Mar 23, 2002
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From Castrol Honda:<BR><BR>AUSTRALIAN POLE POSITION FOR EDWARDS<BR><BR>Castrol Honda's Colin Edwards grabbed pole position for Sunday's second round of the World Superbike championship with a sensational lap in aturday's Superpole final qualifying session here at Phillip Island, Australia.<BR><BR>Edwards repeated his best lap from the qualifying sessions to take his first pole position since the German round at Oschersleben in September 2000. It was the 28-year-old American's 11th pole position in World Superbike.<BR><BR>"Everything's gone well for two days," explained Edwards. "I knew I had the fast lap in me but you never know what the opposition have got in reserve. It's great to be on pole again after so long.<BR><BR>"Getting a race setting has been so important here, we've done that and all despite the wind changing regularly which means you've got to adjust braking points and some lines.<BR><BR>"We've got two 22-lap races tomorrow and that's a totally different story. Troy (Bayliss) just had a bad lap today and he'll be right there tomorrow. I'm confident enough for the races but so much will depend on the temperature and how the tyres stand up."<BR><BR><BR>From Fuchs Kawasaki:<BR><BR>POLE POSITION FOR DOMINANT PITT AT PHILLIP ISLAND<BR><BR>Andrew Pitt, dominated proceedings in front of his home crowd at Phillip Island today. The Fuchs Kawasaki rider finished fastest in free practice this morning, before blitzing his way to his first ever World Supersport pole position during this afternoon's second and final qualifying session.<BR><BR>The final ten minutes of supersport qualifying are usually frenetic, and today was no exception. Winner of the opening round, Fabien Foret, made the early running before being ousted from pole position by former champion, Stephane Chambon. With just 90 seconds left of the session to run, Pitt made his move; stopping the clock at 1:35.777 to claim pole position as his own. Britain's Jamie Whitham took the final front row place on the grid for tomorrow's Supersport race.<BR><BR>'I knew I could get into the low 36's, but I didn't think I was going to be able to get into the 35's on my last flying lap,' said a jubilant Pitt. 'It was a pretty crazy lap to be honest. I had to shut off slightly to avoid running into someone at the first turn, so I just went for it over the rest of the lap. This is my first world championship pole position and I couldn't think of a better circuit at which to do it.<BR><BR>'It's real good to get pole but it doesn't really give you such a big advantage in World Supersport, as the races invariably come down to a last lap battle between 9 or 10 riders. I'm sure that's the way it will go tomorrow and I'll definitely be in there looking to come out of the last lap sort out in first place.'<BR><BR>With a qualifying time that would have put him on pole position at this round last year, James Ellison was happy to finish tenth fastest in only his second outing on the Kawasaki ZX-6R, securing himself a third-row start. Less than a second off the front row, the 20-year-old Fuchs Kawasaki rider is confident of making up places from the start when the 21-lap race gets underway tomorrow.<BR><BR>'We found a good set-up during preseason testing here at Phillip Island, and that definitely helped today,' said Ellison. 'Everything seemed to come good this afternoon; the bike was going well and I'm definitely a lot more confident in the front end now. I'll be looking to make a good start tomorrow and, if I can latch onto the back of the leading group on the first lap, then I'm confident that I can stay with them over full race distance.'<BR><BR><BR>From Fuchs Kawasaki:<BR><BR>SECOND ROW FOR IZUTSU AS EDWARDS CLAIMS POLE<BR><BR>Colin Edwards claimed pole position at Phillip Island this afternoon, following two mistakes by Australian Troy Bayliss on his Superpole lap. Bayliss will start from second place on the grid, with Nori Haga and Neil Hodgson making up the remainder of the front row.<BR><BR>After highsiding his Kawasaki ZX-7RR at Lukey Heights in the final ten minutes of the warm-up session, Fuchs Kawasaki rider, Hitoyasu Izutsu was forced to wheel out his number two bike for Superpole; not an ideal situation when you only get one shot at a qualifying lap. Despite the switch, the former Japanese Superbike Champion qualified seventh fastest and will start from the second row of the grid tomorrow.<BR><BR>'Crashing ten minutes beforehand probably isn't the best way of preparing for Superpole, especially when it stops you from using your number one bike for the flying lap,' said Izutsu. 'Despite having to make the switch, I was happy with my Superpole lap, but I'm looking forward to getting back onto my number one machine for tomorrow's race.'<BR><BR>He's well known for his lightening starts, but even Chris Walker will have his work cut out barging his way through from 14th place of the grid tomorrow. The 29-year-old British rider erred on the side of caution during his Superpole lap, and paid the price with a fourth row starting position.<BR><BR>'Superpole was disappointing,' said Walker. 'I was a bit too cautious on the bike, went half-a-second slower than I had done in regular qualifying and left myself with a lot of work to do tomorrow. But, I've been putting in some good times on race tyres today and, although I'd have obviously preferred to be starting from higher up the grid, if I can get a good start then I should be able to turn in a decent result tomorrow.'<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>From Troy Bayliss' publicist, Steve Reeves:<BR><BR>EDWARDS EDGES BAYLISS OUT OF POLE POSITION AT PHILLIP ISLAND<BR><BR>After heading the time sheets at the conclusion of today's second qualifying session, Troy Bayliss was unable to reproduce his brilliant lap time from yesterday in the afternoon's all important Superpole session, where he will start from second place on the grid alongside American Colin Edwards.<BR><BR>Edwards was the second last of sixteen riders who qualified for the Superpole session and posted a lap time of 1-min 32.767-secs around the 4.448km Phillip Island circuit. Bayliss was the last man out onto the circuit and felt confident prior to his lap starting. A change in wind direction on the fast run into the right-hand Honda Corner saw him run wide and lose valuable time for the next section through Siberia, before he again ran wide at the tight MG corner, which foiled any chance that he had of grabbing his second pole position in this year's Superbike World Championship.<BR><BR>Bayliss stopped the clocks with a 1:33.316 aboard his Infostrada Ducati 998R, a time that was 0.66 of a second off that set during Friday's opening<BR>qualifying session.<BR><BR>"It's been a great weekend so far, but I did make a couple of mistakes that I wasn't happy with on my Superpole lap," said Bayliss. "The wind direction must have changed from our last session to the Superpole and I think that may have contributed to me running wide at Honda Corner. That definitely mucked me up for the next section and I made another mistake, running wide at MG Corner that ruined the lap for me. I guess I was trying to hard out there as I did want to be on pole here at the Island."<BR><BR>After setting the fastest time yesterday, Bayliss was able concentrate on finding a tyre and chassis set up that will suit tomorrow's two 22-lap races.<BR><BR>"I was able to do a couple of long runs this morning, including a 16-lap run and I feel that we have a tyre good for the job," Bayliss added. "The Michelins we have tried here have worked extremely well and it's interesting that Colin (Edwards), who also runs on the same tyre, has been very consistent this weekend. I think for sure there will be a lot of guys in the lead group early in tomorrow's races, but I think there will only be two or three battling for the lead when it's important, at the end."<BR><BR>"As for today, I'm happy. We got a lot done and I'm now just looking forward to tomorrow's races."<BR><BR>Joining Edwards and Bayliss on the front row of the grid are Japan's Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia), who moved from sixth to third with a time of 1:33.560, and British rider Neil Hodgson (HM Plant Ducati) with a time of 1:33.629.<BR><BR>The World Superbike riders take to the circuit at 9:20am, with the first race scheduled for 12:00pm and race two at 3:30pm.<BR><BR><BR>From Yamaha Belgarda:<BR><BR>FRONT ROW FOR JAMIE<BR>The final qualifying session at Phillip Island was a hectic one, where the lead changed hands several times in the last five minutes, but when the dust settled Team Yamaha Belgarda rider Jamie Whitham had done enough to secure himself a position on the front row. Whitham lapped the 4.445 kilometre circuit in 1:36.138, just three tenths of a second slower than pole-setter Andrew Pitt (Kawasaki). Second quickest today is Stephane hambon (Suzuki), with series leader Fabien Foret (Honda) third. Conditions at the picturesque circuit were almost ideal today and, as the temperature increased the lap times began to fall. Whitham's Yamaha Belgarda team mate Paolo Casoli was very close to a position on the front row of the grid, but a small mistake on his 'hot' lap dropped him to sixth overall and so he will start from the second row.<BR><BR>JAMIE WHITHAM 4th, 1:36.138<BR>I'm happy to be on the front row of the grid for a change and really I wasn't far off pole because I lost time when I got put off line a little. But my time, even with that, was a good one. I feel that we've got a good set-up and also decent tyres for the race. It's going to be a hard race for the tyres and I think we've got as good a tyre set-up as anybody. We haven't altered the Yamaha much since we arrived here and everything has gone pretty well really. Being on the front row means that tomorrow will be a bit more relaxed I won't have to fight my way through a pack of riders just to see the leaders. I don't think anybody is going to get away tomorrow, so it's going to be a long, hard twenty-one laps. It's going to be right hectic, but I aim to be there at the end.<BR><BR>PAOLO CASOLI 6th, 1:36.484<BR>I'm happy, even though I'm only on the second row it'll be good enough. I could've been on the front row for sure, but I made a mistake in the last turn when I was on my quick lap. I ran wide and lost a little time and that was enough to put me on the second row. Today we went in the right direction with our settings and it was so much better then yesterday afternoon. In the warm-up tomorrow, we're going to try just a little adjustment to the bike to see if we can get an improvement, but it doesn't matter too much because I am happy with what we've got anyway. If I can make a good start, there's no reason why I can't be challenging the leaders straightaway. That's what I'll be trying for.<BR><BR> <BR>From Ducati Corse:<BR><BR>FRONT ROW START FOR BAYLISS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) AT PHILLIP ISLAND<BR><BR>BOSTROM (DUCATI L&M) AND XAUS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) LINE UP ON ROW 2<BR><BR>Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) powered his Ducati 998 Factory to second place on the grid for tomorrow's Australian World Superbike Championship round at Phillip Island as his Honda rival Colin Edwards took pole. The reigning champion, who had been quickest all weekend at his home track, was last out for the one-lap dash, but could only manage a time of 1:33.316 around the 4.445 km circuit. The Australian had to settle for second best behind Edwards, the only rider to dip under 1:33 during Superpole. <BR><BR>"Colin did a really good job today and it just didn't happen for me", said Bayliss, who will be aiming for his first-ever WSBK win at Phillip Island tomorrow. "I made a couple of mistakes coming down into Honda and turn 11 and that was about it but I'm pretty happy to be on the front row for tomorrow. We did a long run today and that was OK so we're feeling confident for the race. The weather forecast is very hot for tomorrow but that doesn't worry me in the least. The weekend has been going great so far, am I feeling the pressure here at home? No, the only pressure I've got is in my tyres, I can handle it!".<BR><BR>Ben Bostrom (Ducati L&M) will line up in fifth place on the grid for tomorrow's two races after setting a time of 1:33.715, but the Californian felt he could have improved on that time after a good performance in the afternoon free practice session.<BR><BR>"The Superpole lap went wrong because I lost the front so bad through the 5th gear left-hander and my heart dropped!" said Bostrom. "I'm pretty sure I've got everything set up for tomorrow but we didn't really manage to do a good long-run on the race tyre. We only really have one option for the race, so we'll use that tyre tomorrow. The good thing today was my performance on the Q-tyre at the end of the second free session, when I set a time of 1:33.1".<BR><BR>Ruben Xaus (Ducati Infostrada) will start one place behind Bostrom in sixth after his Superpole lap was hampered when his gear-shift remained in neutral. The young Spanish rider was happy to set a time of 1:33.954 and will start tomorrow's races from row 2.<BR><BR>"My Superpole lap would have gone well but I missed a gear and it stayed in neutral for three seconds at the Honda Corner" commented Xaus. "Despite that I'm pretty happy about my lap, even though I wanted to be on the front row of the grid. Today I felt good on the bike, the preparations for the race have gone well, I lapped under 1:34 on my race tyre and if I hadn't made that mistake in Superpole for sure I would have set a great time".<BR><BR><BR><BR>From Playstation2-FGF Aprilia:<BR><BR>HAGA AND APRILIA SNATCH FRONT ROW<BR><BR>Noriyuki Haga has made his mark on the Superpole, which mapped out the starting grid for the Australia GP, in the second round of the Superbike World Championship currently underway at Phillip Island. The Playstation2-FGF Aprilia Team ace made third-quickest time and shoots to front row in the two races slated to take off when in Europe, ten time zones behind, it will be the nighttime (the races start at 2 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. CET).<BR><BR>PHILLIP ISLAND BURNING - The Superpole was hit by decidedly high temperatures: air 28°C and ground 45°C. If the temperatures are the same for the races, the choice of tyres is going to be decisive: the rubber is truly put to the test on the Australian circuit, especially on the left side - and making it all the way to the end with sufficient adherence is essential. And this is precisely what Haga and the Playstation2-FGF Aprilia Team technicians concentrated on throughout the day. The RSV recorded an amazing top speed: Haga flew by at 290.3 kph during the Superpole.<BR><BR>NORIYUKI HAGA (Playstation2-FGF Aprilia rider) said "I'm pleased with my starting position. Even so, I'm still not fully satisfied with any of the tyres we've tried out so far. I hope we'll be able to find the right solution during the warm-up, because I'm just raring to win!"<BR><BR>GIACOMO GUIDOTTI (Technical Manager, Playstation2-FGF Aprilia): "Today we concentrated just about all our efforts on the tyres. We've got two options: one gives us great performance at the beginning, but somewhat less after mid-race, while the other is more constant. We'll see what the weather's like and what race tactics Haga decides to adopt. The tyres Noriyuki likes best are both evolution models, a sure sign that Dunlop's been working very hard and there's a good chance of improvement. It's very encouraging for the future."<BR>