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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