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WORLD SUPERSPORT CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND 2 - PHILLIP ISLAND, AUSTRALIA
23 MARCH 2002 - SATURDAY PRACTICE & QUALIFYING

POLE POSITION FOR DOMINANT PITT AT PHILLIP ISLAND

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.

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.

'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.'

'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.'

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.

'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.'

Final World Supersport Qualifying Times:

1. Andrew Pitt, Australia (Fuchs Kawasaki) 1'35.777
2. Stephane Chambon, France (Suzuki) 1'35.812
3. Fabien Foret, France (Honda) 1'36.041
4. James Whitham, GB (Yamaha) 1'36.138
5. Piergiorgio Bontempi, Italy (Ducati) 1'36.315
6. Paolo Casoli, Italy (Yamaha) 1'36.484
7. Iain MacPherson, GB (Honda) 1'36.675
8 Jorg Teuchert, Germany (Yamaha) 1'36.676
9 Chris Vermeulen, Australia (Honda) 1'36.815
10. James Ellison, GB (Fuchs Kawasaki) 1'36.900



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Team Yamaha Belgarda news
Supersport World Championship, Round 2, Phillip Island, Australia
Final qualifying, Saturday 23rd March 2002
Weather: Dry, sunny 22-28 C

FRONT ROW FOR JAMIE
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
Chambon (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.

JAMIE WHITHAM ­ 4th, 1:36.138
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.

PAOLO CASOLI ­ 6th, 1:36.484
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.

Final qualifying
1 Pitt (AUS-Kawasaki) 1:35.777, 2 Chambon (F-Suzuki) 1:35.812, 3 Foret
(F-Honda) 1:36.041, 4 Whitham (GB-Yamaha Belgarda) 1:36.138, 5 Bontempi
(I-Ducati) 1:36.315, 6 Casoli (I-Yamaha Belgarda) 1:36.484,7 MacPherson
(GB-Honda) 1:36.675, 8 Teuchert (D-Yamaha) 1:36.676, 9 Vermeulen
(AUS-Honda) 1:36.815, 10 Ellison (GB-Kawasaki) 1:36.900,
ends:


<font color=red>Live it</font color=red> <font color=blue>></font color=blue> <font color=red>Ride it</font color=red> <font color=blue>></font color=blue> <font color=red>Race it</font color=red>
 
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