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Team Yamaha Belgarda news
Supersport World Championship, Round 4, Sugo, Japan
Friday 19th April 2002
Weather: Dry, mostly sunny 18 C

CASOLI AND WHITHAM WELL PLACED
Team Yamaha Belgarda riders Paolo Casoli and Jamie Whitham finished the
first day of qualifying in strong positions and are both on course for the
front row of the grid. Casoli ended the day with the third quickest time of
the day and Whitham was sixth overall ­ less then half a second adrift.
Fastest today was Katsuaki Fujiwara (Suzuki), with Fabien Foret (Honda)
second. Fourth behind Casoli is Piergiorgio Bontempi (Ducati), ahead of
Stephane Chambon (Suzuki) and then Whitham.

PAOLO CASOLI ­ 3RD, 1:32.898
I'm happy to be third today, but not satisfied yet because we have a little
problem of front end chattering to sort out. Today was one of those days
when I had no success when I tried doing quick laps on soft tyres. The
first one I tried, I nearly crashed. The second didn't inspire me with any
confidence at all. I won the race here last year, so of course I want to
repeat that result. First, I would like to get pole position and that's
what I'll be going all out for tomorrow. Then, on Sunday I want to make a
good start, stay out of trouble and run the race from the front. I know I
can win here, so I'll be trying my best on Sunday.

JAMIE WHITHAM ­ 6TH, 1:33.333
I know I only set the sixth quickest time, but I'm pretty close to the
quickest time so I'm reasonably happy. I suppose I'm a bit frustrated
because I got held up by another rider when I was doing my fastest lap, so
I could've been higher up the order. It also felt quite slow, so I was
surprised to finish high up as sixth. We had a bot of a chattering problem
today and tomorrow I'll try a different rear shock and see if we can
improve the bike. I like this track, because it's got some character about
it and that makes it fun to ride. Basically, I'm after a front row grid
position, but as long as I'm on the first two rows it should be OK.

Friday qualifying
1 Fujiwara (J-Suzuki) 1:32.852, 2 Foret (F-Honda) 1:32.853, 3 Casoli
(I-Yamaha Belgarda) 1:32.898, 4 Bontempi (I-Ducati) 1:33.265. 5 Chambon
(F-Suzuki) 1:33.329, 6 Whitham (GB-Yamaha Belgarda) 1:33.333,
7 Muggeridge (AUS-Honda) 1:33.356, 8 Vermeulen (AUS-Honda) 1:33.370,
9 Yamaguchi (J-Honda) 1:33.371, 10 MacPherson (GB-Kawasaki) 1:33.402,
ends

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WORLD SUPERSPORT CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND 4 - SUGO, JAPAN
19 APRIL 2002 - FRIDAY PRACTICE & QUALIFYING

PROBLEMS LEAD TO DISAPPOINTMENT FOR FUCHS KAWASAKI PAIR AT SUGO

Reigning World Champion, Andrew Pitt didn't get the start he was hoping for at Sugo this afternoon. After suffering problems with slower riders and the gearing on his Fuchs Kawasaki ZX-6R, the Australian ended the first qualifying session fourteenth fastest, putting him on the fourth row of the provisional grid for Sunday's Supersport race.

'I guess you could say that things didn't quite go according to plan this afternoon,' said a disappointed Pitt. 'We had problems with my number one bike this morning, which meant I had to use my number two machine for qualifying. We've also got a minor problem with the gearing. We're running exactly the same ratios that we did last season, but the engine is so much stronger this year that it's thrown the gearing out. And to cap it all, I got held up by a slower rider on my qualifying lap. I tried to get a second flyer out of the qualifying tyre but it was sliding all over the place within half a lap.'

Despite the problems, the Australian was confident that everything would be sorted in time for tomorrow's free practice and final qualifying sessions.

'We've got a bit of work to do tonight, fixing the number one bike and altering the gearing,' continued the Australian, 'but I'm confident that I'll be back on the pace tomorrow. At the end of the day, it's better that we have these problems in the first session, rather than during final qualifying tomorrow.'

It was also a day of disappointment for Pitt's young British team-mate, James Ellison. The 20-year-old reigning European Superstock Champion, racing at Sugo for the first time, struggled to find his form in the opening qualifying session.

'I just couldn't seem to find my balance on the bike this afternoon,' said Ellison. 'The bike's running well, I've got no problems on that score, but I didn't feel comfortable on it for the whole 45 minute session. But on the positive side, I now know my way around the circuit and, once I've had a chance to think things through tonight, I'm confident that I'll be back up to speed tomorrow.'

WSS SUGO - FRIDAY QUALIFYING TIMES

1. Katsuaki Fujiwara JPN Alstare Suzuki Corona 1'32.852
2. Fabien Foret FRA Ten Kate Honda 1'32.853
3. Paolo Casoli ITA Yamaha Belgarda 1'32.898
4. Piergiorgio Bontempi ITA Ducati NCR Nortel Net. 1'33.265
5. Stephane Chambon FRA Alstare Suzuki Corona 1'33.329
6. James Whitham GBR Yamaha Belgarda 1'33.333
7. Karl Muggeridge AUS Honda UK Race 1'33.356
8. Chris Vermeulen AUS Van-zon-Honda-T.K.R. 1'33.370
9. Tatsuya Yamaguchi JPN Honda UK Race 1'33.371
10. Iain MacPherson GBR Ten Kate Honda 1'33.402
11. Werner Daemen BEL Van-zon-Honda-T.K.R. 1'33.680
12. Christian Kellner GER Yamaha Motor Germany 1'33.730
13. Jorg Teuchert GER Yamaha Motor Germany 1'33.830
14. Andrew Pitt AUS Kawasaki Racing 1'33.874
15. Kevin Curtain AUS O.P.C.M. - Racing 1'33.925
24. James Ellison GBR Kawasaki Racing 1'35.958


<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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