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WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP

Round 2 – Phillip Island (Australia), 24 March 2002

PREVIEW



The spectacular Phillip Island circuit south of Melbourne plays host to the second round of the World Superbike Championship just a fortnight after the season opener at Valencia, where a brace of wins by reigning champion Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) enabled the Australian to get his 2002 campaign off to the best possible start. Bayliss returns to his home country brimming with confidence now that round 1 is in the bag and will be eager to score his first ever World Superbike victory on this track. During late January testing at Phillip Island Troy was the quickest rider around the 4.445km track, clocking a best lap of 1’32.944, just under the existing Superbike lap record. “I’m really looking forward to going to Phillip Island this year”, declared Bayliss after his Valencia win. “We tested there a few weeks ago, unlike in 2001 and as a result we’ve got a few things up our sleeve. I’m feeling very confident at the moment, especially after the two wins at Valencia and looking forward to getting some more good results at the Island. Even though living in Europe means that you are away from home most of the year, it’s nice to know you’ve got a lot of fans back home to cheer you on when you come back”.



Troy will be backed up by his Ducati Infostrada team-mate, the young Spaniard Ruben Xaus, who scored a fifth and a DNF in front of his home crowd in the opening round. “I like racing at Phillip Island, the circuit is really good, let’s just hope the weather is better than last year! I fell off in Valencia, which was my fault, and I just have to put that behind me and forget it. There are 26 races in a season and it’s difficult to do them all without dropping any points. Once again I’ll be trying to do my best and stay up at the top with the others this weekend”.



Ben Bostrom (Ducati L&M) will be looking to continue his excellent start to the season with more strong results to add to his 3rd and 4th in the opening round. “Phillip Island is going to be a real challenge”, declared Bostrom, “because I’ve never done particularly well here. Last year I was on the front row, but it rained and I crashed so it can’t get any worse than that. I think it’s all going to come down to tyres here, but you also have to ride well on this circuit… and pray for good weather! I think you also need to get dialled in to the speed pretty quickly, because coming from a slow track like Valencia to here where nearly every corner is quick, a rider needs to get up to speed quickly”.



THE PHILLIP ISLAND CIRCUIT

The Phillip Island circuit, situated two hours drive south of Victoria State capital Melbourne, has been home to motor racing for more than 70 years since the first Australian Grand Prix was held on a 6.5 mile public road course in 1928. World Superbikes first raced there in 1990 and since then many improvements have been made to the circuit, including a pit-lane complex with 40 garages, a media centre and hospitality unit. The Phillip Island Motor Sports organisers are committed to maintaining current high standards at the picturesque circuit, which is loved by drivers, riders and spectators alike.



CIRCUIT RECORDS

Lap Record: Corser (Ducati) 1’33.019 (1999); Superpole: Corser (Aprilia) 1’32.193 (1999); Qualifying: Corser (Ducati) 1’32.623 (1999).



2001 RESULTS

Race 1: 1. Edwards (Honda), 2. Okada (Honda), 3. Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada). Race 2: cancelled.



TV COVERAGE

Eurosport (pan Europe): Sunday 24 March, Race 1 0200-0300 (live), 0400-0445 (relive), Race 2 0530-0630 (live), 0730-0830 (relive); Monday 25 March, 0830-0930 (highlights). LA7 (Italy): Sunday 24 March, Race 1 1350 (delayed), Race 2 1740 (delayed).


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I wonder if Bostrom can push past his dislike of the circuit and run close to the front this year.

 

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Discussion Starter #4
from Kawi:

WORLD SUPERSPORT CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND 2 - PHILLIP ISLAND, AUSTRALIA
22 MARCH 2002 - FRIDAY PRACTICE & QUALIFYING

PROVISIONAL FRONT ROW START FOR PITT AT PHILLIP ISLAND

Fuchs Kawasaki rider, and defending World Champion, Andrew Pitt, secured a provisional front row start at his home circuit of Phillip Island this afternoon; finishing the first 45 minute qualifying session third fastest, after briefly holding pole position during the closing stages.

Suspension problems during this morning's free practice session left Pitt down in ninth place on the timesheet but, by the time the bike was wheeled out for qualifying proper, the problems had been rectified and normal service was quickly resumed. Pitt waited until there were just four minutes of the session remaining before stealing provisional pole, with the Australian eventually having to settle for third on the provisional grid following fast laps from Foret and Bontempi in the dying minutes.

'We had quite a few problems setting the bike up this morning but, I'm happy to say, the team managed to get everything sorted for this afternoon,' said Pitt. 'The bike still feels a little hard over the bumps, but that's something we should be able to dial out quite easily. Although anywhere on the front row would do me for the race, I'll definitely be looking for pole position during tomorrow's qualifying session. I topped the timesheets briefly today and, with slight refinements to the bike overnight, there's no reason why I can't stick it on pole tomorrow.'

Relatively inexperienced in World Supersport terms, James Ellison demonstrated that's he's finding his feet fast in this ultra-competitive series. The 20-year-old British rider waited until the final two minutes of the qualifying session before posting his fastest time; jumping up the timesheet from 16th to 10th in the process.

'I matched my fastest time from pre-season testing this afternoon, so I'm pretty happy with my qualifying position,' declared Ellison. 'I managed to hook onto the back of Andrew as he came round to start a flying lap and I thought I'd tuck in behind him and see where he was quicker than me. It almost didn't work, as I got better drive out onto the start and finish straight and had to roll it off slightly to avoid overtaking him. Qualifying top ten has really given me a real confidence boost this afternoon, but I won't be resting on my laurels and I'll definitely be looking to improve tomorrow.'

World Supersport - Friday Qualifying Times

1. Fabien Foret, France (Honda) 1'36.553
2. Piergiorgio Bontempi, Italy (Ducati) 1'36.728
3. Andrew Pitt, Australia (Fuchs Kawasaki) 1'36.817
4. James Whitham, GB (Yamaha) 1'36.882
5. Iain MacPherson, GB (Honda) 1'36.999
6. Stephane Chambon, France (Suzuki) 1'37.050
7. Jorg Teuchert, Germany (Yamaha) 1'37.091
8. Chris Vermeulen, Australia (Honda) 1'37.115
9. Christophe Cogan, France (Honda) 1'37.249
10. James Ellison, GB (Fuchs Kawasaki) 1'37.393


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<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>

Ben Bostrom, running Dunlops on his L&M Ducati machine, went to seventh after a somewhat disappointing session, failing to find his feet in his usual assured fashion.

<hr></blockquote>


I don't know, looks like he might have some stuff to work out up top (in his head).

Bayliss is on fire! I can't wait to see how tomorrow's qualifying and Superpole go. /images/icons/smile.gif I read Haga is fastest down the chute but he's losing time somewhere to be something like .8 off the leader's pace.

 

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Check this out...

Schools Out for the SBK Stars
Gordon Ritchie

A group of local schoolchildren from Phillip Island had the thrill of their lives when they were invited to the pre-race Superbike Press Conference, and then raced around the circuit on bicycles, alongside the SBK and WSS stars.

The traditional pre-race press conference, held on the Thursday before raceday, had a different twist at Phillip Island. As well as the TV crews, journalists and PR people, the conference was attended by local schoolchildren from Phillip Island’s Newhaven College.

After meeting the SBK stars, both students and riders donned cycling helmets and went for a ride around the circuit, with the top riders explaining how they go round each corner and section of the track.

It was the first time that many of the SBK and Supersport riders went round the circuit at such a reduced pace, allowing them to see first hand the cambers and track conditions up close.

The winner of the kids ‘race’ was Angus McMaster (15).

<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>

After meeting the SBK stars, both students and riders donned cycling helmets and went for a ride around the circuit, with the top riders explaining how they go round each corner and section of the track.

<hr></blockquote>


How cool would that be to listen how each of the riders attack a certain corner?

<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>

It was the first time that many of the SBK and Supersport riders went round the circuit at such a reduced pace, allowing them to see first hand the cambers and track conditions up close.

<hr></blockquote>


I wonder if this could be used to improve lap times.

 
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