March 24, 2002 - Andrew Pitt Blitzes The Opposition At Phillip Island
Andrew Pitt, 2001 WSS Champion, blitzed the opposition at Phillip Island today, crossing the line with a clear four-second advantage to secure his first race win in the ultra competitive World Supersport championship. The victory moves both Pitt and Kawasaki to the top of the championship standings, with ten rounds of the series left to run.
With Pitt battling hard with Paolo Casoli for 18 laps of the 21-lap race, the result looked destined to be decided on the very final lap. But, as the two riders entered Siberia corner for the 19th time - with Casoli leading and Pitt applying pressure from behind - the experienced Italian made an uncharacteristic mistake and crashed out, leaving the Australian with a clear run to the chequered flag. Piergiorgio Bontempi trailed Pitt in to take second place, with Stephane Chambon claiming the final podium position in third.
´What a fantastic weekend.´ declared a jubilant Andrew Pitt. ´To claim my first World Supersport pole position at my home circuit was good, but to back that up with my first win in the series was awesome - I still can´t quite believe it.
´It was a hectic battle with Casoli, but I knew that if I was going to make a pass stick, then I´d have to pull out a decent advantage; to stop him just drafting past me on the start finish straight. I´d identified a few places where I was going to have a go at him in the last couple of laps, but in the end I didn´t need to. He´d started riding a defensive line a couple of laps earlier and I think he just held onto the brakes a bit too long going into Siberia and lost the front on the bump on the way in.
´From then on it was just a case of trying to stay focussed for the last two laps. I could see the team and the crowd cheering as I came round to take the chequered flag and I´d like to say thanks to both; the team for all their hard work and the crowd for their fantastic support. Let´s just hope this is the first win of many this season.´
Things didn´t go quite so well for Pitt´s young team-mate, James Ellison. The 20-year-old European Superstock Champion didn´t manage to get away with the leading group from the start and then was pushed wide and onto the dirt at Honda corner by another rider. After rejoining the race dead last, Ellison fought his way through the field to eventually finish in 15th place, and score another championship point to add to the one he collected in the first round of the series at Valencia.
´The bike bogged down off the line and I ended up stuck in the middle of the pack going into the first corner,´ said Ellison. ´But then it got worse! I don´t know who it was, but someone kept putting block passes on me, before forcing me off the track at Honda corner. I was right out on the dirt, so I couldn´t brake, and had to run on until I´d slowed down enough to turn the bike round and rejoin the track. From then on it was simply a case of getting my head down and clawing back as many places as I could. Although I managed to pick up another point, I´m disappointed with the result and I´ll definitely be looking to make amends in South Africa.´
´I´m very happy for both Andrew and the team,´ said Fuchs Kawasaki Team Manager, Harald Eckl. ´The win proves Andrew´s ability and, with all the hard work he´s put in over the past two seasons, it´s also well deserved. The fact that it came at Andrew´s home circuit just makes the win even better.´
World Supersport Race Result
1. Andrew Pitt, Australia (Fuchs Kawasaki) 34´18.694
2. Piergiorgio Bontempi, Italy (Ducati) 34´22.657
3. Stephane Chambon, France (Suzuki) 34´26.855
4. Katsuaki Fujiwara, Japan (Suzuki) 34´27.225
5. Jorg Teuchert, Germany (Yamaha) 34´28.978
6. Christian Kellner, Germany (Yamaha) 34´33.750
7. Christophe Cogan, France (Honda) 34´35.976
8. Iain MacPherson, GB (Honda) 34´36.004
9. Fabien Foret, France (Honda) 34´38.841
10. Alessio Corradi, Italy (Yamaha) 34´40.515
15. James Ellison (Fuchs Kawasaki) 34´56.617
World Supersport Championship Points
1. Andrew Pitt (Fuchs Kawasaki) 36
2. Chambon 36
3. Foret 32
4. Kellner 26
5. Bontempi 25
6. Vermeulen 18
7. Corradi 15
8. Fujiwara 13
9. Teuchert 11
10. Whitham 10
20. James Ellison (Fuchs Kawasaki) 2
1 Kawasaki 36
2 Suzuki 36
3 Honda 34
4 Yamaha 27
5 Ducati 25