Englishman Heckles. “It’s more down to the rider there and not so much horsepower so I’m looking for two points-scoring finishes.”

Honda’s World Supersport Championship title hope Fabien Foret defends a nine-point lead in the series with three rounds remaining. The Frenchman has impressed throughout the 2002 campaign, taking three victories and he arrives in Germany in confident mood.

Foret set the pole position time at Oschersleben 12 months ago and took victory in the race, he believes: “The title is mine to win or lose now. We’ve worked hard to build up the points advantage and a win on Sunday in Germany will be crucial to winning the title.”

The Frenchman adds: “The Oschersleben circuit suits the CBR600 machine so I’ve every reason to believe that I can win but I’ll also be looking for points so a safe ride in Sunday’s race is also very important.”

Victory in the last round at Brands Hatch promoted Suzuki’s Katsuaki Fujiwara to second place in the 12-round series with the top four riders now separated by 25 points, the total on offer for a race win.

A host of other Honda riders will all be looking for a strong end of season finish starting with success in Sunday’s race, the first of three in September which conclude the championship.

Chris Vermeulen, on the Van zon Honda, is out to make amends after being taken out in a first-corner crash in last year’s race while Foret’s teammate Iain MacPherson knows that a top three finish in Sunday’s race would give him a realistic chance of a top six championship finish.

Oschersleben data:

2001 Qualifying: Ben Bostrom (Ducati) 1:27.610
2001 Superpole: Neil Hodgson (Ducati) 1:27.325
2001 winners: Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda) and Ruben Xaus (Ducati)
Lap record: Ruben Xaus (Ducati) 1:27.669 (September 2001)

2001 pole position: Fabien Foret (Honda) 1:30.620
2001 winner: Fabien Foret (Honda)
Lap record: James Whitham (Yamaha) 1:30.806(September 2001)

From a press release issued by Team Suzuki News Service:


2002 Superbike World Championship, Preview – Round 11, Oschersleben, Germany, 1st September:

THE 11th round of the 2002 Superbike World Championship takes place at Oschersleben in Germany and is the third time that the circuit has hosted a round of the championship.

Oschersleben is also the first round since Brands Hatch at the end of the July and the first of two races on successive weekends. The summer break has given Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra rider Gregorio Lavilla time for his injuries to mend and the Spaniard is looking forward to the race.

He took runner-up spot there in 2000, but knows that a podium will be more difficult to take this time.

“The time off since Brands Hatch has meant that my injuries are now much better and I have been able to train again. It is one thing racing unfit and one thing racing whilst injured. At least I know that I will be able to push hard at Oschersleben ­ something I could not do at Brands Hatch. Not many teams have tested at Oschersleben, so we will not be so disadvantaged this time and I hope that we can come away with a couple of strong results. I know that the season is coming towards an end, but we all want to finish on a good note and that’s what we’ll be chasing at Oschersleben and the final two races.”

2001 results


2002 Supersport World Championship, Preview – Round 10, Oschersleben, Germany, 1st September:

THE 10th round of the Supersport World Championship at Oschersleben is a critical one for the hopes and fortunes of Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra riders Katsuaki Fujiwara and Stephane Chambon.

Second and third currently, both know that nothing less than a good result at the German circuit will do if one of them is to take the title this year. In the last round at Brands Hatch, Fujiwara took a superb victory and will be looking to do the same again at Oschersleben. His teammate Chambon fell heavily at Brands and caused the race to be red-flagged. He suffered a deep wound in his arm, and wanted to take part in the re-start but was prevented to take his place on the grid by the medical officials and could only watch as his rivals scored valuable title points.

Chambon won the Supersport race at Oschersleben in 2000 and would like to do the same again this time, but will have a strong fight on his hands from many riders, including his own teammate Fujiwara.

“It was so good to win a race properly ­ at Brands Hatch ­ and now that I’ve done it, I want more! Last year, at Oschersleben, I didn’t get to finish the race, but this year I am confident that I can make a good result. I quite like the track ­ it’s a bit technical ­ and I think I can get a good result. It is quite narrow in places and the first turn is very important. You have to have a position on the first two rows of the grid and then get a good start; otherwise you have too much work to do. I would like to get pole position and then run the race from the front, but I think many other riders want the same thing!”

“I wanted so badly to take part in the re-start at Brands Hatch because I was worried that I would be losing points on my rivals. But, I think that the decision of the doctors was right. It does mean that I need to win at Oschersleben to restore my title dreams though. It’s not an easy track, but I’ve won there before and I know I can do it again. My arm will not bother me in the race and I am ready to give everything I have to get a good result. I’d like a 1-2, with me first and maybe ‘Kats’ second.”

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