FUJIWARA BATTLES TO BRAVE SEVENTH
Katsuaki Fujiwara finished seventh in today's final World Supersport championship race at Magny-Cours in France. The Japanese rider broke his hand in a practice crash at Imola a week ago and, despite qualifying in fifth place, fought through the pain barrier to complete 23 gruelling laps of the 4.4km French circuit. He was rewarded by retaining third place in the overall series standings.
His team-mate for the weekend, Dutchman Arie Vos, enjoyed an eventful debut for the Winston Ten Kate Honda team as he replaced injured world champion Sebastien Charpentier. The 29-year-old had fought his way up to sixth place by mid-race distance but slid off on lap 16. Refusing to let go of his Honda CBR600RR, Vos remounted to finish a creditable eleventh.
Ronald ten Kate -- team manager:
"Well, the season didn't finish on a high because of the situation with Sebastien and Kats struggling with injury, but there have definitely been some highlights this weekend. Kats managed to secure third place in the championship with his brave ride to seventh today. Arie's substitute ride was great, apart from the small crash he had in the race. Before that, it was clear he was on for a top seven finish, which would have been a fantastic result for him. All our eyes are now focused on preparing for the 2006 season when we will be going all out for our fifth consecutive World Supersport title."
Katsuaki Fujiwara -- seventh
"The race was very tiring and 23 laps on my hand was just a bit too much. I have had it in ice for most of the weekend when I have not been riding but trying to use the clutch with a broken finger is very painful. I tried my best and it was very important for me and the team to finish third in the championship. I am pleased about that and now I can go and pick up my FIM medal tonight. Thank you to the whole team for a fantastic season. Some more wins would have been nice but, for my first year on the Honda CBR, it's not so bad."
Arie Vos -- eleventh
"It's just been an amazing experience and an honour for me to spend the weekend riding for the Winston Ten Kate Honda team. The whole set-up is so professional and well-organised and it's been a privilege to be a part of it. Sebastien's help was vital to help me learn the circuit and I was feeling quite comfortable until I lost the front. Luckily, it wasn't too fast so I was able to pick up the bike and carry on. I'm sorry that happened because the team has been fantastic and it would have been great to bring the bike home in one piece for a better result."
World Supersport, Magny-Cours -- results (23 laps, 101.453km):
1 Broc Parkes AUS (Yamaha) 40m12.350s, 2 Kevin Curtain AUS (Yamaha) +0.750s, 3 Michel Fabrizio ITA (Honda) +1.215, 4 Fabien Foret FRA (Honda) +4.098, 5 Javier Fores ESP (Suzuki) +21.623, 6 Johan Stigefelt SWE (Honda) +23.448, 7 Katsuaki Fujiwara JPN (Winston Ten Kate Honda) +30.108, 8 Stephane Chambon FRA (Honda) +32.144, 9 Gianluca Nannelli ITA (Ducati) +32.408, 10 Mattieu Lagrive FRA (44.378, 11 Arie Vos NED (Winston Ten Kate Honda) +49.939.
Final championship points: Sebastien Charpentier (Winston Ten Kate Honda) 210, Curtain 187, Fujiwara 149, Foret 144, Fabrizio 38, Parkes 125, Chambon 94, Nannelli 88, Fores 71, Tauto Lauslehto FIN (Honda) 60.