Phillip Island: Andrew Pitt Racing Friday report

Pitt on provisional front row Yamaha-backed Australian rider Andrew Pitt is on the front row of the grid after provisional qualifying for round two of the Superbike World Championship at Phillip Island on Sunday. The 29-year-old, who won...

Pitt on provisional front row

Yamaha-backed Australian rider Andrew Pitt is on the front row of the grid after provisional qualifying for round two of the Superbike World Championship at Phillip Island on Sunday.

The 29-year-old, who won the 2001 Supersport World Championship, uncorked some spirited laps in the final stanza of the 45-minute session, eventually setting a best lap of 1:34.094 on his Yamaha Motor Italia YZF-R1. In the process, the former MotoGP rider improved two spots on his result in this morning's practice session, eclipsing his earlier time by 1.430sec.

The late charge saw Pitt finish as the only Yamaha punter inside the top 10, as he seeks to win the Japanese giant's first world Superbike race since 2000.

"That was a good qualifying result -- I'm happy with that," said the 29-year-old, who won the 1999 Australian Supersport Championship before kickstarting his international career. "The good thing is that I know there is plenty more to come from the R1, which always keeps me in a positive frame of mind.

"That session was not only productive on the timesheet, but I also decided on a front tyre which I will use in the race, and I'll settle on a rear tomorrow."

Pitt's compatriot Troy Corser (Suzuki), the current Superbike lap record holder, sits on provisional pole position after setting a best lap of 1:33.191, ahead of his teammate Yukio Kagayama (1:33.787), Frenchman Regis Laconi (Ducati, 1:34.084) and Pitt -- less than a second separating the four combatants.

"I did a 1:33.9 lap here at testing in January, so I'll be banking on well and truly eclipsing that tomorrow," said Pitt. "At the moment, I've got two bikes on the go, and we're constantly trying different things on both of them to work out the best set-up.

"Obviously, the plan will be to combine the best of both, and then go out and give it a real good shake on Sunday."

Pitt, originally from Port Macquarie in NSW, knows how to win around the 4.448km Phillip Island grand prix circuit, after he scythed through the 2002 world Supersport round -- one of those weekends where everything went according to plan.

Twenty-nine riders will continue qualifying tomorrow afternoon (1:45pm), after which the top 16 riders will battle it out in the traditional Superpole one-lap shootout to determine final grid positions. On Sunday, all will be decided via two 22-lap races.

Television coverage begins on Fox Sports 2 from 3.45pm on Saturday and 11.30am on Sunday.

-apr-

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Andrew Pitt , Troy Corser , Yukio Kagayama , Laconi Régis , Phillip Island